“Sammy Boy” I Love You So

Sat 24th April 2021 – Larry decided to go to Merriwa Races with some friends. As they approached the entry a car a couple in front hit a grey kangaroo on the road.She was a young mother with a joey in pouch . Larry immediately went to the scene but the poor mother had died with the impact but little pinkie in pouch alive. He removed the baby and wrapped him to keep him warm , hopefully maintaining mum’s body temp, then drove back home 30ks with joey which he gave to me and told me he had already named him Sam.

Sam was aprox. 500 grams which made him about 4 mths old. A newborn joey is about the size of a peanut .

Little Alien

He was so fragile , ears almost flat and eyes still closed , a tiny little creature. So started my love a fair with Sammy!! I was terrified of either having his body temp to hot or to cold . I used a hot water bottle and monitored temp with a digital thermometer. The temp never stays even for long so it’s a continuous process of  moving heat and padding around. I had been reading about getting a pet incubator as heard they are very good. I decided that as they needed to be on continuously wouldn’t be good here as we are off grid and use only solar. In hindsight I have asked myself many times why I didn’t just have him attached to me all the time in a small bag close to my body for body heat and so he could hear my heartbeat. I did that  with the first grey joey I raised ‘Bozzo”. I have realised  that I listen a lot to other people and I quite often doubt myself imagining that others are always going to know better . People say that you shouldn’t handle a joey all the time and I do agree but having joey in a bag attached to one’s self so they are getting your natural body heat is quite different. I wish I had done that with Sam as it was 100% effective with Bozzo. Naturally you have to have a warm place on the ready where you put baby when necessary.

applying pawpaw over Sam’s pink skin fuless skin – you can see how small he is !

 After a few days Sam began to feed quite well .By the 10th May he was sucking his teat independently for his milk and I was able to stop syringe feeding.He had put on weight and was now aprox. 670grams .I transitioned him to a slightly stronger milk formula. This happens naturally in mum’s pouch. The inside of the pouch is warm, nearly fur-less, and has four nipples that supply milk with different nutrient levels. The pouch is lined with sweat glands that release antimicrobial fluid to protect the joey from germs, viruses and parasites. How amazing they are! Because joeys are naturally kept at a high humidity in the pouch I used pawpaw ointment to rub over Sammy’s pink furless skin to keep it from drying out. I noticed Sam’s heels had small patches where the leathery skin wasn’t covering.

Sam’s poor raw heels

This worried me a bit so I called Lynda who said to stop using flannel inner bags, as they draw the moisture, and change to single knit jersey.She said she didn’t think it would be a lingering problem and to spread  the pawpaw onto his heels  frequently. She said Sam was probably a restless little fellow and turned himself a lot in his bag , rubbing his delicate little heels. Lynda was correct and eventually he grew the leathery covering he needed. Sam continued to grow and by the time he was 1500 grams I thought I would see if I could get another little joey so he didn’t have to grow up alone.

Sam having a big stretch

Sam May 11th. He will soon have a friend.

I  made a call to the macropod Wildlife Aid macropod co to ask if someone might have a little joey in care about Sam weight they would let me have. Michelle very kindly allowed me to have Nikki.Michelle had 3 little ones in care at that time .

After the Drought and Fire

Larry and I both felt exhausted after things got back to some normality .Driving miles to find some grass, constantly feeding support food and cleaning up became a thing of the past. After Wally , Che and Raul had all left to live their wild existence we really felt like we needed a break.

Rainbow bee-eaters

We only took on a  Magpie Oct 2020 who was in a bad way .he stayed with us for 6 weeks and made a full recovery and flew off which was good.

By April 2021 we decided it was time to start taking in some wildlife that needed care once again. We were no longer members of WIRES as being in the wrong demographic we couldn’t access any support from them and the cost of the animals we had been caring for over the years and then during the drought had taken a financial toll on us.

Kermit

The Wildlife group in this area is Wildlife Aid. We had made inquiries a couple of years earlier about the possibility of joining this group and we went to Muswellbrook to meet the couple that were running things. We didn’t find their practises   agreeable to things we believed so decided not to apply for membership. When the drought was on I had run a fun raiser on Facebook and I received a message from Meg who was one of the committee members of Wildlife Aid .It was encouraging us to join them. Being part of a group has many benefits for the animals  and us if part of a good network. We decided to take another look so put some application forms in. We found that there had been a restructure and the people that had put us off were no longer involved in the group .Our applications were accepted and we are now part of a lovely group of people all trying to do their best to help wildlife.

mama and baby
red-necked wallabies

Monty – resident python

 

Drought & Fire – Macropods and Wombats take over our front yard – all most welcome !!

2019 – 2020

We had been doing a rain dance for weeks  but obviously couldn’t get it right as rain didn’t come . Along with putting out support food for many macropods we always  watered  our house paddock  to supply as much grass as we possible. Fidel has always been privy to this and this splendid creature  passed on the word through the wombat community!

Some of you have read the Fidel story but if you haven’t and would like to just type  Fidel the Splendid Wombat into your browser and have a read .

Unfortunately due to drought we were unable to continue watering , no water  no grass. Larry and I would travel long distances a couple of times a week to collect grass for all the animals which they really appreciated and ate with great gusto.

