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Pouch Checking

Wildlife Rescue Animals Posted Oct 20, 2020
While it can be heart wrenching to see wildlife deceased on our roads, taking a few minutes to stop and check the pouches of marsupials and echidnas can save a life.

Joeys are known to survive in the pouch for several days following the death of their mother. If you find a joey attached to a teat, it’s important to leave it on there and, where possible, take the mother and baby intact to your nearest vet. If you are unable to do that, call our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline, 1300 ANIMAL for assistance.

baby joey being held by gloved hand

To assist other people who want to help with possible pouch young, once you have checked the pouch – whether there was a young there or not – you should mark the animal so others know the pouch has been checked. The convention is to spray paint a large cross on the body of the mother, but if you don’t have any spray paint, then place two large sticks in a cross over the body. If necessary, it is best to move the body onto the side of the road or verge.

Removing a joey from the mother’s teat can cause irreparable damage to the joey’s mouth. For its best chance at survival, this will need to be carefully done by a qualified wildlife carer or vet. Back-riding juvenile possums and koalas will often stay with the mother’s body and can be attacked or die from starvation, so survey the area for any young.

baby possum being rescued and put into pouch

We have more information on how to avoid wildlife when driving here.

Tip: Do not attempt to catch injured adult kangaroos, wallabies, koalas or bats. They will need to be sedated before they can be handled. Call 1300 ANIMAL for assistance.

Taryn Paris

Taryn Paris
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