Do you know how to do a pouch check?

If you come across a deceased marsupial such as a kangaroo,  wallaby or koala, there may be a joey alive in the pouch. If it is a  possum, glider  or bandicoot, there may be more than one.

Pouch young can survive for several days after mum has passed away, checking the pouch can save a life or in some cases more than one.

This little Swamp wallaby was saved when DD and Deb stopped to check the pouch of a dead wallaby found lying on the road near Byron Bay.  

How you can help:

1) If the animal is on the road, if safe to do so, pull over to the side of the road and leave your hazard lights on. Approach the animal and confirm it is passed away. If the animal is still alive, please immediately call for help on 1300 094 737. If you are certain the animal is deceased, it should be moved off the road before any further steps are taken.

2) Gently lift one of the hind legs and take a look at the belly area to check if the animal is male or female. Males are easily identified, if it is not obvious that it is a male, check for a pouch.

The pouch is located  where you would expect to find a belly button.  Bandicoots have a backward opening pouch, the opening of the bandicoots pouch is between its legs and less obvious than other marsupials.

 3) If it is a female, carefully open the pouch and check for a joey. If no joey is present but one of the teats looks enlarged, there may be a joey nearby – please make sure to have a good look around for any young who may be hiding or were thrown out of the pouch from the impact caused by a motor vehicle collision.

If you do find a joey, wrap them in a towel or soft natural fabric to keep them warm, and call WIRES 1300 094 737 for advice.

4) If the joey is still attached to the teat (i.e the teat is still in the mouth of the joey), please do not try to pull the joey off. Call WIRES 1300 094 737 so a trained wildlife rescuer can attend or give advice on how to safely remove the joey.

5) If you do find a joey, please do not try to feed them – they require special formula. Keep them warm, dark, quiet and call WIRES 1300 094 737 for assistance. Please do not cuddle or place next to your skin, wrap in soft natural fabric (e.g. cotton pillowslip) to keep warm and handle as little as possible.

7) Having a basic rescue kit in your car is a great help.

A basic rescue kit should include: gloves, cotton pillowslip, towel, torch, and a small cardboard box folded ready for easy assembly.

This little Swamp wallaby has been in care for just over a month, she is being cared for by WIRES volunteer Jess,  and will be released back to the wild in June 2022.

Thank you DD and Deb for saving her life.

Picture by Susanne Ulyatt