Elsie is huge! At this stage of her development she would still be with her mum but her independence is growing! Although she still wants to come in the house (but isnt allowed!) she can head off and put herself to bed, taking Barney with her!
Elsie and Barney still have a bottle each twice a day . Elsie should be weaning off her bottles but Barney still requires two bottles and it is impossible to feed one without the other!
Barney is thriving as well! He can be a terror and I often use a teddy bear to distract Barney and save my body from bruises! All the biting and wrestling is in fun and part of the necessary play to enable him to develops his future protective skills.
At other times though, Barney is still very much a baby needing love and cuddles!
Elsie of course is still a baby requiring cuddles…or at least that’s what she thinks!
The release of Elsie and Barney is growing closer …. I still have a few more months to enjoy them but they will increasingly become more independent. I’ll be blogging more about their journey again soon.
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Flattery is the sincerest form of flattery – or so Oscar Wilde said!
Even as a tiny joey, Elsie had 8 black nails and 2 pinks nails on her front paws! Very strange for a wombat but perhaps there was the tiniest something missing in her diet when she arrived in care at such a small size and stage of development.
As Elsie grew, her nails stayed the same – 8 black and 2 pink!
Elsie is now a sub adult weighing around 15 kilos yet her nails remain the same. The two pink nails have never formed the darker colour. There’s clearly nothing wrong with her – she’s completely healthy and extremely happy! She has thrived in care!
Since I like having my nails done regularly I decided to do something in recognition of this delightful creature! I had my nails painted in what I now like to call ‘Elsie colours’!
Luckily I’m quirky enough to pull it off! Not many people colour co-ordinate with their wombat!
I’ll be blogging more soon! Stay tuned. You can also follow us on Instagram wombats_and_wildlife_heljan09.
You can read Barney’s full story all through my earlier blogs. Dear little Barney is very sweet and today was his visit to the vet for his microchip. All of our wombats in care are microchipped and eventually released back into the wild at the appropriate age. Then, if they ever come back into care – as road victims or with mange or displacement of habitat – we can scan them for a chip and know who they are and where and how they’ve survived in the wild.
Most of the vets are great and treat our wildlife for free with no cost to our volunteer organization. We really appreciate the service they provide to us. However we often have to wait as their paying (domestic pet) customers come first!
So our day started at 6:00 am as usual – Barney (and Elsie) had the morning bottle, ate grass and eventually headed back to their enclosure (bed) as all good nocturnal animals do! In the afternoon, I went into their enclosure and removed Barney. The vet trip had to be done in the day, while Barney and Elsie were sleeping, to minimize their stress and so they wouldn’t notice that they’d been separated. We arrived at the vet at 2:30 pm and Barney was checked in and I left…
And I waited..
And I waited..
At 6:00 pm I phoned and was told the vets hadn’t had time to check Barney and would get to him in a few hours…
Finally at 11:00 pm, 8.5 hours after taking Barney to the vet, I went to collect him regardless! They still hadn’t had time to look at him – so there was no microchip! I know microchipping is considered non-urgent care but I wish they had told me earlier that they’d be too busy. 8.5 hours is a long time for a wild animal to be left in its crate, separated from mum, with no milk and surrounded by barking dogs!
Baby wombats in the wild make a loud hissing noise when they are scared or separated from mum. I could hear Barney making this noise in his crate as soon as he was handed over to me! Had me been calling out for me the whole time he was at the vet? I placed Barney (who was still in his crate) in the cargo section of my SUV and drove off. Luckily my husband was driving because suddenly there was a thud! There we were … at a set of traffic lights, in the rain, on a busy Saturday night, with Barney still hissing – but now he was standing on his hind legs looking out of the back window of my car after he’d smashed his way out of his crate! Now what a photo that would have been! But I was too stressed to take one! I also couldn’t jump out at the traffic lights, stand in front of the cars behind us and try to wrangle a wombat from the cargo hold of my car! So as the lights turned green, I took off my seat belt, climbed into the back seat, reached over into the cargo hold and dragged a 12.5 kilo hissing, stressed wombat over into the back seat and onto my lap.
As soon as Barney was in my arms, he stopped hissing, relaxed and went to sleep! Poor Barney! What a stressful day! I managed to get my seatbelt on and Barney slept all the way home, peacefully in my arms. Not the safest way to transport an animal, but in this instance – reducing his stress was the priority!
