Elsie and Barney – wombats growing up too fast!


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!

Hiding under the bird cage!

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!

Elsie distracts me while Barney opens the door!

And again, they are in!

In again – even when I’m outside!

When they do get inside, they always create a little drama!

Bang! Elsie didn’t even flinch!
Barney and balloons!

Elsie still enjoys the camera and a good close up!

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.

Bottle time! Elsie stands – Barney cuddles!

Elsie has always loved bottle time! She finishes first – then she impatiently waits for Barney.

Communicating with Elsie.

As soon as Barney has finished his bottle – it’s Elsie time! Time for a cuddle!

Move Barney – my turn says Elsie!

And a kiss! Elsie loves her mum, she’s just a baby!

My favorite time!

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. ❤️

The day in the life of a carer….

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!

Preparing, planning, chopping, feeding, cleaning…..

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!

Possum enclosure

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.

Browse and feed
It’s dark, It’s raining and I’m cold!
Not the time to dig!
Not the time to poo!
oh ewwwwww!

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.

Promotional to encourage people to join up – made when Elsie was a baby!
Signing in Auslan – Australian Sign Language – posted on Instagram

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.

All images are copyrighted- please do not use or post elsewhere. To share with others please post a link to my blog so others can view.

A new year!

Rolling into 2021! Elsie the wombat demonstrates her exuberance and love of life!

Slow motion! Happy new year everyone!

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 helping round up 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!

Barney the wombat meets Gary the rabbit!

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.

Heading outside in the morning.

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.

Heading downstairs at the end of the day to bed.

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!

Having a sleep together!

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!

Be like Elsie, be whatever you want to be!

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

All images are copyright – pease do not use or share elsewhere.

🎄 A little wombat cheer! 🎄 Merry Christmas!

So what is Christmas in Australia like with two boisterous wombats in care?

Messy! Noisy! Fun!

Get out of the way Barney – everyone wants to see me! Elsie just being Elsie!

The wombats find everything, are into everything and destroy everything! But I wouldn’t have it any other way! ❤️

We have a bear down, I repeat, we have bear down!

They also go searching for their Christmas presents! Elsie keeps watch… but….Busted! Barney finds his christmas present.

Barney found 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

Elsie and Barney – what are they up to now?

The Elsie and Barney continue to thrive! Elsie is happy and robust and Barney has so much character! They continue to entertain and delight me! They both have two bottles a day – one in the morning and one at night before they go to bed.

Elsie likes to stand up for her bottle!

Elsie is a year old and weighs nearly 10 kilos! At this stage of development Elsie would still be with mum but is permanently out of the pouch. In the wild, her mum’s teat would elongate and protrude out of the pouch enabling Elsie to still drink milk. This explains why Elsie now stands to feed! This method of drinking closely models what she would do in the wild. The only difference is, after her feed Elsie likes to curl up in my arms and have a hug!


Barney is still a baby! He is 10 months old and weighs 8 kilos. Although he has transitioned to permanently being out of the pouch he is still quick to panic if he hears anything scary and needs mum!

Still sucking when the bottle is done.

But Barney is big enough now to take on the backstairs! He can travel up and downstairs, no more being carried around!

Barney – conquering the stairs

Their play though is still vital for development! They have a ball!

But sometimes, while little Barney is napping, Elsie and I have some extra bonding/play time. Her survival instinct are evident – she plays rough!


Elsie still creates a little chaos! Her main instinct now is to run to her burrow instead of mum.

When Elsie is napping, which isn’t very often, I try to spend a little one on one time with Barney! A little extra Barney bonding time !

While I enjoy trying to grab some individual time with each of the wombats I know that Barney has one love…. He just continues to adore Elsie!

Barney – such a clown!

Barney also likes to help around the house!

The rights for this film have been sold to Storyful. Please do not use or share.

Lovely Elsie and Barney are so delightful! Stay tuned, there’s so much more to come for these two! ❤️

Please share a link to my blog so others can learn about these beautiful and unique animals but all images and videos are copyrighted.

