Wombat Watch: Week 3
Students at the Darraweit Guim Primary School…
The fires have not just devastated the animal population – they have also affected the environment in which they live. Exotic grasses and weeds are beginning to shoot up in place of the native grasses necessary for the wombat’s survival. Small wombats, like Wombalano and her sisters, can be harmed by these exotic plants which can be toxic to the wombat’s system.
Students at the Darraweit Guim Primary School have been assisting Annie and the wombats by collecting grasses. Native and exotic grasses, carrots and sweet potatoes and animal feed give the wombats a rounded diet to help them gain weight.
The age of a wombat is usually determined by their weight. However, the wombats in Annie’s care are so malnourished it is difficult to tell their exact age. Young wombats will put on weight easily when they are healthy. Wombalano and her sisters may take months to get back to the weight they were before the fires. Once they have put weight back on, they will continue to grow at the same rate as other healthy wombats of their size.
Since arriving at Annie’s house in April, Wombalano has put on a huge 2.4 kg in just six weeks. Over the next six months Wombalano will need to more than double her current size to be in the healthy weight range for a young lady wombat her age.
Annie will continue to weigh Wombalano every few weeks to make sure she continues to put on weight. Her big sister Wyeriguru does not get weighed as it would be too traumatic for a wombat of her size.
As wild animals, it is important that the wombats in Annie’s care do not become too used to human contact. When they are healthy enough, they will all be released into the wild and will need to look after themselves. If they are too accustomed to human contact they may find it difficult to readjust when released, which could be fatal.