Macropod (Kangaroo) rescue advice
With all rescues be alert to your own possible danger first.
- Your safety is paramount – check for any traffic, before moving the deceased female from roadway and attempting to remove joey from the pouch.
- Kangaroo joeys at birth are around the size of a jellybean so it is important to check carefully. See below for instructions on how to remove safely from pouch.
- Wrap joey in something warm and place in a pillow slip if one is available. Warmth is critical. Keep the animal covered at all times to reduce stress.
- When transporting an animal, turn off your car radio/stereo - Silence is golden.
- Keep children and domestic pets away from the joey.
- It is important that orphaned kangaroo joeys are transferred to an experienced wildlife carer as soon as possible as they have very specialised heating and feeding requirements. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THE JOEY ANYTHING, – including water unless told to do so by the RRANA rehabilitator.
Adult and larger joeys
It is difficult for most people to comprehend that native animals, when first in our care, are actually terrified of us and they cannot be expected to know that we are trying to help them.
If you find an injured adult kangaroo, it is imperative to the animal and yourselves to cover the animal’s head (if possible, the whole body) to reduce stress and allow them to calm down.
Calming the kangaroo will reduce the likelihood of you sustaining an injury whilst trying to assist the animal.
Helping Pinkies and Furred joeys
Always contact RRANA immediately.
Warning damage to the pinkies and furred joeys in the pouch will happen if extreme care is not taken, do not attempt if you do not feel you have the tools required, or that you cannot cut the mother’s flesh.
Never pull a joey by its legs or tail when removing it from its mother’s pouch.
How to remove Pinkies and Furred joeys from the pouch of a deceased, adult female.
Whenever possible, place your hand/s inside the pouch and cup the body of the joey in order to remove it. If it is not possible to get your hand inside the pouch, then attempt to roll the joey out by kneading/massaging the exterior of the pouch.
On occasions it is necessary to cut the pouch in order to remove the joey. When cutting the pouch, cut from top to bottom and ensure the blade/scissors do not cut the joey. If possible, place one hand inside the pouch over the joey's body for protection from the blade.
If the joey is attached to its mother’s teat, cut the teat from the mother - cut as close to her body as possible leaving the largest part of the teat hanging from the joey’s mouth. Using a safety pin, attach the end of the teat to an article of clothing/blanket in which you can wrap the joey to keep it warm and secure. Ensure the safety pin is on the OUTSIDE of the item to prevent the joey from hooking finger/toenails in it. Do not try to pull the teat from the joey’s mouth, it will release the teat within a few hours however it may take up to 24.
Once removed, immediately wrap the joey in something to keep it warm – T-shirt, jumper, towel, blanket. Several layers are recommended. Warmth is vital, particularly to unfurred joeys (pinkies). Place the joey up your shirt to provide additional heat if necessary.
When rescuing a pinkie, be sure to ID the mother. It can be difficult to identify the species of a pinkie so it's a good idea to take a photo of the mother's head and body shots wherever possible.
Furred At Heel Joey (outside pouch)
Unfortunately, these joeys are harder to help as they often hop away when you approach and they are fast.
In order to encourage the joey back to mum’s pouch, where it will be easier to catch, place the mother away from the roadway on her back or side with her pouch visibly accessible to the joey and wait.
As mum’s pouch provides nourishment, it also provides security and comfort and the joey will endeavour to return to it. Once safely back in the pouch, this is your opportunity to rescue it.
Why macropods (kangaroos) sometimes need rescuing
In the unfortunate event that a dog chases and comes into contact with a kangaroo, it is important that the incident is reported to RRANA.
Time is of the essence in these situations, as the animal is often still mobile. Please observe the animal closely from a safe distance until a trained rescuer arrives. Do not attempt to remove the animal yourself. You could incur a very serious injury.
Kangaroos that appear to have only minor injuries still require urgent attention. Even just one bite from a dog can prove fatal.
Remember, kangaroos suffer tremendously from stress so please ensure that any dogs are quickly removed from the area and placed out of sight from the animal.
Malnutrition / Starvation / Sick
Reports of sick kangaroos are not uncommon and often present in poor body condition which can be the result of a previous injury or due to old age.
Contact RRANA if concerned, however if the kangaroo is still mobile the options may be limited.
RRANA has been called to situations where the kangaroo may be blind. Again, we do not recommend that members of the public attempt to restrain these animals. Contact RRANA.
If the kangaroo is not easily visible from the side of road and is obscured by vegetation or is in a culvert, please try to obtain the latitude and longitude of the area and/or leave a piece of material or plastic tied around a guidepost so we can locate the injured or sick macropod quickly. If you do not have these items on hand, maybe place a small cairn of stones well off the roadway.
