Offering Water to Wildlife
A long hot summer is a difficult time for our native animals. Many wildlife species are badly affected by dehydration, burns, exhaustion and disorientation.
Some animals that live in trees can even fall down to the ground due to dehydration and get injured as well.
Many actually die due to some of those situations or a combination of them. In many cases, disoriented animals get hit by cars or become pray of unsupervised pets.
Fortunately we all can help by offering our wildlife some fresh clean water in our gardens.
Some easy tips to provide water to wildlife in summer are:
Place water containers at different heights so all kinds of animals can have a refreshing drink:
- Containers at ground level for animals like skinks, lizards,
echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and ground
- Containers at medium levels, like bird baths on pedestals,
- Containers at high level up on trees for possums, gliders,
birds and bats
Choose terracotta, plastic or ceramic containers instead of metal ones, because they can become very hot and also make the water warm.
Always place rocks or branches inside the water containers to help small animals that may fall into the water to get out and avoid drowning.
Make sure the water container is properly secured so it doesn’t tip over if the animals step on it in order to drink.
Place the water containers in a shady and safe area, accessible for the wildlife but far from pets that may hunt the wildlife.
Top up and change the water regularly to ensure a constant supply of fresh clean water.
Ringtail possums and flying foxes are particularly vulnerable during hot weather, so it is important to keep an eye on them.
When encountering animals affected by hot weather, please contact your local wildlife shelter or vet or wildlife organisation for further advice, assessment and treatment.
While help arrives or during transport to a shelter or vet, please place the animal in a safe container and offer water. Keep the container as cool and well ventilated, as possible and you can also spray the animal with misty water or place a wet towel on top to help cool it down. Always use room temperature water, since animals should be cooled down slowly.
Under these circumstances, animals are usually very distress, so avoid unnecessary handling and keep them in a quiet and dark environment.
Always keep in mind your own safety, remember that these animals are wild and under distress, so despite your best intentions, they may feel threatened and try to defend themselves. .
Sometimes simple actions could be the difference between life and death for many creatures in need. Exercising care, kindness and compassion, makes us the best humans we can be.
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