Native Animal Care

Manual – Building on gender Agrobiodiversity and local knowledge

Wildlife Care by Linda Dennis
Caring for our native wildlife
caring for our native wildlife
An exam you may take for yourself and self-correct

Most Common Problems Associated with Native Wildlife

We have tried to provide some practical advice in relation to some common problems that are experienced with wildlife.

Baby Birds

Any bird that is sick or injured will need veterinary treatment. If a baby bird has fallen from a nest and is uninjured the first option is to return it to the nest and observe it for a period of time to ensure that the mother feeds it.

Snake in your yard

Don’t panic!!! If the snake is in your yard it may just be passing through, warming up prior to eating or searching for food such as chooks or mice. Snakes do not go looking for people! If the situation is distressing you, we suggest that you keep your children, domestic animals (including birds and guinea pigs) and yourself away from the snake and wait for it to move on.

If the snake is in your house, garage, swimming pool, car or school yard, or you feel that you are at risk contact The Northern Wildlife Carers 1800008290 or your local wildlife organization or the Department of Environment Resources and Management (DERM) on 1300 130 372 to obtain the names of licensed snake handlers in your area.  Removing snakes requires a special permit called a Damage Mitigation Permit and therefore most snake handlers may charge a fee to remove the snake.  Most snake handlers are available 24 hours a day.

Remember, most snake bites occur when people are trying to move them.  Snakes can be very difficult to correctly identify – some venomous snakes can be the same colour and pattern as non-venomous snakes.
Snakes are native animals and are protected by law.

Possums in your Ceiling

Possums that take up residence in ceilings are usually brushtail possums. Keep an eye out to see where the possum is exiting the ceiling.  This usually occurs just on dusk or up to an hour or so after. Have your tools ready to block the entrance to the ceiling, splash a bit of disinfectant around and have a new home ready for the possum by putting up a possum box high in a tree. Remember that possums only look to human habitation because their preferred sleeping places – tree hollows – are non-existent or already occupied.   Possum boxes are available from your local wildlife groups as are the contact details for specialized possum catchers.

Possum in the Chimney

If the sides of the chimney are smooth and do not allow the possum to climb out, and the chimney is accessible from above, a rope or sheet secured above and dangled down may give the possum something to grip on and climb up. Alternatively the possum may be able to be reached from below using gloves and a towel but be careful of the claws and teeth.  Alternatively it may be lured into a box with some fruit. Failing all, call your local wildlife organisation. Captured possums should not be released until nightfall (the same applies to any nocturnal animal).

Racing Pigeons

If you find a pigeon that is banded contact your local racing pigeon club and provide details of the ID number from the band, if possible so that they can locate the owner of the pigeon.  Check your Yellow Pages for a local pigeon club near you.


Frogs are better not handled.  However if they are required to be handled your hands should be clean and wet. Frog spawn, tadpoles and frogs should not be moved. For information on frogs contact your local frog organization for advice such as the Queensland Frog Society.


For information on problems with bees contact your local Bee Keepers Association.


As bandicoots eat lawn grubs and other insect pests, count your blessings that you will not have to spray for such insects! Remember that the damage that they do with their holes is only short term.

Attacking Magpies and Plovers

This behaviour usually only lasts a few weeks during the breeding season so try to avoid the area that the bird is protecting for this short time. Try wearing protective clothing and remember that they are only protecting their family just as we humans would.

Birds flying at windows

This is usually a territorial behaviour as the bird sees its reflection in the window as a rival. If one window is involved trying covering it for a short period until the breeding season is over. Alternatively try placing pot plants or a screen of some sort in front of the window to deter the bird.

For more information –see seperate file “Birds”

Birds flying into windows

If the bird is bleeding or has broken bones take it immediately to your local vet. Otherwise place the bird in a box and keep in a warm, dark quiet place for a couple of hours. Once the bird has had time to recover take the box outside and open it, they will usually fly straight off.  If the incident occurs in the afternoon keep the bird overnight before attempting to release it.  If the bird is still unable to fly take it to your nearest vet or contact your local wildlife organization.

Ducks in your Pool

Turn off the filtration system or the ducklings will risk being sucked into it. Provide a ramp or some sort of method so that the ducks can exit the pool easily. Try providing an alternative water source such as a fish pond if the ducks keep returning. If you need to catch the ducks to remove them, remember that you must catch the mother first or she may take off and then the ducklings will be orphaned. Ducklings do not have waterproof feathers as the mother provides the oil for waterproofing, so if they are left wet or in water they will die of pneumonia. Keep them warm and dry and contact your local wildlife organisation as soon as possible.

Eggs on the Ground

Some birds lay their eggs on the ground so if you find any eggs, do not disturb them.

Birds trapped in a building

Open all the exits and keep quiet and out of the way and hopefully the bird will fly out. If the exits are small and inaccessible and the ceiling is high, the bird may have to be caught which can sometimes prove to be very difficult. A long handled fishing net may help or if the bird is a seedeater, seed may entice them to the ground to enable them to be captured more easily.  If the building is accessible after dark when the birds have gone to roost they are often more easily caught.

Nuisance domestic or exotic animals

Contact your local council by referring to your local telephone directory

We have tried to provide some practical advice in relation to some common problems that are experienced with wildlife.