When we arrived home, I held Barney for another 20 minutes while he slept. Then it was bottle time – six hours late and 18 hours since Barney’s last feed! Barney was very stressed when I put him down to prepare his bottle.
Barney was reunited with Elsie at bottle time. Clearly they missed each other!
After bottle time, Barney and Elsie ate grass and played. I stayed outside with them for a long time tonight…. It’s now 3:30 am – they are safe, well and happy. What a big day/night!
Our job as wildlife carers is to support the animals in our care, advocate for their rights and to make sure that their heath and emotional health and well being is supported. As I’ve written before, our work isn’t always glamorous nor does it change the world, but tonight, for one little animal, I was its whole world! Never doubt the bond between carer and the wildlife in their care.
I’m off to bed! Thanks for reading.💕. There will be more blogging soon!
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One year ago today – on the 14th March 2020 – a joey wombat was delivered to my house (see my first post). Little Elsie had been found in her dead mum’s pouch. She weighted just 120 grams, was dehydrated and a fetus! Those first few hours establishing her care – setting up the humidicrib and getting her to accept a bottle were the most stressful hours I think I’ve ever had!
Collapsing into bed that night, knowing I would have to get up again in 2 hours and wondering if she’d still be alive again when I woke up – was emotionally exhausting. But Elsie did survived! She survived the first 24 hours being fed every 2 hours! From then, although there have been problems along the way, she has continued to thrive!
So where is she today? One year on……? Today, 14 March 2021, after one year in care, Elsie is around 14/15 kilos and is 1 year, 3 months and 2 days old!
Elsie is such a happy wombat! As for me – I’m one happy wildlife carer! I adore her! ❤️ But from now we are in the pre-release stage – she needs learn how to be a ‘real’ wild wombat and slowly transition away from needing me.
Stay tuned for more wombat and wildlife updates! More on Elsie (and Barney) soon. You can also follow us on instagram – wombats_and_wildlife_heljan09.
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Elsie is big – I’ve given up trying to weigh her! Barney is probably around 11 kilos. They live permanently outdoors now – or at least that’s the expectation! Keeping them outside and away from the back door is a challenge!
I have to remind them frequently that they are outdoor wombats, preparing for life in the wild. But Barney is clever enough to open the back door! I’m thinking about putting a small moat at the bottom of the stairs to keep them out!
And again, they are in!
When they do get inside, they always create a little drama!
Elsie still enjoys the camera and a good close up!
Elsie and Barney are still bottle fed. In the wild a wombat around Elsie’s size would still be living with mum but transitioning off milk. Barney is younger so he’d still go up to mum to drink milk. Subadult wombats can’t fit in a pouch anymore, so the mother’s teat elongates to enable them feed from outside the pouch. So twice a day – at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm Elsie and Barney both have a bottle of special wombat formula.
Elsie has always loved bottle time! She finishes first – then she impatiently waits for Barney.
As soon as Barney has finished his bottle – it’s Elsie time! Time for a cuddle!
And a kiss! Elsie loves her mum, she’s just a baby!
I just adore these two! But Elsie has a special place in my heart. Who would have thought the tiny 120 gram joey would survive and grow into such a healthy, happy wombat! The hours and hours of hard work, worry and stress were clearly worth it. The pictures below are a reminder of Elsie 1 year ago when she arrived in care!
And my Elsie now!
Stay tuned for more on Elsie and Barney. I’ll be wom-blogging again soon!
All images are copyrighted- please do not use, reproduce or post elsewhere. ❤️
Have you ever wondered what it’s really like being a wildlife carer? Is it all cuddles, love and joy – every minute of every day? Well, let me be honest……..it mostly is! But it’s also hard work; soul destroying when an animal doesn’t survive despite our best efforts; exhausting getting up around the clock to feed; frustrating constantly gathering browse and preparing feed and bottles; annoying forever cleaning up poo and gawd knows what else…..but yes I love every minute!
As well as being a wildlife carer, I am also a member of the wildlife committee which involves attending monthly meetings; I’m the northside bird co-ordinator which involves finding carers and monitoring the amount of birds in care and writing a monthly report; and I also receive queries from the phone and transport volunteers. I also choose to be on call 24/7 and receive animals around the clock!
