As temperatures rise, Victorians are advised to be mindful of the impacts prolonged heat exposure can have on native wildlife.
Wildlife exposed to prolonged heat often display a range of symptoms and can appear lethargic, disorientated or unresponsive, so it’s important to take care when helping them.
Tree-dwelling and nocturnal wildlife such as possums and koalas may be seen on the ground in search of water if suffering from heat stress, while birds will often pant and stretch their wings to cool down.
Basic measures everyday Victorians can use to help include placing bowls of water around shady areas to keep wildlife hydrated and using a garden hose to spray mist into trees and shrubs.
Small animals which appear lethargic or sick can be placed on a damp towel in a well-ventilated, cool container and given a small bowl of water for hydration.
It’s important to use protective gloves when touching the animals.
Larger animals such as kangaroos, koalas and wombats, or disease carrying animals like flying foxes should be treated by trained wildlife experts.
Wildlife shelters and foster carers play an important role in the Victorian community by helping heat-stressed, sick or injured wildlife.
Local vets, licensed shelters and rehabilitation organisations can be contacted to provide advice and assistance.