The drought though out the Upper Hunter seemed to show no signs of breaking. The animals around here and further afield were coming every day and night looking for food which Larry & I supplied .We had been told some time in the past that wombats wouldn’t gather in the same area as they were so territorial but it was obvious to us that in this time of strife they knew what was going on .There was no fighting , an occasional Mexican standoff with a bit of noise !

Don’t leave any!

During this time people were donating to help farmers through the drought. We couldn’t get funding from anywhere to help with support food for the wildlife . It was getting expensive so I did run a fund raiser through Facebook and raised almost $2000 from some very kind generous people which really helped. Larry’s  nephew , his wife and children also donated food which thy bought here and bought bags of grass that they picked on their way from the Central Coast. The school the children attended ran a fund raiser to help the farmers and these children asked if they could donate to the wildlife feeding instead .

Donating food for wildlife – Amelia holding baby Che , Mikayla and Flynn

They were rewarded by seeing healthy wild wombats up close and personal and being able to  touch and interact with them. Not many people get to do that .

kids with mum Kelli – Flynn nursing baby Che

animals feeding and a wild wombat says thankyou

The drought went on for months , it was a horrible time but at least we were here to help these animals which would have died from starvation .  The wombats were amazing and due to having ample water and food they all seemed to remain healthy and we didn’t see any mange. Many of them let us touch them and were very relaxed with us. They clearly knew we were helping them and we were allies.

healthy wombats munching

night drink

My little wallaroo Pretty Britty who had been released a couple of years before returned home for support. She left again as soon as the drought broke .When she arrived she had a baby at the heel but the baby disappeared. We did a search but found no sign of it. Hopefully she has had another by now as  conditions are better. We had a very old wallaroo come and stay for months .We called him Grand Dad.

Pretty Britty comes home

Grand Dad

 

We got to know a lot of the animals well during this time.

 

 

The drought seemed endless and just when we thought things could only get better fire broke out all around the country. We were only 5ks form the “Meads Creek Fire” .It was very scary .The fire started in the Goulburn River National Park and burned out more than 14,200 hectares of land. Numerous rural properties in the area came under threat and we were constantly on watch and act advise. After 28 days the tireless marvellous efforts of  members of the NSW RFS alongside NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service firefighters, earth-moving machinery and water-bombing aircraft the fire was contained. It was a great relief for everyone.

Grand Dad looks dead but just very relaxed sleeping!

Duke , little grey in care with wombats resting after feeding

 

tired baby

beautiful mum and baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drought – early morning feeding

Finally early in 2020 we got some rain. The ground was covered in weeds and not much grass was visible. Larry slashed continuously for months and eventually the grass came through and  started to compete with the weeds bringing some food relief for the animals . We were financially drained from supplying support food and tired from driving many ks to find and pick grass to pick and bring back. By mid 2020 we had water in the river again and more grass growing .It was a great relief. It was a great reward to know that we had helped all the wildlife around here to survive and to see them return to normal behaviour once again and babies appearing!

Wally who would have left home much earlier if conditions had been O.K. stayed on as he knew leaving during the drought was pointless.

Wally wont leave home

Once conditions improved he bounded off without a backward glance or a thankyou!

hungry little wombat

 

 

 

 

2am one morning

 

 

 

 

small group eating

Jan 2020 fires out , we had some rain .Looks green but 99% weeds. Took months but eventually after months of Larry slashing the grass came through again. Me with the kids, Wally, Duke Che and tiny Raul.

 

 

Che comes to Wombat Creek and is joined a few weeks later by Raul

Events starting  Sept 2018

Merriwa vet called , they had a little wombat needing care, picked up by a council worker.  He was alone, no adult in sight and being attacked by crows .The kind man took him to the local vet. He had a small tip of ear missing and superficial wounds around the eyes. He was a lucky little wombat indeed! His wounds were cleaned and antibiotic ointment applied for a few days , all was well. He weighed 1200 grams making his age between  5-6months.

He was a very relaxed little guy who didn’t seem to be traumatised by his ordeal. He started drinking well almost immediately. By the end of Sept he was 1975grams .He was having 3 milk feeds a day and already eating lots of  grass with roots attached which I would put into his bag or his enclosure , a very large dog carry cage in our bedroom, or he would be sleeping in our bed. He would suddenly wake up and charge around under the blankets till he needed sleep.

Baby Che on the bed

Baby Che on the bed

Baby Che sleeping with Larry

Baby Che sleeping with Larry

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first wombat “Fidel” had been on his own and I spent hours with him but I still hated leaving him in his pen outside once he emerged as baby wombats are always with mum. I didn’t have any choice as I couldn’t get a mate for him.  At night  I would put Che into his large cage , hanging on the side in his bag.  He was a terror, he would wake up about 3am and hurl himself at the door relentlessly until I had to get him up and feed him. I could get another couple of hours sleep as he would snuggle up  and sleep with me after his belly was full.

Che contented, full belly

Che contented, full belly

Che the Pillow Hog2nov 2018 (1)

Che , taking over my pillow!

