24/7 Wildcare Helpline
A mammal is a term used to describe warm blooded vertebrates that secrete milk for the nourishment of their young.
Small Mammals cover a broad range of species and are generally divided into three groups – marsupials, monotremes and placentals.
Marsupials give birth to tiny under-developed young, who are fed and housed within a pouch. This includes macropods (kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons, bettongs & potoroos), bandicoots, koalas, possums, gliders, and wombats.
Monotremes are egg-laying mammals. This includes echidnas and platypus.
Placentals are mammals whose offspring have a longer gestational period and are reliant on a placenta for growth and development before a live birth. These young are born fully developed. These include flying foxes, microbats, and rodents.
Wildcare Queanbeyan Inc interact with a huge range of small mammals, with the most common ones captured in the following statistics for FY20/21:
Grey-headed Flying Fox
Little Red Flying Fox
Common Brushtail Possum
Common Ringtail Possum
Common Reasons for Care
· Hit by cars
· Orphaned young
· Attacked by domestic cats and dogs
· Attacked by other native or pest species
· Rodenticide Poisoning
· Habitat Loss
· Skin condition or wounds from territorial disputes
· Trapped or displaced in areas they don’t belong like chimneys, fire boxes, inside areas etc
· Entanglement on barbed wire or fruit netting
What you can do
Wildcare DO NOT relocate possums just because they’re in your yard, roof or shed. We rescue injured and orphaned possums primarily, but also help to relocate them to a safer area if they’re trapped or located somewhere they shouldn’t be. Possums are a native species protected by law in NSW, and we are bound by that law to ensure their safety.
Brushtail possums are extremely territorial, and by relocating them to alternate areas would be a death sentence for them. Our laws dictate that they cannot be relocated or released greater than 150m from their rescue location. Brushtails have a relatively small home range and will often not travel far to find food. As you can imagine, life for a possum is extremely difficult when their natural habitat is destroyed to allow for the suburban sprawl. They are sometimes simply looking for a safe spot to live and raise their young and that provides them with an easy food source.
What can you do? If you have a possum living in your roof, you firstly need to encourage the possum to an outside area. You can do this by putting a possum box up in a large tree. The tree should be a distance away from your house and domestic pets, and placed high enough off the ground to protect it from pest predators as well. Large trees with dense foliage is ideal, and must be facing a direction that is protected from prevailing winds and rain. If you encourage the possum by leaving small amounts of fruit and veg near the possum box, the possum is likely to find the nice new shelter acceptable and be more inclined to move in there, rather than returning to your roof cavity. At this stage, you then need to close off any gaps in your roof so the possum cannot return.
Our Wildcare shop normally stocks a supply of Possum Boxes. They are available to the public for $60 each. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange to purchase one.
Should you find a possum out during daylight hours, or injured, sick or orphaned, please contact our Rescue Line immediately and we’ll arrange for a rescuer to attend.
Flying Foxes and Microbats
(big bats and little bats)
DO NOT TOUCH A FLYING FOX OR MICROBAT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!
Bats have the potential to carry Lyssavirus, which is a potentially lethal disease that can be transmitted to humans from a bite or scratch. All of our Bat rescuers are vaccinated against this disease, and are therefore protected, should they be injured during a rescue.
Most of the Flying Foxes we rescue, come into care due to being caught on either barbed wire fences, or entangled in fruit netting. NSW unfortunately don’t regulate the sale of the wildlife safe netting, so there’s a lot of products out there that are not safe. The basic rule of thumb for the best netting to use, is ‘if you can poke your little finger into it, it’s too big’. The recommended netting should be no more than 5mm.
Microbats generally come into care because they’ve either been caught by a cat, or they’ve dropped out of something they were hiding in, like a garage door, blanket, or coat. These little bats are so tiny, so it’s very easy for them to be injured by even a small fall. Always call our Rescue line if you are ever unsure about the bat’s safety.
Echidnas are one of the most fascinating species you’ll ever come across. They are extremely strong, are good climbers, and can often find themselves in situations where they need to be rescued. Wildcare Queanbeyan usually receive them into care as a result of being hit by a car, or from dog attacks.
Should you come across an echidna crossing the road, just slow down, avoid it, and let it carry on its way. If you happen to find one that is injured on the road side, its likely been hit by a car and will need to come into care to be assessed at least. As with all our species, it’s very important that you record the exact location of where the echidna was found. A Google Maps pin is ideal in this situation, of which you can then pass on to the rescuer.
If you discover your dog ‘playing’ with an echidna, this is usually a sign that the echidna will be injured. It’s not always easy to spot injuries on an echidna due to them being covered in spines and dirt, so you need to separate it from your dog immediately and call our Rescue line. Keep your distance from it as much as possible, as the closer you are, the harder it will dig in. This then creates a more challenging rescue scenario for our volunteers, as well as stressing the echidna unnecessarily.
Wildcare have had an ever-increasing number of calls recently about echidnas being ‘in the wrong spot’ in suburban areas, gardens and yards. Echidnas have adapted well to the resource rich habitat we humans have created, so this means they are now living and breeding in these locations & are being noticed more by us. If you are confident the echidna is not injured, not in danger, or been near a dog, then its best to leave the echidna alone to go about its business – it will move on when its ready. If you are ever unsure as to its status, don’t hesitate to phone our Rescue Line for advice.