Animal: Common Wombat
Name: Matari; means ‘little man’ in Aboriginal.
Age: 8 months
I became Matari’s surrogate mum in early January when he was only about six months old. He was under-weight, stressed and had lost patches of fur.
His first port of call was a visit to Taronga Wildlife Hospital for a full health check. Luckily he was pretty healthy and the vets said he could with me that night with a prescription requiring a quiet, warm place to sleep and lots of love and care. I thought ‘That, I can do!’
The three hourly feeds started and I watched him calm right down, become relaxed and begin to show his big personality. Within weeks, Matari started to eat solids, mainly carrot and when taken outside on the grass for a play I was so proud to watch him instinctively start digging in the dirt and eating some grass and grass roots! He was growing up!
Wombats are active after dark, he plays most of the night in his pen and for the first few nights till I got used to the new noise in the house, he kept me awake between feeds.
He makes a fair bit of mess, between the half-eaten grass and dirt scattered around in his pen and going to the toilet throughout the night. There is usually a big clean-up to be done first thing in the morning before work, which means getting up early as I am at Taronga by 6.30 am most days.
There’s a lot washing too. Not nappies but something similar - woollen and cotton ‘pouches’ like wide pillow cases, and towels too which I use to keep him warm, cosy and comfy.