I decided it would be great to get Che a mate he could play with .Baby wombats love to play rough and tumble with another wombat. I had hoped that maybe I would get a phone call saying a baby needed care but that didn’t happen so I called Penny in Dubbo. She was collecting some young wombats the following week from a carer who was overloaded. I told her Che’s weight and she said there was one that would be a match. We arranged to meet at Mudgee, about 3 hrs drive away, to do the hand over. Ideally wombats should be no more than a kilo weight difference when being buddied as they are rough players. If one is much heavier the smaller one will be intimidated. Once a joey gets to about 3.3. kilo  it is at emerging stage and having a buddy is very beneficial. After a day or 2 of adjusting to each other they  will play,play,play and  cuddle up together preferring to be with each other than just human mum . Together and with human mum is good! By the time we went to meet Penny Che was very robust and he weighed about 2150grams. It turned out that Raul was only 1040grams not the weight I had been told. Penny had 3 other wombats that she had picked up from another WIRES branch and 1 was the same size as Che but I was only offered the very little one .  It still could have worked out O.K. if Raul and Che had continued to grow at the same rate. However  it became apparent  after 24hrs that Raul was a very sick little wombat.

Poor sick little Raul. See his extended little tummy , a sign of what was happening internally.

Poor sick little Raul. See his extended little tummy , a sign of what was happening internally.

Poor Raul was in a terrible state. There was no back round info about him. I think he had probably been in dead mum’s for a long time but I’m only guessing. He had  some flat hair through on his face and head but a virtually hairless body. His gut was very extended, a sign of illness. It is usual for joeys newly arrived from the wild to have undeveloped gut flora but as the artificial milk  proceeds through the animals system and they get a bit older the gut flora will establish. This did not happen to plan with Raul. he could keep nothing in , continual diarrhoea   and weight loss, he also had thrush. I conferred with Ted and Jenny and tried different things .Larry and I  even took him to wildlife vet consultant at Dubbo Zoo as Ted being retired doesn’t have access to the facilities he once had. They didn’t have any answers there other than to tell me he was very underweight and to keep him warm.  Once the vet there knew we were consulting with Ted who he described as “A legend ” in zoo circles said if Ted couldn’t get him through nothing would. By the 10th Nov he was so underweight and had gone from the 1044 grams on intake down to 990 grams. His temples had sunken in and he looked close to death. I was not doing very well myself , due to lack of sleep ,trying to keep the little guy hydrated and caring for Che as well. Trying to determine what the case might be was very difficult. Ongoing diarrhoea  is a condition that will end in death. Its a dynamic situation and different treatments can create a revolving circle. Giving one treatment can cause another one which needs treatment. I asked Jenny if she would take and care for Raul so Ted was on hand to administer anything needed. They agreed but Jenny was worried that he might die but he was dying with me so his changes had to be better there.  He went to them on 10th Nov. Initially Jenny kept him much warmer than the manuals recommend and she also tried a different milk formula which was not as strong and he seemed to be better able to get some nourishment from that. She and Ted  got him a bit more stable and back up to 1120grams , a bit heavier than when he came in. He came back home on the 20th Nov. Che in  the mean time had continued to grow at a rapid rate . He weighed almost 3kilo , over twice the weight of poor Raul. Raul was still battling but his diarrhoea was not as severe and his thrush had almost cleared up. He needed lots of  special care and very small feeds ranging over 24hrs .

I believe Raul was on his dead mothers teat for along time and his system had actually started to close down when he was “rescued”. He was in care with an over worked carer for a while before Penny collected him and then a long drive before I got him   and a long drive home to then assess him. I can’t believe the little guy made it. I wouldn’t have been able to get him through without the wonderful help I was given.

Me with Che & Raul

Me with Che & Raul

Raul stared to thrive and by mid Dec I had him back on his correct formula and 3 milk feeds a day which he was loving. His weight was now 1905 grams, almost 2 kilo! . Che was now 4500 grams. There was no chance of leaving these two together without any supervision. Che was very rough .He wanted to play with Raul but he was far to strong.

Finally - beautiful velvet Raul exploring the bed Jan 2019

Finally – beautiful velvet Raul exploring the bed Jan 2019

 

These two made double the work I was hoping to cut in half but they were both wonderful and worth all of it. Wally was still here and he was interested in Raul.

Wally checking out Raul March 2019

Wally checking out Raul March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

The drought had started. The food was sparse  and quite a  lot of animals began coming to the house paddock for support food .

In Nov I moved Che outside to the nursing pen. He loved it there and had his own burrow .

I love my burrow

I love my burrow

Made it up the steep slope.

Made it up the steep slope.

 

 

 

 

 

After his early morning feed I would bring him to the house to see Raul who was still inside . I would sit outside with them on a blanket on the grass which they both seemed to like but had to watch Che as he would try and play and get to rough. It took a lot of energy to play his long games of run and chase. Che was moved into the larger pen about this time and Raul went out into the nursing pen once  he was ready for the outdoors.  Fortunately my niece Annaliese came for visit from New York in Dec  and she was wonderful with Che, playing the run and chase game in the large pen everyday till they were both ready for rest.

Che and Annaliese .Che displaying "his love heart" appropriately  named by Annaliese!

Che and Annaliese .Che displaying “his love heart” appropriately named by Annaliese!

I would take Raul from the nursing pen  into the Che’s pen after they had both had their morning milk and we would all spend a couple of hours together. I had a carry bag to carry baby wombats in which I would use to carry Raul in .It had previously been used by Che who was now to big for it but he would still get into it.

