Did you know a female Brushtail Possum's gestation period (pregnancy ) is only 17 days? Like most of our amazing marsupials, their babies (known as joeys ) are born tiny and undeveloped, like a fetus. At birth they're pink, hairless, blind and smaller than a jellybean, and climb up their mother's fur and crawl into her pouch to attach to a teat where they will continue to develop for several months until they are ready to emerge from the pouch, looking a lot more like this cute little joey! Older joeys are used to clinging on to mum's back, so wildlife carers sometimes given orphans teddy bears to hold onto to help them feel more secure. Photo by @wild_paws
Have you ever seen an echidna scratch an itch? If you look closely, you will see that their back feet are a little different to other Australian animals. Echidnas have backwards facing hind feet. They spend a lot of their time digging and moving soil and these feet enable them to dig quickly and efficiently. It also makes scratching a tricky itch an easy task!
We’ve been receiving calls from members of the public who are concerned about catching Covid-19 from wildlife in their area. The good news is that there is absolutely no evidence that any wildlife in Australia carry the virus. While early evidence suggests bats from a wildlife market in China MAY be connected to the initial outbreak, the bats we have here in Australia are different species to those found in China. Our wildlife emergency response service is still on call to help and you can also report wildlife situations online via our website (link in bio ) or the @snapsendsolve app.
Take a look at this terrifyingly cute dance! This young fledgling Tawny Frogmouth is practicing her "warning dance". As a defense mechanism, they try to look as intimidating as possible by bobbing around just like this, opening their beak wide, spreading their wings out and making a growling sound. Has it scared you off?
A great reminder to always wash your greens before you eat them: this Southern Brown Tree Frog was recently discovered a long way from home after he was delivered to an unsuspecting member of public in their box of veggies! Our Wildlife Emergency Service receives dozens of calls every year about stowaways in boxes, trucks, car engines and veggies from all over Australia.
Important update regarding our COVID-19 response: During these uncertain times, we will be continuing to provide advice and a rescue service for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. We do not know quite how much disruption there will be as we try to 'flatten the curve' of infections, but we do know that whatever happens, people will not stop caring about wildlife! As people stay at home more, we are not sure whether reports from the public will increase or decrease. Our volunteer rescuers and transporters may not be as available to respond as they are in normal times. We ask for your patience as we feel our way forward and respond to new challenges. You may not always be able to get through on our 03 8400 7300 emergency number. Instead, we recommend that you report the situation via our website (link in bio ) or use the @snapsendsolve app and one of our operators will then contact you as soon as possible. There is no evidence that the virus occurs in Australian wildlife, and there is no risk of contracting it from wildlife. Our website provides a host of information, such as fact sheets and videos that can answer many of your questions. As we keep our physical distance, let's all make sure we remain emotionally connected. Photo by @doug_gimesy
With so much amazing work being conducted with fire affected shelters thanks to your donations, it's important that we remember that our wildlife face many pressures in the environment and that these pressures are only increasing in the face of climate change. This young Koala has been abandoned by its mother and was found on the ground after 3 days with an ulcer in its eye. This is one of many of these animals in care in Victoria's north due to the ongoing drought which has taken hold of much of the country. In order to stay off the ground where they are vulnerable to predation, these amazing animals have evolved to extract as much of their water as possible from the eucalyptus leaves they eat. Unfortunately, with droughts now becoming longer and more frequent, Koalas with joeys are unable to gain the hydration required to make enough milk, and mother Koalas will make the decision to abandon their joeys so they can go on to survive and reproduce again in times when greater resources are available. Fortunately for this joey and others like him, your donations are helping to ensure ongoing care for these and many other animals that suffer from the increasing pressures bought on by climate change.
Want to do something to help wildlife that survived the bushfires? Take the nets off your fruit trees. With so much of their native food destroyed, we’re getting record numbers of calls to assist starving Grey-headed Flying-foxes as they turn to backyards in search of food and become entangled in unsafe fruit tree netting. For the flying foxes that are rescued in time, many will spend weeks in rehabilitation before the extent of the damage is known. If blood flow was restricted for too long their delicate wings will slowly die. Dangerous fruit tree nets will become illegal in Victoria from September 2021, but they are still being sold in many stores. Please consider using fruit sleeves to reserve only the fruit you need, or if you must use nets, make sure they are wildlife safe & properly installed. Any net with holes big enough to poke your little finger through can be deadly for bats, birds, possums and reptiles. If you find a trapped or injured flying fox, please don’t attempt to touch it. Contact us immediately and we will arrange for a trained and vaccinated rescuer to attend.
