Southern Cross Wildlife Care - Critters of the Month - 2014

Curated by Lynleigh Grieg 

 Critter of the Month - January 2014 - curated by Lynleigh Greig

Cecil's Story

Cecil the Diamond Python was rushed to us at 10pm on a Friday night in October of last year by Sonja Elwood, one of Sydney Wildlife’s finest volunteers. 

He was halfway to heaven...

With severe stomatitis of the mouth, multiple inexplicable body wounds, a crushed tail and pneumonia, we thought he wouldn’t make it...!

Dr Ralph started working on him immediately to clear away the pus from his mouth and tongue (which was completely cut off by exudate). He had to extract pus from all the way down his respiratory tract. One of his eyes was also severely shrunken and shrivelled. We weren’t sure it could be saved.

After an hour of intense treatment, Cecil was sent home with his carer. His prognosis for recovery was somewhat guarded...

After a week of antibiotic injections, daily administrations of sub-cutaneous fluids and daily gum-scraping, Cecil was starting to look more human... Well, reptilian...!

Even his shrunken eye was showing promise.

He was always very sweet and patient throughout his treatments and only huffed and puffed every now and again to express his humiliation.

Once he started to feel better, we had to address his tail issue. When he’d presented with a crushed tail, we’d hoped the antibiotics might help, but things didn’t improve so the decision was made to amputate the end of his tail to prevent it getting in his way.

He was anaesthetised, the procedure undertaken and the wound sutured.

He was taken home by his carer and put to bed.

Cecil’s first skin-shed caused much excitement! A good shed is a sign of a healthy snake. This is his beautiful skin which we will keep as a souvenir and to remind us of this gentle soul who placed his safety and life into our hands.

Here is our beautiful boy catching some sun beside his carer’s pool. You can see how well his tail healed. 

His recuperation period so far has been 9 weeks.

Would you believe this is the same animal? What a handsome boy!

Cecil is having his sutures removed on Thursday and then he is free to go. As we don’t know where he originated from, he will have to be released in a place where we know he will be safe.

A wonderful member of the public in Avalon has offered him a home in his glorious backyard where there is ample space for him, many native trees for him to climb and lots of sunny spots for basking. 

Good luck, Cecil, you are a wonderful boy but please stay out of trouble, young man...!

Thank you to the member of the public who found him in his hour of need, thank you to Sonja Elwood for rushing him over on a Friday night and thank you to Nick who will be keeping a watchful eye on him in his new home...

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - February 2014 - curated by Lynleigh Greig

Rocky - the pine-cone impersonator

If you saw this shingleback lizard in the wild (minus the big blue bandage) you might mistake him for a giant pine-cone! 

Shinglebacks are widespread in New South Wales from the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, but do not occur naturally in Sydney. They prefer a semi-arid climate, where rainfall and humidity are low.

Rocky was found far South of Sydney and brought to us with a gaping hole in his side. The hole was so large that we could see right into his chest cavity and could even see his exposed ribs and tiny lungs!

We’re not 100% sure how he acquired the wound, but we believe he may have been bitten by a fox or other feral animal.

Dr Ralph anaesthetised Rocky and spent an entire hour cleaning debris from the wound, flushing out any foreign bodies and filling the wound with vaseline gauze to keep the area moist during healing. Rocky was given fluids and antibiotics and his wound was dressed.

Due to the gory nature of the wound, we decided not to publish the photos from his first consultation.

With a wound that size, Rocky’s future was uncertain...

Every second day, Rocky was given antibiotic injections and his wound was cleaned and re-dressed twice a week. 

It was interesting to note that his appetite was not affected by his injury...! He ate large quantities of vegetables, snails, mealworms, chicken and his favourite... lychees! 

This is his wound after 4 weeks of healing.

This is Rocky’s wound after 8 weeks of healing. 

He was very pleased to have the bandages permanently removed and enjoyed the freedom to bask in the sun unencumbered by vet-wrap and micropore.                               

Look at this little face... It’s difficult to see from the photos what a character Rocky is. He earned rock-star status with his legion of adoring fans! Everyone who met him, fell instantly in love with him. 

