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Dehydration in our native animals


Now that the weather is starting to heat up and the majority of areas are still in drought, it is a good idea to be aware of the signs and symptoms of dehydration in our native wildlife. The most obvious sign is the animal will become lethargic and will seem to be withdrawn.

The eyes are a very good indication that the animal is suffering. The eyes appear sunken or dull and this can be noticed in possums, macropods, birds and even in turtles and tortoises.

The next sign to look for is ‘tenting’ in the skin. The skin remains ‘tented’ when pinched up away from the body, the longer it stays ‘tented’ is an indication of the severity of dehydration. Another sign with the skin is that it has a tacky feeling when the skin is gently rolled between the fingers.

In severe cases of dehydration the animal will need to be taken to a vet to receive subcutaneous injections of fluid under the skin. This can also be done by an experienced person i.e. Wildlife Register or carer who has had training to do this. Whenever you are unsure it only takes a phone call to your Wildlife Register to receive the correct advice to save your animal. Please don’t hesitate to do this as they are there to help you.

Dehydration is preventable, always provide access to fresh water. Even putting water out for other birds and other animals can assist them when it is very dry. Remember that dehydration can occur quickly if the animal in care is not receiving the right fluids, food or treatment.

A hydrated animal is a happy animal, so follow basic guide lines and you will have a lot of pleasure watching them grow.


Report injured wildlife to FAUNA - 1300 FAUNA1 / 1300 328 621

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