1 Bay Road, Fennell Bay NSW 2283
Westlakes Veterinary Hospital

Westlakes Veterinary Hospital


Caring for our native wildlife in this summer heat

Tips for caring for wildlife in the heat

  • Put out shallow bowls of cool, fresh water and replenish them regularly
  • Ensure the water is placed in shade and where wildlife is safe from predation by pets and birds of prey
  • Confine pets to stop them preying on wildlife searching for water or shade
  • Do not use buckets: they have smooth, slippery sides small animals cannot climb. Some may also fall in and drown if they cannot get out
  • Try not to use metal containers: they heat up too quickly
  • Ensure animals can escape the water container if they fall in by placing sticks or a stone in it to ensure animals have something to climb onto
  • Keep away from the containers to allow wildlife to drink


Signs of extreme heat stress


  • In birds – gaping beaks (the bird is trying to dissipate heat through breathing) and holding wings slightly away from body
  • Birds and bats – falling out of trees
  • Wombats – being in unusual places such as under homes or in sheds
  • Wallabies and kangaroos – intensely licking their forearms/wet arms, not moving away, salivating, panting
  • Echidnas in the open and not actively foraging
  • Koalas on the ground or low in trees, sitting back like a possum exposing its chest and abdomen, salivating, panting, licking its front and hind paws (especially the pads) and rubbing those wet surfaces over its face
  • Possums appearing in daylight, or on the ground, or appearing on verandahs and places you normally would not see them


If you see any wildlife showing the above signs or seem otherwise stressed do not hesitate to call the Native Animal Trust Fund (NATF) on 0418 628 483 or us here at Westlakes Vet Hospital on (02) 4959 5766.

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