We’re thinking of starting a Facebook Fan Page for Rocky ha ha ha :)

Unlike most lizards, shinglebacks tends to be monogamous. Such pairs have been known to return to each other every year for up to 20 years! So, Rocky, your mate is waiting for you to come back to them and we will make sure you return to each other soon...!

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - March 2014 - curated by Lynleigh Greig

Esther’s Lucky Escape

Early one Tuesday, whilst already on a snake call-out, I was rung to collect an injured black-bellied swamp snake from a vet in Forestville. The little snake had been brought inside by the home-owner’s cat and was suffering from bite-wounds to at least 3 parts of her body. 

I rushed over and administered an antibiotic injection immediately. 

Our prognosis for small snakes that suffer cat-bites is usually very guarded. It’s not often that they pull through - which is very sad. 

Esther, however, had a feisty little spirit and we had high hopes for her.

Once in the surgery, she was given a warm bath in an antiseptic solution and placed on a heat-mat to begin her recuperation. 

Every second day, we administered antibiotic injections and she became stronger and stronger. Despite being quite spirited, Esther was always a pleasure to treat. 

Black-bellied swamp snakes are also known as marsh snakes. They are usually less than 1m long and can vary quite a bit in colouring - usually an olive green, but sometimes brown in colour. They have two white stripes along each side of their face - one above the eye and the other on the jawline.

Once Esther had undergone a course of antibiotics and was nice and strong again, it was time for her to go back to the wild.

We took her back to her original location and then looked for a safe area of bushland close to where she was found.

We found a mini-paradise - with beautiful bracken ferns, a babbling creek and the song of splendid fairy wrens.

When we released her, she turned around as if to say “thank you”. 

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - April 2014 - curated by Lynleigh Greig

Hook, Line, but Luckily no Sinker...!

Nobody knows how long poor little Nelson the Seagull had been suffering with a fishing hook inside him.
He arrived at the surgery with his rescuer on a rainy Wednesday morning, seeming reasonably alert. During his initial examination, Nelson entertained himself with pecking at Dr Ralph’s fingers. Having been unable to ingest solid food for a while, we think he was feeling rather ‘peckish’...!

This X-ray clearly shows the fishing hook in his digestive tract.
Nelson was anaesthetised and an endoscopy undertaken to ascertain the exact location of the hook. The operation to extract the hook from inside Nelson took at least an hour and he required about 30 sutures internally and externally.
He was given subcutaneous fluids, B-complex and some long-acting antibiotics.
This is the moment the hook was extracted. This really is not an object you’d want to have lodged inside your body!
Little Nelson in recovery with Dr Ralph. He has iodine around the operation site, to prevent infection. 
Much of our wildlife suffer horrific injuries as a result of being caught in fishing lines, ingesting fishing hooks or being trapped in netting. Please be a responsible fisherman and adhere to these easy tips:

Responsible Fishing to Reduce Wildlife Injuries (extract from NSW Department of Industries):

1. Avoid using unattended lines and check your crab traps and nets regularly. 
2. Using crab traps and nets when fishing towards an estuary’s headwaters has a higher risk of interacting with platypus. Consider moving gear further downstream.
3. Avoid bird feeding and nesting areas.
4. Avoid using stainless steel hooks which take years to break down in the environment.
5. Collect and dispose of any discarded fishing line, hooks, other gear or rubbish.
6. Cut discarded fishing line into small pieces to avoid entanglement in case birds and other animals scavenge rubbish bins.
7. Don’t leave ANYTHING behind. Even plastic bags can prove fatal when sea turtles mistake them for natural jellyfish prey. 

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - May 2014 - curated by Lynleigh Greig

Frank says: “I Did It My Way”

Tawny Frogmouths are often mistaken for owls, but they are actually more closely related to the nightjar family. They are nocturnal birds that hunt at night and roost all day in a branch-like pose for camouflage. They feed almost exclusively on insects. They eat moths, crickets, grasshoppers, snails, slugs etc.

Frank the Tawny was in a very bad state when he first came in. 

He couldn’t stand upright, he couldn’t perch, he couldn’t keep his food down and he absolutely couldn’t fly. 

When put him on the ground, he would flop forward with his wings out. We were very concerned that he had rat lungworm -Angiostrongylus catonensis.

