While travelling along country roads or in the outback in Australia, either early in the morning or around sunset (or at night) the likelihood of hitting a Kangaroo is quite high. These poor silly animals are usually dazzled by headlights or startled by engine noise and often leap in front of cars instead of hopping away. So what to do if you hit a Kangaroo?
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Here is a guide on what to do if you hit a Kangaroo (or any animal for that matter)
1. Pull over where safe.
2. Approach the animal but be careful when approaching Kangaroos or Emus, they have very strong legs and could easily hurt you if they are distressed or injured (which they would likely be, if you just hit them).
3. Check if the animal is dead
4. If it is a kangaroo, possum or wombat and it’s dead, check its pouch as they may be carrying their young. Even if an animal has been dead for several hour, there may still have live young in its pouch. If the young is still attached to its mothers teat, it is best to cut the teat and leave the young attached.
Make sure to keep the baby warm and in a quiet area, ensure you do not hand the baby and do not feed the baby any fluids or food. Contact or take the baby to a rescue centre or to the closest ranger. If you are not comfortable removing the young you can take the injured or dead animal to the closest ranger. (this is not advisable if the animal is still alive as it may cause you severe injury.) It would be best to contact a ranger to let them know that there is an injured or dead animal with live young.
5. If you are unable to contact a ranger and you are able to pull the animal to the side of the road, do so and head to the closes ranger station or visitor information station (you can google contact a ranger in your location).
On a side note if you see an animal (mainly kangaroo) trapped in a fence, it is best to contact a ranger or rescue centre asap rather than trying to free it. As (1) you can get severely injured and (2) the animal will need to be treated with either bandages and antibiotics or it may have broken or fractured bones.
How can you avoid hitting an Kangaroo
1. Reduce your speed while travelling during dusk to dawn. This will minimise the risk of hitting animals and damaging your car.
2. Ask your passengers (if you have them) to keep an eye out for an animals close to the side of the road.
3. If you do notice an animal at the side of the road, reduce your speed (again), change your lights to low beam as high beam stuns the animal and they freeze.
4. Give the horn a “toot toot“, this can sometimes scare the animal off (ensuring that it doesn’t jump into oncoming traffic)
5. Be aware that most animals travel in groups so if you see one, there is likely to be a few more close by.
6. If you see a “Yellow Kangaroo sign” it means that there are colonies of Kangaroos in this area. Make sure to take notice to these signs and with that said, just because there isn’t a sign, doesn’t mean there aren’t Kangaroos around in outback or country areas.