Heat stress (hyperthermia) is distressing and painful for wildlife and it can be fatal. Dehydration can cause organ damage and hot surfaces burn feet and paws. A vet or licensed wildlife carer is required for the treatment of heat stressed animals.
HEAT STRESS WARNING SIGNS
- nocturnal animals out during the day
- arboreal (tree dwelling) animals on the ground
- animals displaying any loss of balance, seizures or confusion.
If you do take an animal to a vet or carer please be sure to have the exact address/location you picked up the animal from so it can be returned to its territory once recovered.
Contact your local wildlife group, a vet or AWARE but remember, they will be extremely busy during heat wave events.
IF SAFE TO DO SO
- Pick up the animal with a towel and place it into a well ventilated box or pet carrier
- Do not subject the animal to rapid changes in temperature – they should be cooled slowly
- Reduce the animal’s stress by keeping noise down and children and pets away
- Water can be provided in a bowl but do not offer any food
PREVENTING HEAT STRESS
There are ways we can help prevent wildlife becoming heat stressed during prolonged periods of heat or on extremely hot days.
- Use the garden hose to mist water spray into trees and shrubs.
- Leave out bowls of water in locations that provide some protection and screening from predators such as birds of prey and domestic pets. If leaving out a larger tub or bucket make sure it is secure and provide a stick or rock for an animal to use to climb out (see below).
- Providing water at different levels makes it accessible to all species while minimising the risk of being preyed upon when seeking water. Screening water sources also reduces the risk of being preyed upon. Hang water dispensers from trees or place a bowl in a hanging basket that can be easily accessed by birds and bats.
- Confine your pets, to stop them from preying on wildlife searching for water or trying to cool down.