KANGAROOS / WALLABIES SHORT TERM CARE by Linda Dennis
It's important to remember that an injured, sick or orphaned kangaroo, as with any wild animal, will be stressed when caught. It is very important that it is kept in a dark, quiet place, away from children and family pets.
Injured adult kangaroos shouldn't be approached by inexperienced handlers. Kangaroos have powerful hind legs with very sharp claws which can cause severe injury if the kangaroo is frightened and kicks out. The claws on their fore legs are also incredibly sharp - and beware - kangaroos know how to "box" and you will more than likely be the loser if one decides to fight you. It is advisable to stay away from an injured adult kangaroo and to call a licensed wildlife organisation or experienced wildlife carer.
If the kangaroo is very sick or unconscious however, wrap it in a large blanket and put into the boot of your car. You may need more than one person to lift it. Take it to a veterinarian or experienced carer as soon as possible.
Kangaroo joeys are extremely difficult to care for as they are prone to stress which can kill them quickly. An experienced carer is urgently needed and you should call a wildlife organisation, individual carers or take the joey to the nearest veterinarian.
It is essential that the joey is kept warm. If the joey is unfurred it needs to be kept at a constant 32C degrees, so you will need the aid of a heat source. A hot water bottle can be used in an emergency, but will need to be regularly filled with hot water (not boiling). A hot water bottle will need to be wrapped in a towel. A heat pad is a better option.
Make sure that you warm the joey slowly (over a period of 2 hours) - over heating is as detrimental as under heating. Place the joey in a cotton slip, eg: a pillow case, and then wrap in warm wrapping such as woolly jumpers, and put it on top of the heat source. Place a thermometer inside the cotton slip so that you can check the temperature. Put it in a dark quite place so that it can "de-stress".
If the joey is furred put it in a cotton slip, and then in warm wrappings. The temperature should be around 28C. Put it in a quiet place and leave it alone to calm down.
Do not feed any wild animal for at least a few hours after rescue - they need to have their stress levels reduced and too much human contact can send them into shock. Additionally, it is very important that you do not feed a cold animal as any food will not be digested properly and the animal may die. If the rescued animal is cold you will need to warm it very slowly (over a period of 2 hours) - if you warm it too quickly it may also die from heat-stress related complications. An animal that is badly injured or sick will not want to eat. If this is the case, just leave it until an experienced carer can collect it, or take it to a veterinarian.
A joey should never be fed cows milk as they are lactose intolerant and it will kill them. A joey can be fed Di-Vetalact or Formula One which are universal milk replacers and can be purchased at most veterinary clinics.
Just remember to use your common sense when caring for a kangaroo. You are caring for a wild animal, it is not a pet.
Keep pets, family and friends away from the animal at all times.
Please contact Linda Dennis on 0416 014 466 or visit Forth Crossing Wildlife's website here.
Any involvement in caring for wildlife is done entirely at your own risk.
The author accepts no liability for injuries or difficulties arising from your involvement.