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Heat Stressed Wildlife

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Specific signs of heat stress to watch for are: Any bird that is panting indicates that they are really hot. A healthy bird will try and get out of the sun and into a cooler place. If you see a bird sitting outside in the full sun panting there’s something wrong.

Put water in a shady place so it stays as cool as possible. Change the water daily or even more frequently if possible. Put water in places at different heights away from pets or predators for different species of birds.

Flying-foxes & bats also pant and lick their wrists and flap to try and stay cool. They will also hug the trees because they are cooler than the air & move down lower to the ground where it’s cooler. They dive for water, dams and other water sources so leaving water out does not help them. If you see a flying-fox needing help DO NOT TOUCH, call WIRES 1300 094 737.

Kangaroos and wallabies may be lying down and not move away quickly if startled. They may also be seen salivating. It is important to NEVER APPROACH a macropod that is lying down. If they are heat stressed, this will exhaust them even more Also, they are very large powerful animals. If you believe a macropod or wombat needs help call WIRES 1300 094 737.

Birds of prey like other birds will breathe open-mouthed and hold their wings away from their body and sometimes lower their head. You may see them in dangerous places like under a tree instead of up high in the sun. A bird that’s dehydrated won’t be able to fly far or high. Put really wide bowls of water in the shade and keep it topped up.

Possums may emerge from roofs as the top of houses heat up. Lightly misting them with water will help and leaving bowls of water as close to where they live as possible is also helpful.

If you have seen an animal you believe to be suffering heat stress read more about how to help