Rat lung worm or Angiostrongylus catonensis is a parasite that mainly lives in rodents such as rats and can infect snails and slugs that come into contact with infected rat faeces. Tawny frogmouths (and many other animals) can be infected when they eat an infected snail or slug.

We kept putting Frank on a perch but his legs would just buckle and he’d fall off. 

We immediately began treatment for Rat Lungworm disease. He had to had Ivermectin to kill the parasites, an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics. 

After 5 days of treatment, we found Frank sitting up on his perch! Major progress!

But he still wasn’t able to fly and still had a weird gurgling sound to his breathing.

Dr Howard Ralph gave him a thorough check-up. He checked for any abnormalities. He checked his faeces and swabbed his throat for signs of other problems.  He was given an antimicrobial and mucolytic to treat any respiratory infections.

A week later, Frank was flying out of his enclosure and all over the room!

It was time to move him from here:

To here: the outdoor flight aviary.

Frank spent 2 weeks building up his flight muscles again.
After nearly 5 weeks in care, Frank was finally released. And he flew like an angel!

Well done, Frank! But stick to eating moths... No more snails, please...!

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - June 2014 

Encounter with a Dangerous Human Primate

The animal that can illicit the most negative emotions in human primates is the snake.  To say they are misunderstood is the understatement of the century.  Why do so many people fear them?  Is it because they are so anatomically different to humans?  Is it the way they move?  Is it the idea of being bitten?  Whatever it is, this fear causes humans to act irrationally, hysterically and sometimes downright stupidly at the sight of a snake.  

Poor Fango, the red-bellied black snake, was minding his own business, just passing through someone's backyard on the way to find some food.   On sight, the home-owners felt the overwhelming need to grab a shovel and slam it into this innocent creature's body.  Why?  "Just in case it bit him"...  

Basically every animal (including humans) has the ability to hurt/bite another.  Most, however, choose not to.  It's the same for snakes.  Every snake has the ability to bite, but most choose not to.   Contrary to popular belief, snakes don't wait in ambush and attack humans as they pass by...  In fact, they are happiest to stay out of sight and actively avoid any human contact.  If you happen upon one basking on the pathway, it will invariably slither away on approach.  
This photo shows one of the injuries sustained by a shovel-wielding human.

Thankfully Fango managed to get away from his attacker and a different member of the public called Sydney Snake Catcher for help.  Fango's rescuer - Rob Ambrose - scooped the poor injured animal into his arms and rushed him over to us.  Dr Howard Ralph immediately anaesthetised him and began to assess his injuries.  The first shovel-strike had almost severed his tail.  The second shovel-strike had almost transected his spine.  Sadly he had to have the end of his tail surgically amputated.  The spinal injury was less simple.  The wound was cleaned, debrided and cleansed with antiseptic.  He was given a long-acting antibiotic injection and pain management.  His ability to recover mobility beyond the spinal injury will only become evident over time.  

Whilst Fango was under anaesthetic, Dr Ralph was able to check his hydration levels.  Subcutaneous fluids were administered.

Fango in recovery after his operation.

After his procedure, Fango came home with me for care and ongoing antibiotic treatment.  Every day he is given some exercise so that he can learn to re-engage the part of his body that had been injured.  He has to have daily baths in antiseptic solution and antibiotic injections.  Despite these daily 'torture' sessions, Fango remains sweet-natured.  He has his weekly check-up with Dr Ralph next week and will hopefully have his sutures out. 

Fango in 'stealth' mode...  He thinks he's hidden from view under his own chunky body.

This animal should hate humans after his awful experience with them.  But he has never shown any aggression.  Why do we assume that because he's venomous, he's bad?

Some facts about red-bellied black snakes:

The Red-bellied Black Snake was originally called a crimson-sided snake.  
The average-sized specimen is 1.2m - 1.5m, but can reach lengths of up to 2m. 
They are often found near water and are excellent swimmers!   
Their diet consists primarily of frogs.  They also prey on reptiles and small mammals and sometimes even other snakes, including those of their own species.
Although they are venomous, they are not an aggressive species and their first form of defence is always to escape.   They are often just moving through your property and should just be left alone.
Red-bellied black snakes are ovoviviparous, meaning that they give birth to live young in individual membranous sacs. 
As many as 40 babies can be birthed at one time.

