Keep a towel, box/carry container, large empty drink bottle and hand sanitiser in your car. Don’t forget safety equipment such as gloves and something to cover your eyes like sunglasses or safety goggles.
Do not feed or water the animal. The wrong feed can cause serious problems and some birds do not drink water. Get it to a vet or Native Animal Rescue right away.
Stress is a killer. Handle the animal as little as possible and get it into a suitable container as quickly and quietly as possible. Depending on the animal, you can use a cardboard box, a pillowcase or hessian sack tied off, or a covered laundry basket for transport.
Be aware of the weather. In cold weather, fill an empty drink bottle with hot water, wrap in towel and place with animal to provide warmth. In hot weather, use an air-conditioned car for transport.
Do not carry the animal on your lap in the car. This is dangerous for you and the animal, not to mention stressful! Stress can kill.
Wash your hands after close contact. Some animals, particularly sick ones, carry diseases that are transferable to humans. Hand sanitiser, or warm soapy water will kill 99% of germs. You should also change into a clean set of clothes after handling native animals, as diseases may also pass onto your own pets. Any towels or travel containers should also be cleaned if possible. All fabric will wash clean and free of diseases in a regular washing cycle. Cardboard boxes should be thrown away after use. If you rescue animals regularly, make sure to disinfect reusable containers between rescues, or use different boxes.
Your safety and welfare is paramount
Always make sure it is safe before attempting to rescue a native animal. Look out for sharp claws, beaks, and teeth – wild animals will often seek to defend themselves. We recommend wearing gloves and eye protection (sunglasses). Always try to work with another person when rescuing native animals.
Make sure the animal you are helping actually needs help
Young birds often appear to be orphaned, but may just be waiting for a parent to return from foraging. For more information about baby birds, we recommend you read the advice on our Baby bird page.
If you find a lizard like a bobtail (otherwise known as shingleback or blue-tongue) in your backyard and it is not in any immediate danger, we recommend you leave it alone. Bobtails are territorial and mate for life, and moving them away from their environment unnecessarily has unknown consequences.
If you find ducks crossing the road, it is always safest to stand away from the road and observe them as they cross. The only people with the authority to obstruct or manage traffic are the police, and you should never put yourself in danger by walking into traffic to help an injured animal. Again, your safety and welfare is paramount.