Dusk and dawn are particularly dangerous times for our crepuscular (active between dusk to dawn) animals that venture out at these times. We all try to squeeze in that last 10km of driving before it gets dark but this is when many people hit a kangaroo that ‘appeared out of nowhere.’
Travel safe, try not to travel just before dusk. If you must travel at this time then please slow down. We have all seen television advertisements showing the difference that just 5km per hour can make to braking time. This will make it safer for us all on the roads.
If you are unfortunate enough to hit an animal, please do not be indifferent to its pain.
Pull over to see if the animal has survived
Always check the pouch of a dead animal as young can often survive (You need to feel all around in the pouch as some animals, such as wombats, have backwards facing pouches). Animals with pouches include kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums, gliders, koalas and echidnas.
Pouch young may have been thrown out of Mum’s pouch in an accident and could be nearby on the road or roadside, so please check around the area.
Joeys can appear dead as they have gone into a torpor due to their cold body temperature, however once SLOWLY warmed they can survive.
If the joey (young possum, kangaroo, wallaby, wombat or glider) is furless DO NOT forcibly remove it from the mother’s teat as this will cause further damage. If the mother is dead and you are comfortable doing so, cut the teat as close to mother’s pouch a possible. If not OK doing this, then just transport the dead mother with the joey to the closest vet where it will be treated for free. Hypothermia is a serious risk to these joeys and so keeping them warm with blankets, towels, etc. is vital.
NEVER give any food or water to a joey: they must be fully warmed and fed correctly so as not to ingest liquid into the lungs which will often then be fatal.
Surviving adult animals can also be taken to the nearest vet for pain relief, or euthanasia. Please ensure you tell them where you found the animal so it can be rehabilitated and returned to its home range. If you cannot transport the animal yourself, please call a local wildlife rescue group such as AWARE; see our alternate rescue organisations page for more information.
If injuries are not severe (no blood and guts) then you can also call a local wildlife rescue group such as AWARE for advice; see our alternate rescue organisations page for more information.
All echidnas that have been hit by a car, MUST receive a full vet assessment. The most common injury sustained by echidnas is a fractured beak and often this is not easily discernible. Many echidnas that have been hit by cars, will wander off the road and many people will assume that they are okay. If they have sustained a fractured beak, they will most likely die from suffocation (as the beak swells) or will starve to death as the receptors in their snout have become damaged and they are unable to locate food, so please ensure you call a local wildlife rescue group such as AWARE for any echidna hit by a car; see our alternate rescue organisations page for more information.