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How to help native animals in hot weather

There’s lots you can do to help native wildlife when the weather heats up. Here are the basics.

If you're concerned about native wildlife and how they cope as the weather heats up, why not lend a helping hand?

The best thing you can do is put large, shallow bowls of water in a shady spot in your garden. Water bowls on the ground will benefit animals such as koalas, possums and lizards while raised or hanging bowls will give birds a safe place to drink and bathe away from predators. Refill the bowls regularly and keep them clean as some bird diseases can be spread through dirty water or bowls.

It’s important to remember that many native animals change their behaviour in hot weather, including these:


Koalas spend more time on the ground to keep cool in the summer. They also come down to look for water as the gum leaves they eat dry out in the hot weather.

Unless a koala is clearly sick or injured, or doesn’t go back to the trees at night, put some water out in a shallow dish, keep your pets away and let it be.

Although we have the best intentions when checking on wild animals, it can cause them more stress.


Snakes will avoid the heat of the day and may be active after the sun has set, so keep an eye out on your evening walk.

If a human or animal is bitten by a snake, seek medical attention immediately.

Read our snake blog for more information about avoiding snakes, and what to do if you encounter one.

Flying foxes

Grey-headed flying foxes, or fruit bats, are becoming more common in South Australia but they don’t cope well with extreme heat.

Adults and pups can suffer from heat stress and fall from their perches onto the ground.

It’s very important to never pick up any type of bat, even if it’s dead. A small percentage of bats carry Lyssa virus, a rabies-like disease that can be passed on to humans through scratches or bites.

If you see a bat on the ground, call Fauna Rescue or Adelaide Bat Care and they will send someone out who has been vaccinated and trained to safely handle bats.

For more information visit living with wildlife, or check out our blog on rescuing injured or stranded wildlife.

This story was originally posted in December 2015.


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