The flames may be out, but the long road to rehabilitation has only just begun. Wildlife carer Bev holds a rescued Kookaburra from the Gippsland bushfires that is unable to fly due to singed wings. He is doing well but will need to be fed a special minced up insect mix for carnivorous birds 3 times a day for a year until his wings grow back. Bev is another of the wonderful wildlife carers that your bushfire appeal donations are helping. 📸: @doug_gimesy Image description: A wildlife carer with a Kookaburra
Congrats to organisers and supporters of this week’s Down to Earth Festival for fire and climate relief! At last count you’ve raised over $1 million to be shared between a number of charities working on support, recovery and climate action following the devastating bushfires. It was an honour to be part of such a special day 🙌 A huge thanks to all of the amazing artists who gave their time and talent to this event, everyone who went along to support them and an extra special shout out to @jack_river , @tashsultanaofficial , @gangofyouths and budding wildlife rescuer Steph from @handsometours who we understand were driving forces behind the day. You rock! 🤟
Only a few months old and these two Wombats have already had their lives saved twice. Both were orphaned when their mothers were killed in car accidents, and then when their wildlife carer’s home was threatened by bushfire they were evacuated to another wildlife shelter in a safer location. Judging from this photo, they’ve settled in pretty well! Image description: A wildlife carer holds two Bare-Nosed Wombat joeys.
Rebuilding is going to be a big job for wildlife shelters who lost everything in the bushfires, but the work is already underway. At @wallabiawildlifeshelter , Jo and a young Eastern-Grey Kangaroo survey what remains of their home. Thank you to everyone who donated to our Bushfire Appeal, your support is already helping shelters like Wallabia Wildlife Shelter and many others to get back on their feet. 📸: @doug_gimesy
It has been a difficult summer for wildlife carers and shelters. While the focus has first been on assisting wildlife carers directly affected by bushfires and extreme heat events, Wildlife Victoria is aware there are many other shelters who take on sick, injured and orphaned wildlife day in and day out. A Wildlife Victoria Rehabilitator grant will soon be available for any authorised wildlife carer or shelter to apply for. Image description: A young Ringtail Possum at feeding time
Wildlife carer & rescuer Lyn Button has seen the fires encircle her town in East Gippsland, destroying thousands of hectares of forest. Lyn is a member of the CFA and undertook training so that she could be part of the official response to wildlife affected by fire, but like other trained wildlife rescuers, she has not been called on to be part of the response. Wildlife carers are calling for a greater emphasis on an early response to wildlife in emergencies, to reduce suffering and to ensure timely rescue and treatment of injured animals. Lyn holds Smokie the Swamp Wallaby Joey whose mother was hit and killed by a car while fleeing the fires. Donations to our bushfire appeal are assisting Lyn to care for wildlife and support feed survivors in her area. 📸: @doug_gimesy Picture description: Wildlife carer with a swamp wallaby joey
Since 2014, Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service has received calls for help to assist over a quarter of a million animals across nearly 400 species, many of them critically endangered. Demand for our Wildlife Emergency Service has almost doubled in the past five years. Your donations to our Bushfire Appeal are already financially supporting more than 30 shelters to get back on their feet, as well helping rescue groups to support feed surviving wildlife. 📸: @doug_gimesy
A very lucky escape for a Lesser Long-Eared Microbat that accidentally landed in grease inside a roller door. He was rescued, degreased and is recovering well thanks to the wonderful care of @microbatsofmelbourne . These teeny tiny bats can be found almost everywhere and help keep insects under control. They often roost inside roof spaces and under umbrellas, but because the noise most of them make is too high pitched for the human ear we don't even realise they are there. It's really important that you never touch a bat: if you see one in trouble, please call our Wildlife Emergency Response Service on 03 8400 7300 so that we can send a specially vaccinated rescuer out to help.
Meet Kerry, one of nearly 300 orphaned Grey-headed Flying-Foxes that donations to our bushfire appeal have been helping to care for these last few weeks. He's building his wing strength and learning to climb tree branches in preparation for his release back into the wild in a few weeks time. Kerry's Mum died in the record breaking heat that killed more than 4,500 flying foxes from a single colony in just one day. Flying foxes are a threatened and keystone species: they're our forest pollinators and each flying fox pollinates around 60,000 plants every single night, so we desperately need every one of these amazing creatures to help regenerate all the habitat burned by the bushfires.