Over the years, driving on Australian country roads we have come across and helped many animals – kangaroos, a kookaburra tangled around a barbed wire fence, a chough (type of bird), an echidna, more kangaroos, a sheep stuck in a dam, a cockatoo, turtles, turtles and more turtles, a frill-necked lizard, a calf stranded on a ledge, a BIG wombat, a possum and baby, lots of Superb Parrots,
…and a mob of 400 sheep. (But that’s another story!)
Some injured animals could be rescued (by us or others), some didn’t end up so well, some just needed to be pointed in the right direction. But we’ve helped using the ‘rescue box’ we keep in the back of our vehicle. It contains half a dozen everyday items.
In our Rescue Box we have:
dishwashing gloves or disposable rubber gloves (or a bread bag for each hand)
– to protect yourself from blood etc
additional leather garden gloves
– for sharp beaks, claws, spines
old towels, single bed sheet or cotton tablecloth
– to ‘catch’ the animal from behind, covering their eyes and scooping them up
(They are calmer when their eyes are covered.)
Wrap them loosely to contain wings and legs. And it makes carrying easier.
cotton calico shopping bag or pillow slip
– as a hood for larger animals if needed
Must be open-weave for breathing. They like the dark, it keeps them quiet.
torch or ideally a headlamp (hands-free)
– because looking in the dark in long grass by the light of a mobile phone isn’t easy
maybe a pair of old shoes / boots
– so if you have to walk off the side of the road you don’t ruin your good ones
and probably the most important thing of all in our rescue box…is the box itself, with air holes
– used to contain and transport small animals and birds.
The darkness keeps them calmer plus you’re not over-handling them as they might have broken bones or internal injuries. You can keep a flattened box in your car and it’s there for when you need it. Line it with another towel.
the phone number to CALL THE LOCAL WILDLIFE RESCUE ORGANISATION
– see Australian Fauna Care for a searchable list of Australian wildlife organisations, www.fauna.org.au
A call to a wildlife crew with the location could save an injured animal or even its small joey, even if you are not able to give aid. They are pleased to get your call and their only concern is helping the injured animal. The carers are very helpful, will give you advice on what to do and any assistance they can.
TIP: Even if the animal has died, check if it’s a female or male. A female may have young in the pouch (kangaroos, wombats, possums, echidnas) or the joey may have been thrown and is still alive nearby. Ring for advice.
extra tip: Hold turtles right away from you. They will squirt really stinky swamp water when lifted.
extra extra tip: Move live animals well off the side of the road in the direction they were heading, otherwise they will just turn around and walk back across the road.
Above all, BE SAFE on the road
and BE KIND to animals. ♦