Hey- that's my bag!

Hey- that’s my bag!

I would let Che and Raul spend time together but they needed to be supervised as Raul was to small to hold his own against Che’s rough playing and would get frightened. Eventually Raul needed a bigger space so another move was made. Che went into the big wombats pen further away from the house and Raul moved to intermediate! Sometimes I would walk Che over here and sometimes take Raul over there. They didn’t mind seeing each other but did like their own space ultimately. They were very different , Che loved walking up in the hills as high as we could go. I would take him climbing  for a couple of hours, he was in his element. Wombats are usually released at about 18mths old .In the wild mum would drive them off about then. Wombats raised by carers should be about 20 kilo release weight. Che had reached about 15.5 kilo by June 2019 and he was a terror. he would attack my legs , biting and wanting out and was so naughty when we went walking not wanting to return. It was hard to control him and he would take advantage when we were up very high slopes .I think he knew he had an advantage over me!

Beautiful Che before rump attack May 2019

Beautiful Che before rump attack May 2019

When Che was only 15.2 kilo , to light for release, he would be unable to hold his ground against an adult wombat, he took off one day and I couldn’t find him. I left the pen open and 3 days later he returned in a sorry  state. He clearly had an encounter with a much larger wombat, maybe gone down someone’s burrow who was not impressed , had managed to get away but not before getting attacked on the rear. Massive area of fur gone and deep scratches, ouch. I put him on a course of antibiotics to make sure he got no infection. He  stayed close , but not for long!! Both Che and Raul loved almonds and they would get some every day.

Raul loved his walks down along the banks of the river following wombat tracks. Larry would take him exploring in some caves which he really enjoyed. He was a gentle soul not a ruffian like Che. We had a lot of wombats coming to the yard for support  food as the drought was in full force by then and Raul  showed that he was not intimidated and would stand his ground. It was very interesting to see this poor sick little wombat turn into a fabulous juvenile.

Che took quite a while to recover from his ordeal and get rump fur again but it didn’t change his mischievous behaviour, cheeky as ever.

Che with his beloved bear

Che with his beloved bear

rump attack

rump attack June 2019

killed bear with rough play

killed bear with rough play

By Nov 2019 Che had stacked on quite a bit more weight  so Larry put a dog flap door in the back of his pen so he could go and return .The drought was also in full force by then so coming back to the pen for support food and water was really needed.he continued to use his burrow in there.We kept a night camera in there so could monitor his comings and goings and kept an eye on him to make sure he was managing O.K.He was about 19 kilo but apparently the ideal release weight is about 22 kilo.I personally think given that each wombat is different and that Che hated being locked up I made the decision to let him go earlier with the dog flap in place so he had somewhere to return to for safety. I continued to monitor Che with the night camera until Oct 2020.His visits back to the pen were infrequent by then .He had done very well and looked great.

Nov 2019 - Che recovered ,looking good and using his dog flap to come and go.

Nov 2019 – Che recovered ,looking good and using his dog flap to come and go.

Meanwhile Raul had been doing really well. By the end of June 2019 he was over 12kilo.He had a very different personality to Che. With Larry and me he was very gentle but would stand his ground against other wombats that were coming to house yard for support food. The drought was full on and we support feeding many animals . Raul had learnt to hold his own, I believe because of the times he had spent with rough neck Che. t was so good to see this given what a poor sick little guy he had been , such a rough start to his life and now he was a beautiful juvenile  wombat.

Raul and Che March 2019

Raul and Che March 2019

Che and Raul Sep 2019

Che and Raul Sep 2019

 

 

 

May 2021 -Raul full of milk resting with his bear ,blanket and pillow!

May 2021 -Raul full of milk resting with his bear ,blanket and pillow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of Jan 2020 Raul was heavy enough to be released. Larry put a dog flap into the back of his pen and he would go in and out as he pleased. The drought was in force by then so he was getting support food every eve. We monitored Raul with the night ops camera util about Sep 2020 and he was doing well and looking great .

 

Raul using dog flap door to come and go

Raul using dog flap door to come and go

 

Raul on the trail walk

Raul on the trail walk

Getting a pat from Larry. Dusty head!

Getting a pat from Larry. Dusty head!

Tawny comes into care ,gets fat , diet!

Event of May 2017

I got a call from the local vet asking if we would take a Tawny which had been picked up not far from Merriwa. An injury was evident to the top of the right wing. It could have been the result of a collision. The wing had no broken bones .

Apparently some people can tell if the bird is male or female by the colour and weight. I personally can’t  so I don’t worry about it. The weight was 440grams on intake , an adult bird , good weight.

We put him into a small shade clothed cage to keep him quiet and still. Oral antibiotics were used for 5 days and the wound kept clean. Moved him into an outdoor after a week but didn’t think he was coping that well so bought him back inside .He didn’t try to fly but Tawnies are often happy to sit on a perch and open their great beaks to have food dropped in whenever offered. This guy had no problem eating from the word go. I refer to Tawny as “he”  because sitting and getting waited on came so naturally ………  sorry to any men who might take offense but he really reminded me of an ex husband or two!! After another week or so we moved him back outside .He seemed fine and the injury healing well but he didn’t seem to be making any attempt at flight. We thought we better weigh him to make sure he was maintaining his weight O.K.

