This morning Wombat Ben arrived at Onemilebridge. His carers, Iris and James, brought him and transferred him into the pen that we call the Wombat Hilton where he will stay for about a month or six weeks.
I wrote about Ben first a year ago, when we visited him at home with Iris and James. At that time he was only about eight months old and still quite a baby. He lived inside their house, was bottle fed and slept in a sleeping bag.
We visited Ben again last December. He was much bigger then and had moved into his own outdoor pen. He was probably large enough to come to us already but he still had some psychological issues to work out, and it was felt best to delay release until he was ready.
Today was that day. Yay!!
Ben was brought in a carrier and carried into the pen. Iris walked around to give him plenty of familiar smells to make him feel a little at home, and put straw around in various places. James decanted him at the mouth of a burrow that earlier wombats had dug and renovated.
When Ben was an infant his mother was killed by a car on the West Coast Cradle Mountain Road. He was found and placed with a carer. When he proved difficult to care for he was passed on to Iris and James who have had years of experience with caring for orphaned animals.
The Wombat Hilton contains a hollow log, a kennel, a corrugated iron shelter with a food bowl, and a water container. Within a minute, Ben was out and about inspecting this new place, smelling all the funny smells and trying to work out the lay of the land.
He found the water container and had himself a big drink, still unsure but beginning already to settle.
Ben comes to us with a printed history and a list of instructions.
Diet: horse mix, rolled oats, grass and hay. (prefers horse mix to oats.)
Comments: Don’t think he will want to stay very long. He is chomping at the bit to be out in the bush.
Appetite: Very good, eats a lot, prefers to be fed during the day before the possums are about.
Behaviour: Gets very agro and agitated very easily, has lots of jaw judders and lip smacks to let you know he is not happy. Always wear gumboots as he likes to zap you from behind.
Very lovable but DO NOT TRUST HIM!
Uh oh, sounds quite the handful. But we're excited to have a new occupant for the Wombat Hilton and look forward to caring for him until he's ready to be out in the wild, meeting all the other wombats that have made their home here at Onemilebridge.