Updated November 28, 2020
Quick facts (details below):
- Keep the animal calm in a large, dark and quiet box
- Use gloves and a towel for handling if necessary
- If not possible, or for bats, call Fauna Rescue first
- Take them to the nearest open vet for assessment
- There will be no fees or charges
Now dive deeper…
While out recently, my phone buzzed. “Hey mate, can you help me with an injured duck?” I couldn’t, but I told him where to take it. “Cheers for the info” came the reply, and I thought no more about it.
The next day, while walking the dogs, there was the duck, still there.
People don’t help wildlife because they think it’s difficult or expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How To Take Care Of Injured Animals
To report injured wildlife, just follow the advice for the species you’ve found:
Sea life, from sea birds to dolphins and whales must be handled by the Australian Marine Wildlife Rescue & Research Organisation. You can find their contact details here.
Call first, as generally they do not want you to touch the animal unless it is in immediate danger. AMWRRO will usually come out to you.
Sick or Injured Bats
Do not pick up bats. They can carry a lyssavirus dangerous to humans, and only vaccinated and trained handlers should touch them. Read more about Adelaide’s bats here. If you find a bat on the ground, call the Fauna Rescue Bat Hotline on (08) 84861139.
In springtime there are lots of ducklings hatching and many end up separated from their mother. If this is the case, call the Duckling Hotline on 0412 810 345.
There are quite a few organisations promoting koala rescue in Adelaide. It’s a very emotive area and I’m sure they all put in amazing efforts.
- Fauna Rescue Koala Hotline 1300 562 527
- Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue 1300 562 529
- Adelaide Koala Rescue 0413 185 771
Like with all wildlife, but often forgotten with koalas, human contact is stressful and should be kept to a minimum until carers arrive.
Sick or Injured Birds
Being able to pick up a bird is usually a sign that something’s wrong. However, young birds that have just feathered and left the nest will often end up on the ground, with the parents watching nearby. If they seem OK, place them out of harm and observe from a long way away so that the parents feel it’s safe enough to come back.
If nothing happens after a few hours, then it’s OK to pick them up. Call Fauna Rescue on (08) 8289 0896 to arrange a collection. An ideal transport box for a bird should be:
- between 1.2 and 2 times the length of the bird
- half as wide as it is long
- tall enough for a bird to stand if needed
- padded around the sides with bubble wrap or crumpled tissue paper
Most adult birds are best taken to the closest vet for assessment, as they are likely to be sick or injured. Your vet will do this for free. Keep them warm, and if there’s any delay and you need to offer food, be aware of species requirements. The bird at the start with the long curved bill is a New Holland Honeyeater. These, like lorikeets eat soft fruits and nectar not seed.
Note the location as some birds are highly territorial and must be returned to the exact place. If you find a bird of prey, call Fauna Rescue quickly for advice on how to reduce feather damage.
Most injured kangaroos have been hit by a car or caught in a fence. Some of these will be impossible to move. In this situation, there are two options, and one or the other should be able to send someone out:
If you find a recently killed kangaroo, check the pouch for young. If you find a live joey, contact Fauna Rescue for advice.
Possums & Other Sick & Injured Animals
Most possums we see are male brushies in very bad shape, due to a variety of diseases and territorial competition. However, we also see road injuries and dog attacks in both sexes of all species. It’s mostly a good idea to take them your nearest vet, who of course will do it gladly for free.
The vet will then decide what needs doing, and who to call. Click here for your closest Adelaide vet on evenings and weekends.
When picking up Brush Tail Possums (pictured at the start) and many other native animals, be careful as they can bite hard. Wear thick gloves and use a towel to bundle them into a box. Most native species are territorial, so please note where you find them in case they can be successfully released.
Note that for stray domestic species, especially cats and dogs, you will need to contact your local council or vet for advice. Read more about lost dogs & cats here.
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By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These articles are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story!