Elsie and Barney love to play. They spend so much time cuddling, rolling around and chasing each other.
But as they grow, practicing their skills becomes more important and the play occasionally turns serious.
Whatever Elsie is communicating below (that we are unable to interpret) she clearly tells Barney to behave. He can be seen calming down and no longer being aggressive. He certainly doesn’t want to continue to battle Elsie.
Should I intervene? No – it’s all important learning! Elsie needs to be able to fight off unwanted male advances and they both need to learn to defend themselves and their territory against any predators. So this ‘play’ is vital for their survival in the wild.
But after the occasional battle turns nasty, Elsie and Barney go back to being friends! Climbing, exploring and just wandering around the garden.
Very often I am caught up in their battles! It is all in ‘fun’ and necessary for their development and one day I know the bruises will fade!
All this ‘play’ is thirsty work! Elsie loves drinking from the hose!
Barney hasn’t quite figured out yet where the water comes from!
I’ll be blogging more soon. In the meantime – relax and take some time out like Elsie does! Clearly, no wombats were harmed!
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Barney has always been the more aggressive of the two wombats. Elsie can bite hard, but when she plays, there’s still a certain gentleness. Yes I am covered in bites, knocked off my feet and have many bruises but Elsie plays differently. Barney is just aggressive – growling, jumping up and repeatedly attacking Elsie and I! It’s all part of necessary learning but it still hurts. So the answer is to always make sure Barney has something to play with. The answer came in a soccer ball!
Barney growls and hisses and occasionally farts as he dominates the ball!
In fact it doesn’t matter what type of ball – any ball will do!
The ball represents a challenge, it moves and is hard enough to bite – probably similar to the rump of a female wombat!! Barney has a ball – literally!
All this sport is thirsty work! Barney checks out the fridge! What is he looking for?
Stay tuned for more blogging about Elsie and Barney.
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The bond between Elsie and Barney remains strong! Although wombats in the wild are solitary, these two have been raised together to lessen the bond with their carer and to ensure the wombats keep their ‘wombat’ behaviors. That’s the theory but carers and wombats still become very close which is evident in my other posts. When Elsie and Barney are released, they will go their own separate ways but for now they are close! Sometimes too close! They even seem to have the usual ‘sibling squabbles’!
It’s not easy getting up in the morning if your brother is standing on your head!
But brothers can be useful.
Brothers can also take the blame! Cleaning out the rabbit cage or trying to do any jobs around the garden with Elsie and Barney is never easy!
Then there are times you just want to lie in the sunshine and enjoy a little sibling love and warmth!
But you know you’ll always help your brother out!
And help him find his way!
Their bond is strong and it’s a privilege being part of it.
I adore sharing their journey. I’ll be blogging more again soon.
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Just in case you haven’t read my blogs (and why not, what have you been doing?!) here’s a recap on the adventures of Elsie and Barney ! This is my latest movie. Elsie – from 120 grams to now a huge 18 kilos! Barney arrived in care months later weighing 600 grams and he now weighs around 16 kilos.
Elsie and Barney still have 2 bottles a day but the volume of milk is decreasing. They spend more time alone, doing what wombats do – eating grass, digging and playing at night time.
Release is looming closer 😭. I’ll be blogging more soon! Please continue to follow Elsie and Barney’s journey as they thrive in care.
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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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