12 December 2020 – Elsie turns 1 !

If you read my earlier blog you will know that Elsie came into care at only 3 months old and weighing a mere 120 grams. We weigh all animals when they arrive in care and record their progress to ensure they growing and developing as they should. Based on Elsie’s weight and development when she arrived in care, it is estimated that she was born on December 12th, 2020.

What a milestone to reach! There were so many times I didn’t think this little wombat would survive the night, the weeks, the months! Elsie now weighs nearly 10 kilos and is a happy, healthy, robust wombat!

Elsie and Barney!

On December 12th, we had a little party to celebrate Elsie’s 1st birthday! 🎉🎉Happy birthday lovely Elsie! 🎉🎉

Here’s to another 6 months with you, growing and thriving until release mid next year! 🐾

Lily the wombat – the first one !

Lily was the first wombat that I raised from joey until release back into the wild. You might start thinking that all these wombats (Elsie, Barney and Henry who appear elsewhere in my Blog) are alike but nothing could be further from the truth! Yes, wombats in care demonstrate similar protective behaviors – the running, the jumping and the ‘donkey kicks’ but their personalities are so different!


Lily arrived in care after her mum was hit and killed by a car. The driver found Lily in mum’s pouch, carefully removed her and delivered her to us. Lily was nearly six months old, weighing nearly two kilos.

Cute as a button

Lily was easy from day one! So different from the other wombats (Henry, Elsie and Barney). Although Lily had nearly six months with mum, she accepted the bottle and was easy to feed. She didn’t sustain any injuries when mum was hit by the car. There was no mange or ticks on her. She just settled into care and thrived.

Lily grew so fast!

Play time.
Wake up Lily!

Lily wanted to do what she wanted, when she wanted!

Too big to fit – but I’ll find a way!!!

The only thing I noticed with Lily was her tantrums! If her bottle wasn’t ready fast enough – she’d throw a tantrum and throw herself on the floor!

Fed me…..
Argh, feed me! I’m starving!

Lily also didn’t think much of outdoors! She liked being inside where everything was soft, warm and clean! The outdoors didn’t appeal to her much!

A barrier won’t keep her in the great outdoors.
Let me in!

Lily loved being fed and she loved cuddles! She also loved Christmas!

Bottle time!

But playtime wasn’t easy – the bigger Lily grew – the rougher she became! If you read my blog about Elsie and Barney you will see that their ‘play’ is directed at each other. Wombats in the wild only have a single joey – but a stocky 40 kilo block of wombat can stand the brute force of their young! I, however, bruise like a peach and those teeth are sharp! The play attacks we sustain as carers is another reason why we pair joeys up so they learn to play together and we can protect ourselves!

But Lily eventually adjusted to outdoor life. She eventually settled into her outdoor enclosure and burrow. But she still loved my company and many hours would be spent with us playing and sitting outside.

Reading in the sun!

When Lily was around 17 months old and weighing over 16 kilos she was ready to be released. She was contented living in her outdoor enclosure but I noticed that when she heard a noise outside her enclosure she would come out running and growling! This behaviour told me that she had developed the necessary protective skills to survive in the wild. It was time to be released back into the wild!

Out she comes – ready to attack!

A beautiful spot was found in a national park off a fire trail which was far from roads and with no access allowed to members of the public. We drove Lily out there and met the ranger. The plan was to show Lily the area and make a few trips out there, back and forth over several weeks to let her become accustomed to the area. That was the plan!

The wild!

We spent ages in the area – walking Lily down to her beautiful creek and showing her a choice of 4 beautiful empty burrows. She had the choice of some prime real estate! What a beautiful spot!

The creek – Lily’s water source.

Then after going in and out of each of the four burrows, Lily selected the one she liked the most. She quickly started excavating the entrance and making it her own! After a while it was time to head home. I called Lily, she came out of her burrow, stood at the entrance and looked at me…… This is a wombat, a spoiled wombat, that followed me everywhere for months and months and months! I thought we’d make several more trips out to the national park to prepare her…. but no! Lily stood at ‘her’ new burrow and watched me walk away. She didn’t flinch, she didn’t follow, she just watched. I turned from a distance and waited….she retreated back into her burrow… I turned and walked away….

I even waited in the car…. would she come looking for me..? She never did. She was ready for her life in the wild. ❤️

Driving away…. so very hard to do.