WILL YOU FEED ME?

WILL YOU FEED ME?

What a shock we got 790grams .No wonder he wasn’t bothering to try and fly ! Larry and I thought maybe between the two of us going to the aviary to check on him , have a chat , give him a strip of heart we had been doubling up. We had to take action and cut his food down with 2 small feeds morn & eve.

It had taken quite a long time for his wing to heal . Tawny Frogmouths mate for life and stay in a territory for years .Even if the partner is killed  the mate will stay in that territory for a long time before taking up with another mate or moving. Hopefully the mate of this one was still around. We released him in August and he was flying well, off he went hopefully the story has a good ending.

 

Wally Wallaroo the Cheeky One and Poor Little Willy Wallaroo

Wally came into care with me March 2018

Wally was a character, he took over about a month after he arrived. He won me over and could do no wrong! Wally was found wandering alone on a property in Merriwa. He was kept there in care for 2 weeks by the lovely woman who found him. She thought she might be able to keep and raise him but hadn’t realised how much time, effort and specialised care was required to get the animal fit and able to be released so she decided she needed to hand him on. I got the phone call and was happy to take him on. He weighed 1400grams on intake so that made him approx. 6mths old.

Little Wally on his spindley legs!

Little Wally on his spindly legs!

Wally had thrush when I got him so he got his thrush treatment .It wasn’t a big problem and cleared up quickly. By mid March Wally was settled and growing, he now weighed approx. 1485 grams .By the end of April Wally was approx. 2365grams.

Poor Little Willy  

Early April I decided it would be great to try and get Wally a friend to grow up with. I once again called Penny in Dubbo to see if she had any young Wallaroos in care. She had one who had come into care that weighed 980grm but in accordance with his tail and foot measurement would be about 6mths, he was quite underweight .Larry ,Wally and I  went to Dubbo and collected him. He was a dear little boy, very quiet and seemed quite listless. I thought once I got him home and into a routine he would start to thrive,  but It wasn’t to be. Willy would drink but couldn’t keep anything in as he had continual diarrhoea. There are a number of procedures that I worked through hoping to find a solution but nothing I tried worked. I called Ted and explained what was happening. Ted had a couple of  ideas of what could be going on internally so he prescribed medication for treatment and I would have a glimmer of hope every now when I would think he was seeming a bit brighter. I would put him along side Wally but Wally didn’t seem to be interested in him at all. I persevered for a couple of weeks , trying everything Ted was able to suggest but poor  Willy was very ill. I noticed blood in his urine and  no weight gain . On the 27th April I had him in bed warm and he died during the night. Ted did an autopsy and found that he had such severe enteritis and at such a young age  he was unable to put up any resistance even with the medication. We also found that he had cataracts in both eyes so the poor little thing was blind .Wally instinctively knew all was not right with Willy which is why he had no interest. We don’t know what happened to Willy’s mother or poor little Willy.

Larry with Wally and Willy

Larry with Wally and Willy

Willie and Wally

Willy and Wally

Wally and Willy

Wally and Willy

 

 

 

Love my Wally

Love my Wally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wally was very independent and used to worry me when he was youngster. We would go off for walks and he would decide to take off and not show himself for up to an hour sometimes. Wallaroos are very agile at leaping around on rocks and he would leap around in the lounge which is split level, up onto the banisters then jump into the kitchen back up the stairs on to back of lounge chairs , oh what a game. Grey kangaroos do not behave this way indoors and would be bound to break a leg if they tried! Wallaroos also give the odd nip if they feel so inclined usually because they have a different idea of what they want to do rather than what you might want! I have been told that some carers won’t take a wallaroo but I love them , they are great characters with super personalities.   I had raised  “Pretty Britty” before Wally , a female Wallaroo, also very  independent but far more refined than Wally. Wally would leap up from the floor and land on me ,settle down for a sleep , see above….what an angel! We have a steep hill to the right of the house which has various wombat tracks on it which wind up and down over rough terrain and rocks. We used to walk along them and one of Wally’s favourite games was to tear along them and back to me whiz past me to the other end back and so on till he was ready to snooze. He had no compunction about banging into to me so I would lose my balance. I’m sure he was laughing. Once he took off and crossed the river which was a dry bed where he crossed at the time. An hour later he hadn’t returned , it started pouring , the river came up and I was sure Wally was going to be lost and hurt but he turned up wet and grinning at me. By Aug 2018 Wally was big and beautiful. Wallaroos mature much quicker than Greys . I stopped locking Wally up at night as he certainly knew what he was doing. He still liked a bit of milk early morning and eve .He would have some milk about 6pm then head off turning up about 6am for some morning milk and a handful of almonds which he loved. He soon tired of milk but still liked his almonds! He looked terrific.

We were  not getting any rain and were in  drought so he stayed around He would go off but come for support feed like a lot of the others were doing .He was still around in January  but had really wild up and didn’t want me mollycoddling him.

Wally making himself comfortable on my chair!

Wally making himself comfortable on my chair!

love my Wally

love my Wally

 

 

 

 

 

drought Nov 2019

drought Nov 2019

 

 

 

Drought and heat Feb 2020 - Wally with a wet towel draped over him keeping cool

Drought and heat Feb 2020 – Wally with a wet towel draped over him keeping cool

 

 

magnificent big Wally on the rocks watching me on the back veranda

magnificent big Wally on the rocks watching me on the back veranda

Tillie Finnie visits for 2 weeks.

