STAY ALERT: Gatton UQ Vet's Dr Bob Doneley says being conscious of wildlife while driving can be the difference between life and death.
STAY ALERT: Gatton UQ Vet's Dr Bob Doneley says being conscious of wildlife while driving can be the difference between life and death. Francis Witsenhuysen

Watch for winter wildlife

RACQ warns drivers to be on high alert for wildlife as data reveals winter is the highest-risk time for collisions.

RACQ spokesperson Kirsty Clinton said more than one-third of animal collisions occurred during the cooler months.

"Our insurance data shows over the past three years June, July and August had significantly more claims for crashes involving animals than any other period,” Ms Clinton said.

She also urged motorists to drive to the conditions toreduce the risk of collisions.

"If you're driving in an area where animals could be present, slow down and take note of any signage about local wildlife,” she said.

Head of UQ Gatton Avian and Exotic Pet Service Dr Bob Doneley said during the winter months the Vet and Small Animal Hospital would usually treat smaller marsupials, echidnas and birds.

"Most adult kangaroos and wallabies are killed on impact if hit by a car,” he said.

"Although we do occasionally get adults with broken legs come in.”

Dr Doneley explained there were higher collisions in a dry winter because there was less food available.

"Winter has shorter days, so there's less food and less rain around - so there's less grass on the paddocks and more on the side of the road,” he said.

"So skippys move on to the road to feed - and they feed at night.”

According to Dr Doneley, animals such as kangaroos and wallabies can be easily missed because they have evolved to blend into their surroundings.

"Remaining alert while driving in the winter months is life or death sometimes,” he said.

In the unfortunate instance of hitting wildlife while driving, Dr Doneley advised to keep personal safety a priority.

"Don't swerve and don't stop in the middle of the road,” he said.

"Make sure it's safe to the get out of the car - if it is safe, check the animal, move it off the road and check its pouch for a joey.”

If the adults is alive, Dr Doneley said to put it in the car and take it to a local vet or phone a wildlife carer.

"Stay with the animal, to make it easier for them to find,” he said.

"If the adult is dead but the joey is alive, take it to the nearest vet, who will check it over and treat it if needed, then pass to a carer.”

If you come across an injured animal phone RSPCA Queensland or the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on 1300130372.


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