Female Pademelon joey in care
Pademelon's are wonderful animals to have in care, once settled in they are very trusting and sweet. As they grow they become extremely inquisitive wanting to explore and live life to the full extent.
This little female Red-Necked Pademelon came into care on 18 November having been found in her dead mums pouch. Unfortunately this is often how they are found, by someone stopping to check a dead animal on the road. It is beyond me why the actual motorist did not stop when hitting the animal, surely you know if you have hit an animal. We can only be thankful for the wonderful people that stop and check even though they did not have anything to do with the accident.
This little joey is just 4 months old, she is what we call velvet or fine furred as her fur is not yet fully grown, she will be fully furred in about a month. Her weight was 325 gram on arrival and she is putting on good weight daily.
She is at the stage of development where she would have started to venture out of mums pouch for a very short time, literally in and out. This is how macropod's start to strengthen their legs by hopping out then back in as their legs are not yet strong enough to carry their weight for any length of time, also controlling those long legs with extremely efficient "springs" is something that takes time to master.
She spent about 5 days with me before she felt secure and relaxed enough to venture out of her pouch, and it was as expected just in and out. I had to help her back in to the pouch as in the wild mum lean down in order for the tiny one to hop back in with ease, learning to hop back into an artificial pouch takes a bit of getting used to.
Once she has mastered getting the in and out of the pouch she will be moved out into the nursery pen where she will be able to run freely strengthening her muscles whilst growing. She will spend time with other joeys in care and learn how to interact with others and what is acceptable in her world.
She will be bottle fed special macropod formula and her pouch will be her security, it is where she will spend most of her time in the coming months. She will eventually choose not to use her pouch as she would in the wild where her mum would discourage her once old enough to stay out. In care it takes a bit longer but nature and natural behavior is such that as long as the joey is given the ability and not humanised, it will develop all the skills as it would in the wild, including leaving its pouch at the same time as the wild reared joey.
It saddens me to see many hand reared joeys having a very hard time when the time comes to leave the pouch, being frightened, frightened by nature, frightened by others of their own kind, depending on their human carers for security. All of these unnatural traits are due to the carers inability to let the joey develop naturally, wanting to nurture the animal as if it was a pet, or indeed a human child . We have to remember at all times these animal are not and should not be treated as pets, they are wild and in order for them to become wild adults with the ability to survive in the wild, we must allow them to develop even from very young in a natural environment with their own kind. Even if not the same species macropod's interact and teach each other just fine whilst in care. They will find their own species once released and sexually mature.
Debilitated Pademelon in care
I was called for advise on a rescue of an adult Pademelon that had been found on a lawn not responding when approached, flies buzzing around the animal.
Facts are that any Macropod not responding when approached is in trouble, the natural instinct of a wild animal is to flee when approached, and flies are always an indication that the animal is debilitated.
When the rescue person arrived on site, he was able to walk straight up the the pademelon, he was also able to see a small joey in the pouch.
I met with the rescuer and took the animal in to care.
As I examined her I could see she was extremely undernourished, she was also blind, which is why she had been unable to feed properly, she was fly blown and slowly dying. She was humanely euthanased.
I could see the face of the joey in mums pouch and he looked bright and alert.
When I removed her joey from the pouch just before mum was euthanased I was shocked as to what I saw. The slightly furred joey was so thin, his eyes were bright and full of life, but his body was literally skin covering bone. A hard decision had to be made, did I do what I most likely should do and have the little fellow euthanased right there and then, or should I try to save him even though I knew it would most likely be a loosing battle. I decided to give it my best and try to save him.
I had expected him to be dehydrated, but he was not, his urine was clear and plenty of it, so after initial fluid therapy as is normal procedure, I started to feed him. He was so hungry the poor little thing and he drank well only being allowed the quantity for his stage of development as over feeding can have disastrous results.
I noticed straight away as he drank the fluid was going straight through him. I hoped this may improve over the next few days, but it did not.
He was simply not able to digest anything at all, he was that debilitated that all attempts to save him was in vain, and after 48 hours he was humanely euthanased.
Sad facts were that not only had mum slowly starved, but so had her joey not able to receive the nourishment needed whilst he grew.