Event of September 2017

While Worm and Duke were just youngsters still in their bags we had a little wombat come for a visit. Our friends , Ted & Jenny Finnie, had a young female wombat in care. They found the mother on their property close to their home .She had a baby in pouch and she died. Ted performed an autopsy on mum and found her lungs were in very bad condition causing death. The baby was named Tillie and move in with them of course! Due to illness in the family they had to go to Victoria .Ted and Jenny always take their animals with them but it’s illegal to take a wombat across the border so I was asked if I would look after Tillie. Ted being ex Taronga and Dubbo Western Plains Zoo wildlife vet  and Jenny a wildlife carer with many years of experience entrusting me with this baby was such a privilege and a compliment of their faith in me to care for her. I was very nervous I must say . Wombat babies experience a lot of stress when taken from their mother and they bond tightly with the carer .Tillie had bonded with Jenny who had  her for about 3 weeks at that stage so to move her again was traumatic making me doubly nervous! Tillie was about 3 kilo  and drinking 3 times over 24 hrs . She was clearly traumatized losing her mother for a second time. I kept her close to me and after about 3 days she started to settle. I don’t think Worm and Duke were very impressed having mum showering favour on this interloper!

cuddling Tillie - Worm and Duke in their bags watching.

cuddling Tillie – Worm and Duke in their bags watching.

Tillie checking out loung chair

Tillie checking out lounge chair

This chair seems O.K. I think I could get comfortable here.

This chair seems O.K. I think I could get comfortable here.

 

burrow inspection

burrow inspection

looks O.K. I'll go in.

looks O.K. I’ll go in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a week we let her stay in the nursing pen at night. I had been taking her in there ,feeding her and spending time in there while she had a munch of the grass and she felt safe in there and got to like it. She investigated the burrow.

snoozing with Tillie

snoozing with Tillie

Tillie drinking - this is good!!

Tillie drinking – this is good!!

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed having Tillie and being able to help Ted and Jenny was good as they will gladly help any animal any time. When Jenny came to collect Tillie it was obvious that Tillie recognized her immediately and was delighted to have her other mum back.Tillie was released at Ted and Jenny’s property as an adult where she was born.

Adult Tillie hanging around ,just after release.

Adult Tillie hanging around ,just after release.

Worm and the Duke

16th May 2017  

I received a phone call asking me if I could take an orphan grey female kangaroo. She was found on the Golden Highway at Cassilis. Her mother had been hit by a car and died. I went and collected her from the local vet and bought her home. She weighed 1147 grams . After measuring the length of her foot and Tail I ascertained she was about 205 gram underweight which was expected for a little orphan coming into care. I got her warmed up and gave her her first bottle which she took O.K.

Wormie peeping out of her bag.

Wormie peeping out of her bag.

Things did not proceed well with this little girl . I would expect that within a week she would have settled and passing urine and feces normally. Initially all seemed like it was going O.K. She did have a small weight gain then started started passing runny yellow feces . I determined she had thrush a common complaint of babies coming into care and not difficult to treat with nilstat. She was not sucking well and  not enough. Feces then became like black pea soup! The woman that had handed her into the vet had left her phone no so I rung her to see if I could get some backround info.She was wriggler and I called her Worm which soon became Wormie! What had happened the woman thought she could manage and had kept the Worm for 4 days and had been giving her cow’s milk then she realised something was wrong and took her to the vet. Cows milk is a no with roos . They must be fed the correct formula like mother’s milk. I got the local vet to do a feces test .They looked for various things it may have been but to no avail . It seemed the likely cause was indeed the cows milk.  I then consulted Ted for his wise and insightful counsel . He got me to put the little Worm on a course of codeine for her weight and age administered at certain times. After a few days it fixed the problem and she started to suck normally as the nilstat had done the job with thrush and the codeine her tummy troubles. She then began to thrive. I wanted her to have a friend to grow up with particularly when she was big enough to be moved into the outside roo pen. I contacted Penny in Dubbo and she had a little male grey approx the same weight . He was already named Duke and Penny agreed to bring him here. Duke was sick , he had some little bald patches, thrush and a wheezy chest . Poor little fellow had Pneumonia so againTed to the rescue . Ted got me to give him 2 courses of antibiotics which was done over a 2 week period . Finally I had two healthy little greys both thriving .They got on really well and it was wonderful to watch them grow into healthy adolescence.

Pretty Little Wormie with head out of her bag.

Wormie with head out of her bag.

Dukie arrives, poor sick boy.

Dukie arrives, poor sick boy.

Wormie and Dukie finally both well and thriving,

Wormie and Dukie finally both well and thriving.

Worm and Duke were moved into the outside pen mid Sept . They were happy n there together and the 3 of us would go walking around the property during the day.

little followers

little followers

wormie tired - its a hard life!

wormie tired – its a hard life!

 

 

 

 

 

Duke with other friends

Duke with other friends

Duke and Worm with Scarhead. Scar healed by now but name remains.

Duke and Worm with Scarhead. Scar healed by now but name remains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Worm and Duke growing , looking great.

Worm and Duke growing , looking great.