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - July 2014 

Basil the Bandicoot
Bandicoots have been getting a lot of bad press lately. They have been blamed for the spread of ticks and the spread of salmonella. They are always getting criticised for leaving holes in people’s precious lawns. But did you know, that bandicoots do a lot of good things:

1. By digging holes in your lawn, they are aerating it;
2. By foraging in your lawn, they are eating up all the curl grubs, insect larvae and other lawn-munching pests;
3. They gobble up Funnel-web spiders with relish!
The myth that bandicoots spread ticks is simply not true. They have a relatively small home range compared to other introduced animals such as foxes and feral cats. Foxes and cats wander much further and are more likely to spread ticks than the bandicoots which stay close to their nests. The reason people associate bandicoots with ticks could be because humans tend to pick up ticks most easily in long grass or thick scrub - which happens to be the type of habitat favoured by bandicoots.

Allow us to introduce you to Basil, the long-nosed bandicoot. Such a dear little chap. We’re not entirely sure how Basil got himself into trouble, but he came to us from another vet who’d ascertained that he had a broken jaw and had taken the trouble to wire it for him. 

Basil would be requiring daily high doses of antibiotics and - being a bandicoot - this was not going to be easy for his carer. As such, we decided to put Basil under anaesthetic and put in a cannula through which his antibiotics and daily fluids could be administered, without the need for painful injections etc. 

At the beginning, Basil wouldn’t eat with his wired jaw and he had to be given lots of subcutaneous fluids. Luckily, he soon regained his appetite and began gobbling anything in his path!
Basil’s jaw remained wired for 3 weeks. He would make a loud “chuff chuff” sound every time we flushed his cannula - expressing his displeasure at being pestered during his naps. We also noticed that Basil had a very loud snore!
When it was time to remove the wire from his jaw, he was taken back to Dr Howard Ralph for a general anaesthetic.  The wiring was taken out and he had his cannula removed.

This photo shows Basil having a post-operative cuddle with Dr Ralph.
Bandicoots tend to only live for 2-4 years in the wild. They are territorial and usually solitary. The female stays in a fairly small area to forage and mate, but males have a bigger territory and mark and defend their territory quite actively. 

Bandicoots breed several times during the year. Females can give birth to as many as five babies, but usually only one or two survive. Their gestation period is only 11 days - the shortest of any marsupial. The young are born as tiny ‘pinkies’. They travel through a cord attached to their mother's womb to reach the pouch. Here they drink milk from the mother and grow until they are large enough to leave the pouch. At about three months they can begin to live independently.

Bandicoot pouches face backwards, to stop dirt entering the pouch when the mother digs.

We think bandic! oots are wondrous little creatures, going about their business at night - guzzling insects and their larvae and ridding us of venomous spiders. If you have one in your backyard, enjoy the benefits they bring and appreciate the fact that such a darling wild animal has chosen your garden as his/her sanctuary.
Basil will soon be on his way back to his original home where he will resume his job as chief insect-muncher :)

Good luck, little man!

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - August 2014 

Little Lulu
Little Lulu was snuggled up in her Mum’s warm pouch. It was a Thursday night and it was very cold. At around 10pm her Mum decided to cross to the other side of the Wakehurst Parkway to find fresh foliage for dinner. 

She didn’t make it to the other side...

The driver of the car that hit her didn’t bother to stop. 

Thankfully, a young lady on her way home from basketball training saw the poor brushtail possum on the side of the road and decided to stop and check for pouch-young. And there she was... Little Lulu - named after her wonderful rescuer. 

Little Lulu was attached to her Mum’s teat and could not be coaxed off it. She was brought to us in her dead Mum’s pouch and we began the task of removing the little furless possum from the mother she would never see. She was so young her eyes were n! ot yet even open and her tiny body was still pink and devoid of fur. 
The most important first step was detaching her from the teat. If joeys are pulled from the teat in a traumatic manner, they can sustain brain damage. Instead, we put a safety pin through the teat and cut it away. Little Lulu kept the teat in her mouth for almost 8 hours thereafter. The safety pin prevented her from swallowing it.

