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Kangaroos - The 100 Days Project: Day 14 [87]

If You Find an Injured Kangaroo...

FIRST OFF, BE PREPARED: make sure that, somewhere in your vehicle, you have an old blanket (or retired beach towel), some light-weight rubber gloves, an old pillow-slip or large sock (or last year’s felt Christmas stocking), and a can of white spray paint.

Photo: Stella Reid, Wildhaven

IF YOU SEE AN INJURED ANIMAL, or an unmarked animal lying still on or at the side of the road (there is a convention that one paints/sprays a readily-visible cross on an animals one has checked),  pull off as best you can onto the verge and put on your hazard lights if you have them. If, once out of the car, you need to cross the road, check very carefully for traffic before you do so.

Observe the animal from a short distance to determine, if you can, whether she/he is still alive, and the nature of her/his injuries.  If she/he is still active, it may be best to wait for a few minutes longer, to try to determine the nature of her/his injuries. The kick of the Kangaroo is legendary, as is their punch, the claws are powerful and sharp, and they can bite: an injured/terrified animal is unpredictable and far more likely to lash out when approached than lie quietly while being inspected.

If the kangaroo is trying to stand but is unable to, she/he very likely has a broken back. In almost all such cases vets and/or wildlife rescuers will determine that she/he needs to be humanely euthanased. Similarly a broken leg cannot be set or mended, and in almost all cases the decision will be to euthanase as quickly as possible.

Blood coming from her/his/ nose or mouth is most often an indication of severe trauma. Again the decision may be to euthanase as quickly as possible. In any/all of these cases, the best thing to do is to call the nearest wildlife rescue service and consider seriously their advice. This service varies from state to state (in New South Wales it is WIRES: 13000 WIRES [1300 094 737]); it may be that you must go through a central co-ordinator, who will then put you in touch with the local representative.

Photo: Stella Reid, Wildhaven

If the kangaroo is dead, drag her/him to the side of the road, if she/he is not there already. Check the pouch, if the kangaroo is female, for a young joey. You may wish to wear your rubber gloves for this.

If you find a joey that has already grown fur, take hold of the joey by the base of the tail with one hand, and by the chest with the other, and draw her/him out, making sure that she/he is not attached to the teat. Have a bag, jumper or towel, pillow-slip or large sock ready to wrap the Joey in to keep him/her warm.

If you find an unfurred joey, she/he may well be attached to the teat. If this is so, cut the teat from the mother and remove the joey with it. Wrap the joey snuggly and keep her/him close to your body. Get to help as soon as possible: the unfurred joey will need artificial heat to keep them warm.

Once you have checked for a joey, pull the dead kangaroo, by the back legs, a few metres from the road and, if you have a can of spray paint, mark the body with a cross.

If you have found a joey and can’t get her/him to an experienced carer straight away, offer her/him water to lap. Do not feed them cow’s milk. Cow's milk will make them ill. Wrap them in a breathable material and keep them warm, in a quiet place where they can rest.

In your vehicle, keep the joey on your lap or on a car seat: floors can be too hot.

If you have determined to transport a large injured ’roo, and believe you can load him/her safely, make sure you approach her/him from behind, and cover the head with a towel or blanket to calm her/him down. Place her/him on your back seat or in the rear of your wagon and cover her/him with a blanket. Make sure that you and any other passengers you may have are out of kicking distance.

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