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Short Term Care

Rescue and Short Term Care for Bare-nosed Wombats
It  is important to remember that an injured, sick or orphaned wombat, as with any  wild animal, will be distressed when caught.  It is very important that  it is kept in a dark, quiet place, away from children and family pets.  

Injured  adult wombats shouldn't be approached by inexperienced handlers.  Wombats  are very powerful and can be very aggressive leading to severe injury if the wombat feels it is threatened and attacks the rescuer.  It is advisable  to stay away from an injured adult wombat and to call a wildlife organisation  or experienced wildlife carer.

If  the wombat is very sick or unconscious however, pick it up by placing your arm  under its forelimbs, across its chest. Pick the wombat up with its back toward  you and carefully place it in a large box or crate or wrap it in a blanket.

Do  not allow the wombats temperature to rise above 28C as wombats cannot tolerate  high temperatures.

If  the wombat looks as though it has Sarcopitic Mange then you must ensure that the animal doesn't  come in direct contact with your skin, as the parasite can be transferred to humans  (although usually it is self limiting). If possible wear a raincoat or wrap the  wombat in a blanket. After rescue the raincoat should be thoroughly cleaned with  disinfectant and it is advisable to throw away or burn any blankets used. Mange  is highly contagious.

Wombat  joeys can be extremely difficult to care for as they are prone to distress which  can kill them.  An experienced carer is urgently needed and you should call  a wildlife organisation, individual carer or take the joey to the nearest veterinarian  for assistance.

It  is essential that the joey is kept warm.  If the joey is unfurred  it needs to be kept between 28C to 30C degrees (not higher and not lower), so  you will need the aid of a heat source.  

A hot water bottle can be used in  an emergency, but will need to be regularly filled with hot (not boiling) water.   If a water bottle is used it will need to be wrapped in a towel. A heat pad is  a better option.  

Make sure that you warm the joey slowly (over a period of 2 hours) - over heating  is as detrimental as under heating.  Place the joey in a cotton slip, eg:  a pillow case, and then wrap in warm wrapping such as woolly jumpers, and put  it on top of the heat source - never put a joey directly on a heat source as you  may cause detrimental heat stress.  Place a thermometer inside the cotton  slip so that you can check the temperature.  Put it in a dark quiet place  so that it can "de-stress".

If  the joey is furred put it in a cotton slip, and then in warm wrappings.  The temperature should be 28C - no higher!  Put it in a quiet place and leave  it alone to calm down.

Do  not feed any wild animal for at least a few hours after rescue - they need to  have their stress levels reduced and  too much human contact can send them  into shock.  Additionally, it is very important that you do not feed a cold  animal as any food will not be digested properly and the wombat may die. If the  rescued wombat is cold you will need to warm it very slowly (over a period of 2 hours) - if you warm it too  quickly it may die from heat-stress related complications. An animal that is badly  injured or sick will not want to eat.  If this is the case, just leave the  wombat until an experienced carer can collect it, or take it to a veterinarian.

A  joey should never be fed cows milk as they are lactose intolerant and it  will kill them.  A joey can be fed Di-Vetalact or Formula One which are universal  milk replacers and can be purchased at most veterinary clinics.  

Just  remember to use your common sense when caring for a wombat.  You are caring  for a wild animal, it is not a pet.  

Keep pets, family and friends away from  the animal at all times.
Fourth Crossing Wildlife
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