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Ease the stress for animals on hot days
As summer heats up with consecutive high temperature days, it's important to consider wildlife and companion animals.
While many of us are fortunate to have access to cooling and water, it's important that we consider animals.
One misconception is that wildlife are used to these conditions. However, animals get heat stress, especially birds (including chickens) and mammals.
Hot days and associated heat can create havoc for animals.
There are a number of steps you can take to help animals and wildlife during periods of heat.
- Keep your pets inside on really hot days. It helps your own animals to beat the heat and allows the vulnerable ones safe access to water.
- Leave shallow bowls of water out in shady areas - some on the ground and some off the ground - for birds and other critters to access safely. By leaving small sticks inside, it will help the smaller animals from drowning or getting stuck. Change the water frequently.
- If you see a nocturnal animal out on the ground during the day (including koalas), or animals that are unbalanced or appear confused and may be easily approachable, chances are they are heat stressed or injured. Ideally, call a wildlife rescue group for assistance but if you are able to put the animal in a box, put them in a dark, quiet place until you are able to get them to a carer or to the vet or until a rescuer arrives. Offer them water, but no food. Most vets will have networks within wildlife groups and shelters and are best to use in any emergency.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car consisting of a box, gloves, light blanket or pillowcase turned inside out.
- Share this information with friends and family.
Important note about flying foxes (fruit bats). A high percentage of flying foxes get trapped in tree netting and can die very quickly from exposure. Please do not attempt to touch them – this is for their safety as well as your own. You can place an umbrella over the animal or another form of shade as best you can, but please do not touch them. Call an experienced rescuer to help and then mist them with water to keep them cool. To help them from getting trapped in the first place, never use netting with apertures that you can get your finger through. Example of wildlife-friendly netting can be found here.