 

Not getting much rain and grass not as abundant for grazing as it had been.

 

 

 

Worm and Duke  on guard at front door!

Worm and Duke on guard at front door!

These two almost ready for release, approx 11 kilo. Still like evening milk ,out all day but  still locked them up in the pen at night.They come when called for lock up , reluctantly!

The decision  to release was taken out of my hands as we had “The Apple Gum Disaster” . Mid Feb 2018 one evening Larry and I were Having dinner. I had just been up in the pen and given Wormie & Dukie their eve milk and locked them in for the night. We heard an almighty crash and it felt like the ground shook .The enormous Apple Gum Tree had fallen right over the pen .Everything in there  was squashed. Its a sight hard to explain when a large tree falls , quite scary. We were sure we were going to find the roos dead in there .After an extensive search no bodies were found .We got our torches and starting searching the property . Worm and Duke both found O.K. and didn’t seem very perturbed so that was their release! The tree had fallen and flattened one side of the pen where they had been grazing but the angle had missed them and they had jumped over what was left and continued their grazing in the paddocks.

Apple Gum Disaster

Apple Gum Disaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did have a pen there, what happened to it!!?

We did have a pen there, what happened to it!!?

Don’t seem to perturbed , resting in the sun. Worm was still around through March then she went off and would return sometimes for food as we were heading into drought and the grass was sparse. Duke stayed for much longer and he also cut his foot on some tin so he had to be treated till the cut healed. Fortunately he trusted me and loved his almonds so while I treated his foot he would eat about 10 almonds which gave me time to do what was needed.

Dukie's poor sore cut foot

Dukie’s poor sore cut foot

The cut healed completely with no complications. Duke was still around for a couple of months after Wormie.

Wormie has returned from time to time with a baby .We have seen Duke also .

While Duke and Worm were only youngsters in care we also had a wombat visitor come and stay for 2 weeks.

Wendy and Wynona come to Wombat Creek

Image

May 2017

We received a call from a WIRES member from Dubbo. She had raised 2 wombats from babies but they were now to big to stay at her place and she needed the remainder of their time in care to be at a place that had a wombat pen for them both were they could be released. We were happy to help so it was decided she would bring them here.

Penny brings Wendy and Wynona to Wombat Creek .Introducing them to their new enclosure till release.

Penny brings Wendy and Wynona to Wombat Creek .Introducing them to their new enclosure till release.

Wendy and Wynona investigate under Mum's watchful eye!

Wendy and Wynona investigate under Mum’s watchful eye!

It must be hard to raise them and then relinquish them into someone else’s care . I had  many conversations  with Penny on the phone. She and her husband were  dedicated wildlife carers and she knew we also were. We had already met Penny as she had been to our place before to bring Duke, a grey kangaroo who I taken from her to pair up with Worm, a grey that had been found motherless at another property in Merriwa. She knew what  our place was like was happy to have her babies, now teenagers, come here.

At the time I had Duke and Worm in care who were very young and on 3 bottles each a day so it was decided that Larry would take charge of Wendy and Wynona. Wendy was the older of the two and quite a lot bigger than Wynona. Poor Wynona had been very sick when Penny took her into care.  Penny had taken such good care with her  and with visits and  advice from Dubbo Western Plains zoo vet she had got her through, She  was fortunate to have Wendy in care who had a nice gentle nature and Wynona had become attached to her.

Wendy and Wynona

Wendy and Wynona

When Wendy and Wynona came to Wombat Creek Penny did not tell us that along with other issues Wynona had also had mange. Larry and I noticed she had a patchy part on 1 side and we did mention mange but Penny said she was fine. Larry became very fond of these two girls. Wendy was more aloof  being older but Wynona still liked to get attention and be made a fuss of.

Wynona tummy rub

Wynona tummy rub

A bit of time went by and Larry noticed that Wendy was scratching more than we would have expected and Wynona’s patchy part had worsened. After contacting Penny we ascertained that Wynona previously had mange but had been treated for it.

Wynona  - mange patch growing fur

Wynona – mange patch growing fur

Larry and I thought perhaps it hadn’t cleared up completely and Wendy had caught it from her. We began a treatment program on both of them  simultaneously which was ultimately successful.

Wynona drinking milk

Wynona drinking milk

On arrival here Wynona was still on milk , not Wendy. Wynona’s teat that Penny had bought along was very chewed looking and Penny said she had a habit of doing this. Larry thought Wynona had a peculiar way of drinking her milk and on further inspection he saw that  one of her front teeth was broken off which is why she kept making a mess of her teats.

The teeth of the wombat are extremely similar to that of rodents. The wombat has 24 rootless teeth that grow continuously as wear is caused  by their grinding  of tough, fibrous grasses and  plants of which some are high in silica so they are continuously wearing the surface down. Wombats have a pair of large, robust incisors in  the upper and lower jaw . They have no canines, and there is a wide gap between their incisors and premolars. Hand raised wombats can develop teeth problems, not having  grass and roots  introduced early enough for natural wear to occur can be a cause. A small log or branch with bark attached   is a very good idea for  exercise and entertainment!

We called Ted to come to the rescue. Wynona was comfortable with Larry holding her and Ted used snippers to cut Wynona’s long tooth to the same length as the other one then using a file ground the sharp edge a bit.