There’s also paperwork! Every animal that comes into care has to be recorded with the species type, weight, date, injury or reason for coming into care, finder’s name, and the location where the animal was found. The location is one of the most important aspects so the animal can be released back where It was found to meet our licensing requirements. Every animal’s electronic record is then updated weekly as we record increases in weight, growth and record vet checks and health notes. Once the animal is released (dies or has to be euthanized) that needs to be recorded as well.
One of the best parts of my job is training other carers! I love educating people about wildlife and particularly training others to become carers or to join our organisation. Due to the limit on gatherings during the Covid pandemic, all of our training for 2020 had to be delivered on line via zoom presentations. So we had to re-think the way we train others to make on-line training interactive and interesting. I also like to make the occasional promotional video to encourage others to join or donate.
So this gives you an idea of what it’s like to be a carer. There are also other ways you can support wildlife. You can choose to do as much or as little as you can. We always need donations, carers, admin people, social media people, people who can sew, sell chocolates, run stalls, fundraise, transport animals and of course phone operators. If you have a spare hour or two a week, there’s a way you can help wildlife. Please reach out to us (or your local wildlife organization). We provide training in all areas and you are never alone – we not only support animals – we support each other as we provide the very best care to each and every animal. For more information, have a look at our website http://actwildlife.net.
I’ll be blogging again with more Australian animals in care…. stay tuned! Or follow me on Instagram – wombats_and_wildlife_heljan09.
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Rolling into 2021! Elsie the wombat demonstrates her exuberance and love of life!
Over Christmas and new year, I continued to have ducklings in care, crimson rosellas and of course Elsie and Barney the wombats! Barney loved helping me care for the wood ducks!
Barney even had the opportunity to meet my pet rabbit called Gary! Barney showed his gentle side as always. Although we don’t normally mix wildlife and domestic pets, a rabbit is something the wombats will see in the wild so I wasn’t too concerned when they met. Luckily Elsie was busy in her burrow so she and Gary didn’t meet. I’m not sure Gary would survive meeting Elsie!
Elsie and Barney still have a bottle in the morning then they head outside for a play. When they have had enough playtime time and have filled up on grass, they race into their large enclosure, enter their burrow and sleep for the day. Wombats are nocturnal so now that they no longer require daytime bottles, they sleep through most of the day.
In the late afternoon they wake up and spend their time playing, rolling, chasing each other and eating grass.
Late at night I bring them inside for a cuddle, their bottle and they put themselves to bed in their indoor enclosure.
These quiet times at night are still my favorite. The bond between us – especially between Elsie and I is beautiful! This year that bond will weaken as she learns to be a wombat and grows away from, and forgets ‘mum’ (me)! That change is vital for her future survival, but for now, she’s still my baby!
Barney on the other hand is crazy! His bond, although with me is strong, his attachment to Elsie is stronger. He also doesn’t hold back with bodily functions! Turn up the sound and look closely if you want to see a farting wombat! It wasnt me!
Elsie, Barney and I wish you the very best for 2021! You can make this year whatever you want it to be… and you can be whatever you want to be .. if you want to be a turtle like Elsie, go ahead!
And remember, this year… take time to stop and smell the flowers!
I’ll blog more soon! You can also follow me on instagram wombats_and_wildlife_heljan09
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So what is Christmas in Australia like with two boisterous wombats in care?
Messy! Noisy! Fun!
The wombats find everything, are into everything and destroy everything! But I wouldn’t have it any other way! ❤️
They also go searching for their Christmas presents! Elsie keeps watch… but….Busted! Barney finds his christmas present.
Have you heard of Elf on a shelf? Elsie isn’t impressed with Elf on a wombat!
A little Christmas joy!
I wouldn’t normally dress up wildlife, but I have to admit they both looked completely adorable! During this stage of their development I can still be part of their play – their running, their biting and wrestling. But soon they will move outdoors permanently and no longer come inside at bedtime and for cuddles. Once that time comes, there will be no more handling them, no more cuddles and the bond will begin to separate as they move to become wild and independent! But for now I can just enjoy them.
🎄🎄 Elsie, Barney and I wish you a very merry Christmas! 🎄🎄. Stay safe, stay happy, watch out for wildlife and enjoy the festive season! All the best xx