Lost / Displaced Kangaroos
Periodically kangaroos will be reported to be in an unusual location on their own. This is particularly common in Broken Hill and other townships in the Far West of NSW.
Some reasons why this may occur include:
- An aged kangaroo (particularly males) may become ostracised from its mob by a younger, more dominant male.
- A female kangaroo may become separated from the mob when it has a joey that is unwell or injured.
- A sick kangaroo may seek out shelter and/or food and stay in a small area rather than moving throughout its usual home range.
- Drought conditions may mean that increased numbers of kangaroos enter the city limits in an attempt to find food.
If the animal does not appear distressed and does not appear to be visibly sick or injured, then the most appropriate action is generally to leave the animal alone.
If the animal is distressed, it is important NOT to chase or herd it as this will only make it more stressed and can induce capture/exertional myopathy, which can easily result in its death.
Please report individual animals in unusual locations to RRANA.
Swimming in a canal/water body
Kangaroos are generally very confident at swimming and it is not unusual for them to move through watercourses or dams.
If there does not appear to be any easy exit point for the animal, please refer the matter to RRANA. Otherwise, keep an eye on the animal from a safe distance and ensure that it reaches safety.
DO NOT attempt to assist the macropod by entering the water.
Entangled in a fence
Kangaroos may become entangled in wire. This may be wire that has been discarded or wire in a fence line. Barbed wire can be particularly troublesome.
It is important to remain well clear of the animal to reduce stress and further injury. Please do not attempt to remove the animal yourself unless instructed by RRANA.
Note - If the animal is injured and is freed from the fencing without RRANA rescuers present, then it may then be impossible to capture it to treat its injuries.
If the kangaroo is trapped in wire in a fence, then attempting to unwind the wire from around the limbs with your hands can be very dangerous. If the wire were to spring back into place it is possible to lose fingers. Rescuers generally use a steel pole to unwind wire, so fingers are not close to the wire.
Microbat rescue advice
Under No Circumstances should you handle a Bat.
Microbats in NSW
There are many species of microbats in the Far West of NSW ranging from the tiny Little Forest Bat weighing 4 grams to the larger White Striped Freetail which can weigh up to 45 grams.
Microbats are nocturnal and feed on insects, some species ingesting over 400 mosquitoes each per night.
Large fruit bats do not reside this far west in the state of NSW.
The various species of microbats live in different types of daytime roosts. Some species are cave dwellers, some are tree hollow dwellers, many occupy rock and wood crevices and some even roost in disused bird nests.
Several species of microbat are commonly encountered living in and around houses and urban areas. Often, they are attracted to the insects that swarm towards lights and sometimes find themselves consequently trapped inside houses and buildings.
Why microbats sometimes need rescuing
Personal safety first
DO NOT HANDLE THE BAT!
It is necessary to have had appropriate vaccinations before handling any bat including microbats.
If you are bitten seek medical attention immediately.
Trapped in a house
Microbats often follow insects attracted by lights into a house. If the bat is spotted quickly it can be encouraged to fly back outside by opening all windows, screens and doors and turning the lights off.
Be sure to also turn all ceiling fans off as microbats, can easily be killed if they were to hit it.
If the bats cannot be encouraged outdoors or you believe the bat has been trapped inside for some time and may be dehydrated and weak, please call your local wildlife rescue group.
Many microbats each year are attacked, injured or killed by cats.
During winter, to conserve valuable energy, microbats often enter repetitive torpors (like mini hibernations) several times a day.
While a bat is in torpor it cannot wake up or fly away quickly and is much easier to be caught by both domestic and feral cats.
Keeping cats inside year-round can help avoid interactions with microbats and a host of other wildlife.
Trapped on fly paper
Insects caught on fly sticky paper can attract bats who can then in turn also become trapped.
In addition to injuries associated with attempting to fly away, bats will also ingest significant amounts of the glue, which is highly toxic and usually results in death.
Microbats trapped on flypaper require urgent veterinary care.
Despite the microbats amazing ability to echolocate, they still commonly suffer collision injuries, particularly because of colliding with ceiling fans, moving cars and other moving objects.
Collisions often result in considerable injuries and require urgent veterinary attention.
Tree Lopping and Roost Disturbance
Microbats roost in a variety of different situations and places, and often their roost is accidentally or sometimes purposefully disturbed.
In the case of tree lopping, all trees with suspected hollows should be examined by a Licenced Spotter Catcher immediately prior to the tree being lopped.
