Some kind and thoughtful members of the public in Pottsville stopped to check and remove a swamp wallaby from the road. The driver of the vehicle that collided with the wallaby probably would have noticed the impact but for whatever reason had not stopped to check the animal. It was fortunate that someone else came along soon after. It was while removing the female from the roadside that they noticed something wriggling on the road not far away and this turned out to be a joey that had been presumably thrown from the pouch on impact and had unfortunately landed on his head.
This little fellow was extremely lucky to have been found so quickly by kind humans as it would not have taken long for birds to have noticed its movements and taken advantage of the opportunity for a fresh source of food, or else he would have surely been run over by another car.
Caroline Sutherland was quick on the scene and was pleased to find that the joey was still warm and did not have any obvious fractures, she made a thorough assessment of him and could see that he had impact trauma to the head and that he would need to have Xrays to assess the damage. Fiona Waite transported him to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital, where she volunteers once a week, and there the wonderful vets did a thorough investigation of the joey’s health and the extent of his injuries. He was found to be a healthy animal with some abrasions and bruising to the head but no fractures. Caroline took him into her capable care but due to house renovations needed to find a more permanent home for him and this is how I came to be the carer for Merlin.
Merlin weighed 371 grams and has been easy to feed from the start, has put on weight steadily and has been a very easy joey to care for. At around 600 grams he started to have a light fuzz appearing as he began to get his fur and started to gain interest in his surroundings. I have found it is at around this stage where joeys can benefit from having a little mate to be with as they keep each other company for the whole day and will often choose to get in the others’ pouch.
The first week of October, a month after getting Merlin into my care, Olly another swamp wallaby joey, only 50 grams heavier that Merlin, came into care after being rescued from the pouch of another motor vehicle victim. It was very fortunate to have two joeys so close in size to pair up and the two have really taken to each other.
Olly is a bit more outgoing and it is usually he who I find has bailed out of his own pouch to join Merlin in his. They are both nibbling on grass and dirt and are ‘finding their legs ’as they try to master the huge springs they have to use for locomotion. This is always interesting (amusing) to watch but it is amazing how quickly they gain control and can get up to fairly high speeds and can change direction with great agility.
I find it very rewarding to care for macropods as they are loving and trusting little animals that all have different personalities and express different habits and sometimes quirky behaviours.