The next step was warming her up. She was placed into an artificial pouch (which was first rubbed in the mother possum’s pouch to provide her scent). Then she was placed inside a woollen beanie and onto a heat-mat in a warm basket. You can’t attempt to feed a tiny baby if it is too cold. 

After an hour of warming her up, we tried to feed her which was difficult as she wouldn’t relinquish her mother’s teat! She managed to drink a few mls of lactose-free milk and drifted off to sleep.! 

A very traumatic night for a tiny possum weighing only 80 grams.
We fed her every 3 hours throughout the night.

We gave her a “buddy” in the form of a fluffy penguin toy and rubbed her furless body with wool fat. It’s important to insulate them to prevent dehydration. 

Day by day, little Lulu has been growing and her eyes are beginning to open. Sadly she will never lay eyes on her possum Mum but her adoptive human mother adores her and takes care of her needs 24 hours a day. 
Baby possums need company to thrive. Not human company, but possum company. It was vital for us to find her a buddy.

Enter little Layla - another little girl orphaned when her mother was killed by a car as well. 
Thankfully they have each other now.

If you hit an animal on the road, please stop to see if they can be helped. If they are a marsupial, please check for pouch young. Often the pouch protects them and they are spared the same fate as their Mums. 

If big Lulu hadn’t stopped to help, little Lulu would’ve died slowly - cold and alone. Thank goodness for the wonderful caring people of the world. Lulu and Layla will grow into big healthy possums because someone cared enough to stop and help them.

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - September 2014

          Toddy the Intrepid Turtle...!                       

Toddy’s story of adventure started long before she arrived at our surgery one Tuesday evening. 

We were just finishing up some skin graft surgery on a brushtail possum when a lovely young WIRES carer, Shari, rang up and requested an appointment for a turtle with a damaged carapace (shell). It had been a long day, but Dr Howard Ralph never turns away any patient in need. And thank goodness... We were in for a treat with Toddy!

As soon as she entered the surgery, she was like a little whirlwind. Busy busy busy. Couldn’t sit still to be examined; managed to tear up the surgical drapes on the examination table whilst attempting to escape; did ‘air treadmill’ whilst we held her off the ground... Sheesh - she was on a constant quest for adventure! No time for an injury!

We realised straight away that she was not from around the Sydney area - being a Murray River Short Neck Turtle. We figured she must be an escaped or released pet. But we would have to worry about that later. 

What she needed now was some immediate treatment. 
Dr Ralph was pondering how a little turtle could sustain such an injury. It looked like a blunt-instrument trauma. Or the result of a fall onto a protruding object. 
He put her under General Anaesthetic and began cleaning and debriding the wound to reduce infection. He then set about lifting the crushed section to reduce the pressure on the underlying tissue. Then he pieced the bits of the carapace back together with steri-strips and Tincture of Benzoin - like a puzzle. She was given antibiotic injections to reduce the likelihood of infection and some pain management. 

Straight after her GA, she was awake and knocking on her box to be let out...!
Dr Ralph wrote a note on her ‘puzzle’ band-aids: 
“Do Not Touch.”
He decided to keep her overnight for observation and we posted up photos of her procedure on our Southern Cross Wildlife Care Facebook page that night. 

That was when the pieces of the ‘other’ puzzle began falling into place... 

One of our followers on Facebook recognised Toddy from the photographs... She had, in fact, been babysitting Toddy for seven months whilst her family holidayed around Australia in a caravan! We were beginning to see where her sense of adventure came from...

And then she escaped.
And now for the first part of Toddy’s story - as told by her human Mum, Tanya:

“ After travelling 37,000km around Australia on a 7 month family caravan adventure, Grace (11) and Saffi (8) were looking forward to seeing and loving their sweet turtle, Todina again. Little did we - or her babysitter - know that Todina had other cunning, turtle-y, awesome plans...

