How you Can Help

How you Can Help

How to safely administer food, water and shelter

  • Clean, disinfect,* dry containers thoroughly and refill water and food containers daily, to prevent spread of disease. *Disinfect containers in a dishwasher or by soaking in a solution of one cup of bleach added to four litres of water. 
  • Wash your hands before and after cleaning and drying food and water containers or handling food to reduce risk to you and the animals you are helping.
  • Remove and dispose of uneaten food to prevent spread of disease and attracting unwanted pests.
  • Only offer water and food if you are able to check, clean and replenish on a regular basis, preferably daily. 
  • Provide water and food in appropriate containers. Do not provide food or water directly to wildlife.  Handfeeding is a disease risk to both of you and increases the risk of animals eating or drinking in unnatural positions that may cause harm.
  • Ensure containers are shallow (reduce risk of drowning), robust (won’t collapse easily) and stable (so they don’t tip). 
  • Place a stable rock, stick and/or rope in waterers to give safe access out of the water for a variety of smaller animals (from insects to mammals).  Deep and/or narrow containers increase risk of drowning.
  • Place containers/dispensers in a cleared area with shade to allow more timid wildlife to watch out for predators and keep cool.
  • Provide water and feed containers/dispensers at a range of heights including at ground level (suitable for most mammals and reptiles) and elevated and hanging in trees (for animals such as possums, gliders and birds) so a range of native animals can use them. Encouraging arboreal animals to come to the ground makes them vulnerable to predation.
  • Place water and feed away from public roads, buildings and in several small stations of low volume. A distance of 500m between water stations is recommended. When possible, regularly move locations of water and feed stations to reduce disease and predator risk. 
  • Keep cats, dogs and children away from the areas you are providing water, food or shelter. Cats quickly learn where wildlife are congregating and may stalk them. 
  • Feed as close to the natural diet as possible (see key government weblinks below for assistance).
  • Keep records of what you are doing – animals, locations, feeds provided.
  • When vegetation starts to recover, phase out food stations provided to minimise habituation and dependence on supplementary feeding is only necessary for a few weeks. It is always best for animals to forage for their own food as soon as possible.
  • If you find an injured animal, and it is safe to do so, contain it in a covered box in a dark, quiet place while waiting for a rescuer or until transporting the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator  or veterinarian. It is important to note that bats (including flying foxes), adult kangaroos and venomous reptiles pose a serious risk to human handlers and should only be rescued by experienced personnel. Do not attempt to handle them yourself. 
  • Find out more about living with native animals 
  • Make your property and garden wildlife-friendly by growing native food plants, creating suitable habitat and limiting use of chemicals and pesticides. As bushland recovers, your property may provide valuable “wildlife corridors” or “service stations” to help disperse native animals from bushfire areas to regenerating areas.
     

 

Additional Resources

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