Many of us live with dogs or cats. But how would you feel sharing your house with 20 wombats? Well that’s what the girl in this next story does. But it’s all for a very important reason.
They’re furry, cuddly and super cute. But these orphan baby wombats need of a bit of help. Luckily, that’s exactly what they’re getting here.
EMILY: My name is Emily Small, and I live in Goongerah, and my mum and I run the Goongerah wombat orphanage. People know us as the crazy wombat ladies – not our actual names. We raise orphan wombats, or injured wombats that need rehabilitation.
Wombats often run into trouble, especially around roads.
And Emily’s orphanage is a little sanctuary for the ones that need some time to recover.
EMILY: So at the moment we have these two in – this is Hamlet and Lola. I’ve had them for about 2 months. We raise them together cos it’s easier for them. Like they get to cuddle each other, they hear another heartbeat which they’re used to from being with their mum. They keep the right temperature.
Although they’re adorable, they can also be a bit of a handful!
EMILY: I wake up and immediately check on them, they’ll be in their little bed. And they’ve always weed or worse and made a mess so I pick them up, put them in a fresh pouch, put them in the bed to warm up or just to get comfortable in their new pouch. Make their milk, get their bottles ready, feed them. They’re getting fed four times a day, there’s heaps of cleaning to go with that. You can’t have them as pets, you do need a licence and they take an exceptional amount of care and devotion and they’re really hard to look after really, and they’re very destructive – they can’t be living in a suburban household at all.
Things can get a little crowded around the orphanage but Emily says they all get along pretty well!
Well, most of the time anyway.
EMILY: They make a little noise they hiss, they’re like HISS HISS HISS, or they’ll do one like a little high pitched scream like ‘help me mum’. Wombats are the most intelligent marsupial; they have a really amazing memory. They seem really dumb because they can only see about a metre, they have really poor eyesight because they don’t need it – they come out in the dark and they just dig holes and eat grass.
It can be a lot of hard work, but Emily loves her job.
EMILY: They have a three year bond with their mum in the wild, so they’re that affectionate and all consuming of their mother, so I take on that role if I’m caring for them, and it’s really special. They’re cuddly, they’re playful, they’re emotional and sensitive, they’re just beautiful, it is their character that we fall in love with.
And the wombats seem to fall in love with Emily too.
EMILY: When they’re ready and old enough and we think it’s time, we’ll open the gate and they are released like out right here. And every single one will come back home, onto the veranda and they’re like ‘yay I’m back home, can I please have some sort of delicious treat?’ And then they’ll go off and be big wombats at night. The next night they’ll come back all the time, all the time. There’s just an influx of wombats in and out! They bring so much reward and they give so much love. They’re absolutely beautiful creatures.