Well I’m happy to say that a couple of months later the ranger told me that he had seen Lily walking around near her burrow – she looked fat and healthy. So she made it! She adjusted to life in the wild and thrived. That’s the best outcome! It’s what wildlife carers work so hard to achieve! As for me, depression hit. I found the release hard – over a year of dedication to this wombat and to suddenly have an empty house and garden felt really strange. I felt pretty flat for weeks.

My Lily!

Thank you Lily for the memories! ACT Wildlife taught me how to be a carer – Lily taught me how to be a wombat mum!!

Thanks for the memories!

All images are copyrighted. Please do not share or copy without permission.

Elsie and Barney star in their own movie!

Sometimes, just for the fun of it… and because I like to fill every minute of my day.. I make silly movies! These movies get posted on social media. There’s a fairly large audience who love them. My viewers then spread the word about these movies and suddenly even more people develop a love of wombats and wildlife.

This one always makes me cry!

Barney wasn’t with me full time in the beginning so he doesn’t become a leading star a until the second film. Enjoy it here!

Elsie and Barney – leading characters.!

These videos aren’t set up – they are made using the normal filming of their natural play behaviours!

Wombat pirates.

Then for something different…. a scary one!

So frightening…

The end goal with these movies isn’t about ‘likes’ on social media. I guess followers are a important, but they aren’t following me – they are following the stories of our unique Australian wildlife. Interested people then spread the word and the education about our wildlife continues and grows. Learning about our wildlife leads to understanding, respect and care. There’s always the hope it leads to donations as well! ACT Wildlife is a registered charity and we are always needing donations. Check out our webpage if you’d like to contribute https://actwildlife.net.

Feel free to share and post the link to my blog, but all images are copyrighted and cannot be used elsewhere.

Movies and the sound track are created using Imovie.

Your own piece of wildlife!

Elsie, Barney, Lily, Mitchell and the others now have a shop!

Are you interested in owning your own little piece of some of the wildlife that are in care? Are you interested in helping a charity that rescues, rehabilitated and releases Australian wildlife? Woo hoo! Then jump on Redbubble and make a purchase. The funds raised go towards helping our Australian wildlife in care.

Redbubble isn’t an easy site to navigate – but google Redbubble and hunt for Elsie the wombat and the others. I apologies that a few items are expensive, but there are several items that are reasonable – unfortunately I can’t control their costs.

All the images in this blog are copyrighted but buying through Redbubble enables you to have an Elsie shirt, a Barney notebook or Lily stickers!!

ACT Wildlife are a not for profit charity. We continually try to raise funds – we receive very little support from the government. The money raised helps the animals by allowing us to purchase food and equipment (such as aviaries) for their rehabilitation.

Even my horse is on Redbubble! Why not buy a great t-shirt for Christmas!

Have fun shopping! I’ll be posting more about Elsie and Barney soon. I’m also planning a post on a few tawny frogmouths – such fascinating animals! Stay tune, and please go shopping today! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

❤️ That’s a whole lot of love! ❤️ Elsie and Barney!

The bond between Elsie and Barney is now very strong! They adore each other! For a while I doubted it would ever happen, but look at them now!


Even with all this love, their play is still rough! I’m always amazed that these spirited battles are ‘friendly’ – imagine what a real fight between two wombats would be like!

Barney and Elsie have such different personalities! Barney is just crazy! He jumps, wobbles his head and is like a bull dozer.

Gee…..thanks Barney!

Elsie is more princess like. She likes to win – everything! She’s pretty crafty and usually cheats! She also runs and plays with complete exuberance! She loves life and clearly feels very safe and happy!

Elsie takes the matching card from the bottom of the pile….! That’s cheating!

As different as they are, their bond is very real. They clearly adore each other.

Such a bond!

There sure is a whole lot of love between these two. It’s full on, exhausting, rough ( ! ) and incredibly funny to watch! I’ll blog more about Elsie and Barney’s journey soon! 🐾❤️

You can follow our journey on Instagram wombats_and_wildlife_heljan09.
All images and videos in this blog are copyrighted. Please do not use or share.