On the very day of our return to the Northern Beaches Todina escaped her holiday abode and went journeying through the torrential August rain.  The search parties were called out into the rain - looking and looking... And all wildlife organisations were notified of the lost chelonian.” 
“We tried to be positive and hoped for the best.  The kids said she could be somewhere hiding in the Newport bush... Well, didn't we see the biggest smiles when Todina was rescued 11 days later and taken to the wonderful wildlife vet for fixing up!  We still can't believe she survived and all the local kids think she is turtle-y awesome.  What is equally awesome is the person who picked her up and the beautiful veterinary surgeon, 
Dr Howard Ralph, who fixed her injured shell.  We think it might be fun to organise a fundraiser for Southern Cross Wildlife Care as we are so grateful to them for helping Toddy in her time of need.” 
These gorgeous photographs of Toddy and her family were taken and supplied to us by 
Maggie of Menagerie Photographs.

Some of the local neighbourhood kids and Grace with her beloved pet - happy to be reunited :)
Well, Toddy - what do you have to say for yourself? If you could talk, you could tell us what you did, who you met and the adventures you undertook during your 11-day excursion.

We see that sparkle of adventure in your eye... 

Northern Beaches residents - keep an eye out for this little critter!
With thanks to Tanya and the Leishman family for allowing us to share their story. Special thanks to Maggie of Menagerie Photographs for the beautiful images.

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - October 2014           

Marshmallow Melts Hearts

This darling little black-bellied marsh snake became the victim of a cat bite a few weeks ago. She was found cowering in fear under someone’s bed after being dragged out of the garden by the family cat and dropped indoors.

Thankfully the cat’s owner us rang straight away and we dashed to their house. Immediate treatment was required to ensure that Marshmallow’s life was not prematurely cut short. 

She was bathed in Betadine and warm water to remove all traces of the cat’s saliva.

Then she was given antibiotic treatment and subcutaneous fluids.
Did you know that the saliva inside a cat’s mouth is toxic to most small native animals? Without antibiotic treatment, they will die a slow and horrific death. 

Black-bellied marsh/swamp snakes are small, secretive snakes found in moist areas, wetlands and creeks (or well-watered gardens). Their diet consists mainly of frogs and skinks. Marsh snakes or Swamp snakes vary considerably in colour, from olive green to dark brown with a black or grey belly.  They are often mistaken for Brown snakes.  Marsh snakes have two white stripes on their faces that distinguish them from Brown snakes. They can only reach lengths of about 1m.

They are classified as mildly venomous but are not considered dangerous to humans or their pets. They use their venom (which is modified saliva) to subdue their prey. 

They are extremely reluctant to bite. We don’t recommend, however, that anyone pick up a snake. We have trained professionals who are able to identify snakes and their character traits.
Marshmallow had weekly check-ups with 
Dr Howard Ralph to ensure that she was recovering sufficiently. 

As you can see, she is very sweet and friendly - not at all scary. She allowed Dr Ralph to examine her thoroughly and didn’t misbehave at all.

Look at the gorgeous ‘racing stripes’ on her cute face: one above her upper lip and one beside her eye. Her colouring is also quite exquisite. Her little black belly is quite a contrast to her green upper body.

Two weeks after her ordeal, Marshmallow was released back to the wild. 

We do hope she stays away from cats, dogs, foxes, kookaburras, owls, humans and cars from now on...

Did You Know? 

Did you know that the normal fear of snakes is calledherpetophobia ? 

Did you know that the abnormal fear of snakes is calledophidiophobia ?

Did you know that many people believe that snakes are slimey? The truth is that their skin is completely dry to the touch. 

Did you know that snakes are not cold-blooded? Cold-blooded would suggest that their blood is always cold. Snakes actually can’t control their own temperature and rely on external sources to warm their blood. The termectothermic is more appropriate as their blood is warmed by external sources. 

Did you know that snakes shed their skin in one long piece? This process is known as ecdysis .
What to do if you find a snake : 

1. Don’t panic
2.    Keep people, children and pets away from the snake
3.    If the snake is outside, keep an eye on it and call for advice
4.    If the snake is in a room, close the door to the room it’s in and call Sydney Wildlife

Sydney Wildlife:  9413 4300
Snakes have every right to be here and should be treated with respect. 
Do NOT attempt to kill ANY snake!!!  It is illegal and dangerous. Generally, a snake will only become defensive if it is threatened. Leave them and they will tend to move off of their own accord. Or call Sydney Wildlife to have the animal relocated.

