HAVE YOU FOUND AN ABANDONED, ORPHANED OR INJURED ANIMAL?
Contact Mandurah Wildlife Rescue on (08) 9582 3938
- Wildlife Helpline: (08) 9474 9055
- Sea Bird Rescue: 0418 952 683
Thanks to Kanyana Wildlife Center for this information.
All sick, injured and orphaned wildlife will be cold, shocked, highly stressed and dehydrated.
Injured wildlife, other than orphans, will adopt what is called the preservation reflex. They will mask their pain and injuries at all costs in order to appear normal. Appearances can be deceptive to the untrained observer.
Native animals are particularly susceptible to stress and this alone is enough to kill them.
Please note the EXACT location you find the animal as all rehabilitators endeavour to return rehabilitated animals to their own territories. This is critical in the case of extremely territorial animals such as magpies and possums.
The immediate and basic needs of injured wildlife are:
- secure containment to prevent further injury (a cardboard box works well)
- no food or water
- urgent help from a qualified person; either a Vet of a Wildlife Rehabilitator
By law, all wildlife are protected and may not be kept as pets.
Do not endanger yourself or others during the rescue. Approach any wild animal carefully. Kangaroos, in particular, are capable of lashing out with their powerful back legs, even when severely injured. Most animals are able to inflict nasty bites and scratches especially when frightened and in pain.
Until you can get the animal to a qualified person either a Vet or a Wildlife Rehabilitator, the animal requires the following which apply to most wildlife.
If possible, place the animal in a similar size box. Too large a box will allow the animal to further damage itself or its feathers. Cages are not recommended. To allow the animal to grip, line the bottom with a thick cloth without loose threads which could entangle its claws.
Ensure that the container is well fastened. You don’t want an animal loose in the house or in your car while driving.
Do not place water in the box as the animal will invariably upset it and end up wet, further increasing its heat loss. For the same reason, don’t put ducklings in water.
All animals will be shocked and cold. Keep them in a warm place out of draughts.
Nestlings particularly (preferably in their nest) need to be kept warm, even on a hot day. Place them in a small takeaway food container lined with tissues, cover with a dark cloth and place under a table lamp for warmth. A cold animal which is sick, injured or orphaned will stay cold unless it is heated by some external heat source. Do not leave in the sun as they can be burned.
Wrapping an animal alone will not make it warm. Small animals and orphans can be wrapped in a blanket or jumper and put under your clothing, next to your skin. This is a safe, reliable source of warmth.
Alternative emergency heat sources are hot water bottles, microwavable heat packs, plastic containers filled with warm water, electric blankets on low, or increased heating inside the car.
Animals must not be placed directly onto a heat source and should always be wrapped in a cloth or towel. Take care not to warm the animal too quickly and avoid extreme fluctuations in temperature. A joey requires the same care as a premature baby.
Keep the animal as quiet as possible and away from loud noises such as radios, televisions, household machinery and children.
Please keep domestic animals away from the injured animal. Whilst you may know your pet is harmless or that the animal is safe from your pet, the injured and stressed animal doesn’t and will become further stressed by the presence of your pets even if they are unseen.
Covering the animal’s head is often beneficial if it becomes stressed.
Do Not Feed
All native animals have highly specialised diets.
The animal can do without food until you are able to get it to a qualified person.
A shocked and cold animal is not concerned about food, and offering unsuitable food can further compromise the its outcome.
Attempting to feed an animal can cause further stress and even death from choking. Contrary to popular belief, Weetbix, bread or milk are not suitable food substitutes.
Land birds consume either grain, nectar, fruit, insects, or meat, or eat a variety of food. Birds must be correctly identified in order to determine their diet. Also, diets can vary at different ages and times of the year.
The animal may be severely dehydrated and, if you are not going to be able to immediately deliver the animal to a qualified person, you can offer tiny amounts of lukewarm water but only if the animal can drink by itself.
Please get the animal to a qualified person as soon as possible, either a Vet or a Wildlife Rehabilitator. Delays can be fatal. Phone the Wildcare Helpline at (08) 9474 9055 to be put in touch with the nearest Wildlife Rehabilitator. Please don’t keep the animal for a few hours or days before calling for help.