Where roosts are known to exist within houses, contact should be made with the NSW National Parks to determine the best approach possible to deal with the problem.
Translocation of roosts because of accidental or purposeful roost destruction, is an extremely complex activity with poor success rates and several factors (including the species, time of year, location and numbers) that influence the decision and outcome.
Roost translocations or roost disturbance must be timed to avoid disturbance of maternity colonies in particular (September – March).
Mass abandonment of young and large numbers of mortalities are realities of roost translocations that are done inappropriately and/or at the wrong time of year.
Unfortunately, many microbat species do not take up the use of nest boxes during translocation events.
Each year during spring and summer, microbat pups are born in the Eastern States.
The pups are required to attach immediately to mum and go with her during her nightly hunting and exploring.
Sometimes the pups will accidentally fall off their mother or be separated from her for some reason.
Further, many juvenile microbats begin taking first flights during this time and sometimes get themselves into all sorts of trouble.
If you find a young pup call RRANA immediately.
Do not handle the youngster but watch over it until we arrive.
Echidna rescue advice
With all rescues be alert to your own possible danger first.
Echidnas in Australia
Echidnas are found all over Australia including regions of rainforest, dry sclerophyll forest and arid zones. They can survive extreme temperatures with localised adaptations such as denser fur found in several sub-species.
Although echidnas are seldom seen by people, they are widespread and relatively common.
Vital that echidnas are NOT moved more than 200 metres.
Moving a female echidna away from their home range area would be a death sentence to a baby puggle, waiting in the burrow nearby.
Very important to take note of the location where the echidna was found when a rescue is undertaken and to provide those details to RRANA.
Echidna in the yard
Dogs often raise the alarm about an echidna in the yard. Echidnas are very quiet animals (they do not vocalise at all) and move around mostly at night. They are very common in all areas of Australia including suburban areas and they are frequently found in people’s backyards looking for ants, termites and grubs.
It is important that you contain your dog and leave the echidna to find its own way out of your yard. Generally, if it was able to get into your yard, then it will be able to find its way back out.
Echidnas are very secretive animals so they will not move on until they feel that it is safe to do so. If they sense any disturbance (such as people or animals nearby), they will remain stationary and will not move on.
If you feel confident to do so, you can pick the echidna up and move it out of your yard into nearby bushland, however it is vital that echidnas are NOT moved more than 200 metres. Remember that they have very strong home ranges and if a female, they may have a baby in a burrow nearby. You will not be able to tell however just by looking at an adult echidna if it is a male as they have no external genitalia. Moving the echidna away from the area will be a death sentence to the baby.
Why echidnas sometimes need rescuing
Motor Vehicle Accidents
The echidnas thick spiny covering can obscure many injuries, and this, coupled with their inability to vocalise, means that very often the seriousness of their injuries is overlooked. Any echidna that has been hit by a vehicle must come into care for a full veterinary assessment.
The most common injury found in road trauma echidnas is a fractured beak; this is not easily identifiable without an x-ray. Even if the echidna moves off the road itself, it could still have life-threatening injuries. The fracture site in an echidnas beak swells quickly and impacts on their ability to breathe. If left untreated, they can suffocate or will starve to death as the receptors in their snout could be damaged and prevent them from locating food.
If you find an echidna that has been hit by a car:
- Ring RRANA immediately who will give immediate advice.
- Stay with the echidna and keep an eye on it until the volunteer arrives.
- If you are confident to do so, you can pick the echidna up and place it in a secure, ventilated container. Do not put it in the boot of your car.
- Echidnas must be kept COOL. In hot weather, put a damp towel over the animal and place it in a cool spot.
- Take note of the location where the echidna was found.
Any echidna that has been in contact with a dog must come into care and receive a full veterinary assessment. Because of their unique anatomical structure, it is difficult to determine if there are any injuries without a general anaesthetic. Surprisingly it is not uncommon for dogs to pick an echidna up in their mouth and cause punctures to their skin, which are difficult to see through their spines and fur.
If your dog has inadvertently come into contact with an echidna:
- If you can, pick the echidna up and place it into a secure, ventilated container.
- Take it to your closest vet or contact RRANA.
- If you are unable to pick the echidna up, or it has dug itself into a difficult spot, please lock your dogs out of sight of the animal to minimise stress, keep an eye on the echidna, and call RRANA.
- It is important that any injured animal receives veterinary treatment as soon as possible. Treating injuries such as wounds requires the prompt administration of antibiotics and possibly analgesia to ensure a successful outcome.