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critter of the Month - November 2014           

Fore! Beware the ball, Chippy...!

We were fascinated by the choice of name when Chippy came into the surgery with a wing injury. 

Her rescuer had named her Chippy as she was found on a Golf Course in Cromer and had wanted to name her something that was associated with golf. We suspect that poor Chippy was on the receiving end of an off-course golf ball...! She was referred to us by the veterinarian at a local practice who had x-rayed her and strapped her wing to reduce the pain caused by the fracture. Her x-ray showed that she’d sustained a broken radius and ulna in her right wing. 

A wing fracture isn’t an automatic death sentence for a wild bird. Far from it! It only takes 3 weeks in some decent strapping for the fracture to almost heal entirely.                                          

Despite her scary facade, Chippy was a model patient. She even gained 20% of her original body weight whilst in care...! She was happy pottering around in her enclosure and being fed fuzzy mice and mealworm meatballs.

There’s not much to do when you have a fractured wing which is strapped. Well, so we thought until Chippy laid an egg!

After 3 weeks in a ‘cast’ Chippy was brought back to Dr Ralph for a check-up. Kindly, Elanora Heights’ veterinarian did an x-ray for us as our machine was down.  The x-ray showed that the radius was completely healed and the ulna was well on its way to healing. One more week in care to build up her strength was all that was required. 
Almost 4 weeks from the day she came in, Chippy was on her way to freedom! 

This is her beautiful rescuer and carer, Tiere, setting her free.

Stay clear of wayward golf balls, Chippy...!
Tawny Frogmouth Facts:

Many people think that Tawny Frogmouths are owls. They are, in fact, members of the nightjar family.
Tawny Frogmouths mate for life. When an egg is laid, the mum keeps the egg warm all day and the dad takes over at night.
They catch their prey on the wing. This means that they catch their prey in mid-air. They eat many moths.
They make themselves look very long and sleek during the day to camouflage themselves as branches!

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care

 Southern Cross Wildlife Care Critters of the Month - December 2014           

SCWC Christmas Message

What do you want for Christmas? The latest iPad? An overseas holiday? An X-Box 360? We all want something...

What would you want if you were a bird or a sugar-glider or a koala? 
I’d want to keep the tree that my house was made in, where my food grows and where I get protection from predators.

What would you want if you were a snake? 
I’d want to be respected for keeping down the rodent population and thereby reducing diseases. I’d want to be left alone, not harassed and attacked with a shovel.

What would you want if you were a kangaroo or a wallaby? 
I’d want to have enough space and habitat to be free and to be adored for being uniquely Australian.
Sadly, many of our precious native animals will not get their Christmas wishes...

Instead many will be left homeless when their tree-homes are chopped down. They will be forced to search for different food sources as a result and will then be persecuted for becoming pests. Many will be injured on the roads as more people are travelling to get to their holiday destinations. Some will be left to die and some will be orphaned... 
Dr Howard Ralph of Southern Cross Wildlife Care, his wife and dedicated band of volunteers will be bracing for the Festive Season. Knowing that it will bring many little victims of increased traffic, injuries from loss of habitat and often heinous acts of cruelty.

It is a difficult time of the year for them.

If you are wondering what gift to purchase for someone: another bottle of perfume? a bottle of wine? yet another box of chocolates...? 
Why not rather consider donating to the needs of our precious wildlife on that person’s behalf?
Giving a koala the use of his leg again after being hit by a car; giving a ringtail possum the use of her tail again after having it half sawn-off by a chain-saw; giving a powerful owl the gift of flight again after sustaining a fractured wing... Wouldn’t that be the perfect gift?
Southern Cross Wildlife Care will be on duty 24/7 throughout the Festive Season to save and care for the animals who do not get their Christmas wishes.

We would like to thank all our emotional and financial supporters for allowing us the opportunity to save little injured paws, little hurt tails and precious little lives.

Take care these holidays. 

Let’s make it a happy season for everyone, including our wildlife :)

By Lynleigh Greig
Southern Cross Wildlife Care