Wynona's long tooth to be cut

Wynona’s long tooth to be cut

A valuable teaching lesson  for Larry also. Wynona was then able to suck her teat comfortably and eat properly. If the teeth are not corrected she would not be able to eat and grind her food in the wild  possibly leading to death.

Eventually  Wendy was weaned .

Wynona recovered from mange attack and tooth fixed , happily munching grass, yum. yum

Wynona recovered from mange attack and tooth fixed , happily munching grass, yum. yum

Wendy beautiful girl

Wendy beautiful girl

Wendy was heavy enough to release before Wynona  but we kept her in care  to be with Wynona until she also reached released weight and we released them together. They were released in Feb 2018 .Wendy was straight off into the NP .Larry used to take them out for walks but was always nervous with Wendy as she was rearing to go and because we hadn’t hand raised them Wendy didn’t respond as well to being taken back to the pen. Anyway all went well although we never saw Wendy at a later time we did see Wynona as she came back to the house paddock sometimes and Larry was able to give her a pat, perhaps Wendy did as well in the future but we had so many wombats around in the drought I doubt we would have recognised her. Anyway these 2 girls hopefully are still around somewhere and maybe Wendy has had a baby of her own.

 

 

 

 

Poor Wombats and thumbs down to NPWS

Events of Oct 2017

Our closet  neighbour lives about  5ks away. He turned up here saying that wombats had dug under his house and caused  a terrible mess. This guy has had his place here for about 30 years and has lived there permanently on and off and so have  wombats . I found it quite silly that in all that time he hadn’t boarded around the bottom of his house,  he is a builder!  Anyway he and his partner decided that the wombats under the house  had to be moved and they weren’t  having it any other way. I said that the wombats  should not be moved out of territory but put into a capture cage while a quick job of boarding up the bottom of the house was undertaken then let out there .As they knew that territory they probably would have been fine. Larry went with him to see what was going on . They had to do some digging and it turned out there was Mother wombat and baby who had somehow got separated by soil erosion. Another adult wombat was also stuck under there. The bloke wouldn’t consider the suggestion I had made even though Larry was willing to help him.  I completely withdrew from operations but poor Larry had to help as there seemed to be no alternative. The chap was determined to move them down here. They got the  adult male wombat out who was virtually buried in the dirt. They put 2 adult wombats out  male and female in 1 cage together as they had only the 1 large cage on hand not having realized there was 2 adults under there. The baby was put into  another smaller cage. How those 2 adults managed in there together I have no idea and the mother must have been frantic to be separated from the baby. I specifically said not to separate mother and baby but apparently it couldn’t be helped. Healthy adult wild wombats are something I certainly couldn’t handle alone so I can’t even imagine how they got them and into the cage.  I think the other adult was probably attacking the baby which caused the separation , commotion and erosion of the soil under there. I have seen this happening in the front yard so being under the house would certainly compound the situation. Mother wombats defend their young with determined ferocity when required.

Mum with baby in her pouch - what a dear little face peeping out!

Mum with baby in her pouch – what a dear little face peeping out!

There was no stopping these people from moving these animals .They were getting cows and had decided that wombats and roos no longer welcome.  Larry found a couple of burrows that looked to be unused on our land and the animals were released , mum & baby together at one burrow and the male at the other. Larry put support food and water  by the burrow entrances and tried to keep an eye on them. The following day Larry found the male about 2ks down the road, trying to get back home, he was dead, stressed of course and attacked. A day later Larry found the baby dead . It had been brutally attacked. He searched for the mother for several days but couldn’t find her and she was not using the burrow were she had been released, We don’t know what happened to her. Larry went and told these people what had happened and asked them not to move anymore wombats. They were hostile and didn’t care . They said they were going to start shooting , which they did. As we understand there was no authorization for these actions. We tried to get assistance from NPWS but no one was interested. They left dead baby kangaroos lined up at their gate so we would have to see them when driving to town. They left a dead wombat lying in one paddock on display and another adult dead by their gate on the side of the road on view. Larry called Ted Finnie ex wildlife vet at Taronga Sydney and Western Plains zoo and asked if he would be prepared to do an autopsy to determine cause of death and see if there was a lodged bullet in the animal , he was very willing. Larry called local police who also came on board to be present while his was happening . The time was set up for this to take place. Larry called NPWS ranger for his area who had refused to act to help in the past events and informed him this was taking place and asked if he wished to be present. The ranger had previously said he didn’t want to help because he didn’t want to make any enemies! The next day Larry went to meet Ted & Senior Constable Michael Blades to carry out the autopsy. When he got there the wombat had been removed. Ted and Michael were both on their way out to the spot but no contact from NP ranger. Only we knew that this happening so we believe  the perpetrators were told to remove the  dead wombat. We believe NP ranger did this.

It is illegal to shoot wombats or move them out of territory. We have found that NPWS don’t police any of this activity and turn a blind eye when asked for help. The penalty  faces a fine of up to $39,000 and a maximum of two years in jail. I don’t believe this is ever policed by rangers or imposed.

A very sad situation for our wonderful wombats .

It was a terrible situation for us as without backup from NPWS  we were helpless to stop it.

Mum with baby staying close but  growing bigger.

Mum with baby staying close but growing bigger.