Have you accidentally hit an animal while driving on the road? Or had a near miss?
I experienced a horrifying moment last weekend while driving at night. I tapped a possum with my car.
My foot hit the brakes instantly as I pulled over to the side of the road. I quickly opened the door and went back to look for him.
It was super dark and I couldn’t see a thing. I returned to my car and rummaged around looking for a torch.
I realised how very unprepared I was.
It’s was irresponsible of me not to be prepared, and the experience has since prompted me to organise a wildlife rescue kit for my car.
Do you have one in your car?
Here’s a list of wildlife rescue items I added to my car in case of a wildlife emergency.
Wildlife Rescue Kit
Flourescent vest. The most important thing you’ll need to remember, before you rescue any animal, is your safety.
There’s been a couple of sad incidents lately where someone stopped to help a wild animal in need and ended up in hospital themselves. Please be careful around moving traffic. A fluro vest will ensure cars can see you so that you can rescue the animal safely.
Torch. Most animals are hit between dusk and dawn, so having a torch on hand is a must. I honestly can’t believe I didn’t even have that in my car!
It’s much easier to search for an injured animal with a torch rather than your my car headlights, trust me!
Gloves. Animals have mouths and they can bite. Some can bite very hard. I used to be a zoo keeper, so I’ve had first-hand experience!
Remember that a rescued animal is at its most vulnerable and defending itself if something it will do, if it can.
Gloves will help protect your hands.
You’ll thank me if you ever have to pick up parrot or sugar glider.
Towel. Once you find the injured animal, and if it’s still mobile, you’ll need to catch it. Throw it over the animal and quickly grab it.
A towel can also be used to protect your hands if you haven’t got any gloves.
Pillow case. Pillow cases are an excellent way to restrain and transport small animals. Make sure you have some string or rubber bands to secure the pillow case end too. You do not want a little critter loose in the car while you’re driving!
First aid Kit. Despite your best efforts to reduce the risk to yourself, wild animals can be very determined to get away by any means necessary. You may still get scratched or bitten. It’s always good to have a basic first aid kit on hand just in case. I made my own but this is a good little one to add to the kit.
Pliers. This is not essential, chances are you’ll probably not use it, but having some pliers in your kit would be very handy if you find an animal stuck on an object like barbed wire.
Box. Boxes are another great way to secure a sick or injured animal. They can also be used to gently scoop up an animal, creating a good safety barrier between you and your patient.
Be sure to sure your box well once the animal is inside.
Important phone number list. Rather than having to search contact numbers on your phone, have a list of the important phone number you’ll require if you do pick up a sick or injured animal. It’s so much easier just to have them on hand.
I stuck mine to the box.
Wildlife reference books. Another helpful addition may be a local species reference book and a caring for wildlife book too.
A shovel. A wonderful follower from the Mother Natured Facebook page, suggested adding a shovel. She specifically used it for moving or turning around snapping turtles that were about to walk across the road. Great addition Jessa!
A few important tips before rescuing a sick or injured animal
- Do not attempt a rescue an animal unless you are confident that you will not be harmed in the process.
- Wild animals become stressed when being chased or handled. Please seek expert advice before chasing or handling any injured animal.
- Please don’t pick up snakes. Always call an expert.
- Never touch bats. An expert, with the lyssavirus vaccination must attend the rescue. Learn more about this here.
- Try to keep the animal calm by minimising the noise and interaction with people. Only handle if absolutely necessary.
- Do not try to give the animal food and water. That’s the last thing the animal needs right now. It needs specialised care.
- Please don’t keep the animal and try to treat it yourself. You’re doing the animal a disservice by not handing it over to a hospital and specialised carer with the important knowledge and training.
- Always check dead animals too, as they may have surviving young with them (e.g. in a pouch) or near them.
Want to help more wildlife?
Don’t just have a wildlife rescue kit in your car, learn how to become a wildlife carer too. Ask your local wildlife hospital for details about an organisation near you.
There’s plenty of wonderful wildlife carers out there with more experience on capturing and restraining wild animals than me. Did I miss anything? What else would you suggest we add to this basic wildlife rescue kit?