Animal First Aid
BEFORE READING PLEASE NOTE:
Our first aid information is only basic and simply covers important steps to maximise the animal's chance of survival. Please read all of our information carefully and do not carry out further care without seeking help from and experienced rehabilitator or vet.
Please do not try and look after a sick, injured or orphaned animal by yourself. The quicker they are passed onto an experienced rehabilitator the better chance they will have of surviving.
Your safety is of the most importance. If you think the situation is dangerous or unsafe, please contact us.
DO NOT ever attempt to handle the following animals:
- Snakes: Even dead snakes can result in envenomation if handled incorrectly.
- Bats: Can carry a wide range of potentially fatal zoonotic diseases.
- Adult Kangaroos: Can break bones and seriously injure if they feel threatened.
- Birds of prey: Talons can severely injure and some have extremely strong, "Bone Crushing" beaks.
When handling any animal it is important to use the proper forms of protection. Gloves, towels, bags or blankets can all be used to protect yourself from being bitten or scratched.
APPROACHING AN ANIMAL:
Always be careful when approaching an animal. Take it slow and observe its body language and posture. Try not to make any sudden movements. Grabbing the animal suddenly can cause it to run off or attack.
If you feel an animal is sick or injured and needs medical help, there are a few methods of catching certain animals. For birds, a towel or blanket can be used to throw over them. If they are a large bird, putting the towel over their head and wings will minimise stress and escape. The same approach can be used for lizards; however, a pair of gardening gloves to pick them up is easier. Small mammals can easily be caught with a towel or pillow case by placing it over their entire body and picking them up. For advice on catching larger animals, contact Native ARC or Wildcare.
If you see a dead animal on the road, safely pull over and assess the situation. If it is safe for you to remove the animal, drag it off the road. This will stop other prey animals from getting injured or killed by traffic. If the animal is a marsupial (bandicoot, possum, kangaroo etc) check to see if it has a pouch. If so, there could be a joey in the pouch. If you find a joey, please read the first aid sheet below on how to safely remove joeys from pouches.
One of the best ways to maximise an animal's chance of survival is to keep it warm from the outset. Hot water bottles wrapped in towels, heat packs or even body heat are great sources of heat until a rehabilitator or vet can be contacted.
Do not give food or water to an animal unless instructed to by an experienced carer/vet. Giving an animal the wrong foods can lead to death especially in baby birds. Seek help from Native ARC or Wildcare immediately.
Card board boxes are the best means of transporting animals. Lined with newspapers and towels they are a very efficient means of transporting animals. Other transportation methods are pet packs, shoe boxes, bird cages and plastic tubs with ventilation. Large animals like water birds and kangaroos need to be transported with specialised equipment so please call Native ARC or Wildcare for assistance.