Joeys are known to survive in the pouch for several days following the death of their mother. If you find a joey attached to a teat, it’s important to leave it on there and, where possible, take the mother and baby intact to your nearest vet. If you are unable to do that, call our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline, 1300 ANIMAL for assistance.
To assist other people who want to help with possible pouch young, once you have checked the pouch – whether there was a young there or not – you should mark the animal so others know the pouch has been checked. The convention is to spray paint a large cross on the body of the mother, but if you don’t have any spray paint, then place two large sticks in a cross over the body. If necessary, it is best to move the body onto the side of the road or verge.
Removing a joey from the mother’s teat can cause irreparable damage to the joey’s mouth. For its best chance at survival, this will need to be carefully done by a qualified wildlife carer or vet. Back-riding juvenile possums and koalas will often stay with the mother’s body and can be attacked or die from starvation, so survey the area for any young.
Tip: Do not attempt to catch injured adult kangaroos, wallabies, koalas or bats. They will need to be sedated before they can be handled. Call 1300 ANIMAL for assistance.