Pouch Checking

Wildlife Rescue Animals Posted Dec 20, 2022
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

It’s always heartbreaking to come across a deceased joey or other wild animal on our roads. Whether you accidentally hit the animal yourself or someone else has hit them before you, it always pays to check if the animal has a pouch and if a joey is still on board and in need of rescue.

Joeys are known to survive in the pouch for several days following the death of their mother. This was sadly the case when this little joey was reported to us recently, although still alive, this one could have been saved earlier:

Baby joey held by RSPCA Rescue Officer in a towel

If you do find a joey still alive in a mother’s pouch, if you can take the mother and the joey still in the pouch to your nearest vet, this will help ensure the joey gets to the RSPCA or a local wildlife carer who can care for them.

If you’re not sure what to do, call our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625), we may just have a Rescue Unit in your area that can attend.

You may notice deceased roos or other animals on the roadside that have been marked in some way – spray paint or ribbons. This may mean that animal has already been pouched checked by another person. You can do the same if you pouch check and no young are found in the pouch.

If you can, move the animal off the road so it’s not a hazard to other drivers.

Please note: 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

How to avoid wildlife when driving

We have more information here on how you can 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.

Keep a wildlife rescue kit in your car

Handy items to keep in your car when you’re driving if you come across an animal in need of rescue: Towels, pillowcases, a box, torch, disposable gloves…

Read the full list here!

Emma Lagoon
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