Do not handle wildlife unless advised to do so

Always treat wildlife with caution, especially when distressed or injured, as they may react unpredictably and can be dangerous. Wherever possible, wait for an experienced/qualified person to arrive. Wildlife can bite, scratch, kick and carry diseases

Sick, injured or orphaned wildlife

If you find sick, injured or orphaned wildlife, timely help may be critical. Do not approach the animal, but immediately call for assistance.

Whale and Dolphin Emergency Hotline1300 136 017
Seals or marine turtles - AGL Marine Response Unit1300 245 678
All other species - Customer Service Centre (CSC), available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm136 186

Do not handle these wildlife

The following species are dangerous and should only be handled by experienced/qualified persons. Contact the our Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or call a wildlife rehabilitation organisation for advice.

  • Snakes: Most snakes in Victoria are venomous and should only be handled by professional snake handlers. The DELWP Customer Service Centre can provide a list of professional snake handlers.
  • Birds of prey, large kangaroos and goannas (monitors): These species can be dangerous and should only be handled by wildlife rehabilitators.
  • Flying foxes (bats): Can carry diseases, such as the Australian Bat Lyssavirus, which can be transmitted to people. These animals should only be handled by appropriately vaccinated wildlife rehabilitators. Avoid handling injured or entangled flying foxes. If bitten or scratched, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water and contact a doctor.

Other wildlife

If you find any other species that are sick, injured or orphaned , please call our Customer Service Centre (CSC), available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm on 136 186. The CSC can provide the details of a local wildlife rehabilitator or a staff member who can provide advice or help.

Alternatively contact one of the following wildlife rehabilitation organisations:

Australian Animal Rescue0430 883 083
Australian Wildlife Assistance Rescue and Education (AWARE)
(Frankston and surrounding suburbs in Casey area)
0412 433 727
Emergency Wildlife and Rescue – BADGAR1300 223 427 or 1300BADGAR
East Gippsland Wildlife Shelter Group(03) 5143 0885
(03) 5154 8581 
(03) 5159 4460
Fly By Night Bat Clinic
(for sick, injured or orphaned flying foxes and microbats)
0409 530 541
Help for Wildlife Ltd0477 555 611
South Oakleigh Wildlife Shelter (SOWS)
(south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne )
0411 600 591
Surfcoast Wildlife Shelters Group0490 035 006
Wildlife Help on the Mornington Peninsula (WHOMP)0477 555 611
Wildlife Victoria

1300 094 535

0417 380 687

Wildlife Rescue and Protection (WRAP)0458 972 727
Wildlife Rescue and Information Network (WRIN)0419 356 433
Wildlife Rescue Emergency Service (WRES)0427 301 401

What do I do if I find heat stressed wildlife?

Wildlife exposed to prolonged heat often display a range of symptoms and can appear lethargic, disoriented or unresponsive, so it's important to take care when helping them.

Tree-dwelling and nocturnal wildlife such as possums and koalas may be seen on the ground in search of water if suffering from heat stress, while birds will often pant and stretch their wings to cool down.

You can help heat stressed wildlife by placing bowls of water around shady areas to keep wildlife hydrated and using a garden hose to spray mist into trees and shrubs.

Small animals which appear lethargic or sick can be placed gently on a damp towel in a well-ventilated, cool container and provided with a small bowl of water for hydration. It's important to use protective gloves when picking up the animals.

Larger animals such as kangaroos, koalas and wombats, or animals like flying foxes which may carry disease should not be handled by anyone other than trained wildlife carers.

Contact a wildlife rehabilitation organisation, vet or Wildlife Shelter or Foster Carer immediately for further assistance.

See our fact sheet on what you can do to help wildlife suffering from heat-stress.

Fact sheet - wildlife and heat stress (PDF, 183.6 KB)
Fact sheet - wildlife and heat stress (DOCX, 1.7 MB)

Can I look after sick injured or orphaned wildlife?

Wildlife may only be cared for by authorised Wildlife Shelters or Foster Carers.

Wildlife require specialist care, treatment and rehabilitation to recover sufficiently to be returned to the wild. Without this specialist care, wildlife may not recover or may lose their natural behaviours.

It is illegal in Victoria to keep sick, injured or orphaned wildlife as a pet. Taking wildlife from the wild without authorisation is an offence which carries a fine of up to $7,773 and/or 6 months imprisonment.

What about other animals?

Cats and dogs: Please call your local council for assistance.

Livestock (e.g. sheep, goats, cattle): Please call your local council for assistance (or police if out of hours).