April 5 - 18, 2015: Issue 209

The Brady Bunch or the Shady Bunch?
by Lynleigh Greig
This is like the Brady Bunch - only crazier, furrier and scalier :)

Yes, that’s me in the middle - tearing out my hair...

I’m taking care of 23 injured and orphaned creatures and my house - as well as my life - is a circus...!

What animals do I have, you ask? 
Well, it reads like a shopping list really:

6 possums - all babies
5 pythons
3 bearded dragons
2 blue-tongue lizards
2 turtles
1 baby bandicoot
1 shingleback lizard
1 amputee skink
1 corella (bird)
1 venomous snake (red-bellied black snake)

There isn’t a room in our house that doesn’t have at least 3 recuperating creatures in it...

Being a wildlife rescuer/carer has changed everything about me and my family...

We used to have a clean, relatively spacious car... 

Now my car-boot consists of the following:

snake-catching equipment
a box of rescue towels
a catching bag for wallabies/kangaroos
a net for catching birds
an array of torches for night rescues
a selection of pouches for baby animals
first aid supplies for critters

heat pads, gloves, scissors for cutting creatures out of netting, wire cutters for cutting critters out of fencing, secateurs for cutting foliage...

and the spiders and insects (that used to live on the foliage) that now live in my car...

Our fridge and pantry used to be full of food for humans... 

Now we have:

frozen mice for the snakes

meat-mix for the bandicoots

crickets and mealworms for the lizards

an array of seeds, grains and bird-feeding mixes

insectivore powder

lactose-free baby marsupial milk

lectade first-aid glucose drink

The bath used to be for bathing in; now it houses 2 turtles.

The dining table used to be for dinner-parties; now it doubles as an examination table and occasional surgery.

The kitchen used to be for preparing meals, now it is a production line of medications, potions and baby possum milk-bottles.

Our once-beautiful garden is now covered in cages, aviaries, flexariums, animal pens for exercise etc.

And... we love it!

The animals in care have varying levels of needs. The reptiles are relatively low-maintenance, except if they need injections or other medications. 

The baby animals take up most of my time. 

The orphaned baby ringtail possums and the baby bandicoot need 4-hourly feeds - night and day...! 

Being awake at 2am for night-feeds and again at 6am can be rather exhausting.

My kids help with the perfunctory baby animal cuddles...

My poor husband has given up half his garage to house at least 10 animals in enclosures/terrariums etc. We can only park one car in the garage these days.

This photo is of Galaxy - a gorgeous diamond python with a mangled spine. Somebody decided it would be a good idea to slam their gate on his back to stop him slithering up their driveway... 

He suffered tremendously and will continue to suffer as he will never be completely healed. He also sustained an eye injury.

These two suspicious-looking characters were used as chew-toys by domesticated dogs :(

Many of our little orphaned animals come to us as a result of losing their mums to dog/cat attacks. It is very important for pet-owners to be responsible about teaching their animals to leave wildlife alone. 

Cats should always be kept in at night-time to stop them from hunting wildlife. This is for their own safety, as well as for the welfare of the wildlife.

This little ringtailed possum, Little Jess, is one of 6 that I currently have, that have been orphaned due to domesticated cats.

The blue-tongued lizards and bearded dragons were all bitten by dogs. Their recuperation takes months and is very costly for us. As we are volunteers and receive no Government funding, we would like to see a shift in people’s consideration of our wildlife.

Motor vehicles cause countless deaths and injuries to wildlife. Driving more slowly between dusk and dawn when nocturnal animals are active, would be helpful.

If you do hit an animal on the road, stop and check for pouch-young in marsupials or call Sydney Wildlife for help.

Being an animal activist is the hardest job on the planet.

Nobody likes you for it; nobody thanks you for it; nobody pays you for it.

If our worth is measured by the amount of money we make or the number of fancy clothes we own, then we are worthless.

If our worth is measured by the amount of lives we change or the number of animals we save, then we are truly rich.

 2015 Sydney Wildlife Courses:

Sydney Wildlife members rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife and educate the community about native wildlife and its habitat. If you live in Sydney and are at least 18 years old you can apply to complete a two-day Rescue & Care Course and become a member of Sydney Wildlife. Once you have completed the initial course and gained some experience you can go on to do other specialised training courses. Examples of specialised courses include baby possums, baby birds, flying-foxes (bats), macropods (such as wallabies and kangaroos), Raptors (such as birds of Prey) and snake relocation.

Sydney Wildlife Rescue & Care Course:

Rescue & Care courses entail two full days training; are held every 3 months and are always on a weekend.

2-3 May

1-2 August

31 October - 1 November

However, occasionally additional courses are operated, so keep an eye on the website for news and information about the Rescue & Care Course.

The cost of attending the Rescue & Care Course is $100.00 per person (or $130 for 2 people who live at the same address and will be sharing materials). The fee includes a rang of materials; start up equipment and resources and a license fee of $30.00 per person.

If you go out to work, own pets or live in a unit you can still be a rescuer or carer.

Places are limited so if you would like to train to become a wildlife rescuer and carer, request an information package as soon as possible. If you are requesting a package on-line and don't have access to a printer, remember to inlcude your name and postal address so that the information can be posted to you.

Got any questions? For more information or to register please email training@sydneywildlife.org.au or call 02 9413 4300.

Find out more at: www.sydneywildlife.org.au

Southern Cross Wildlife Care is the other local volunteer organisation that helps save our native animals in our area. 

They are a non-profit charity dedicated to the treatment and care of native animals who rely completely on your donations to continue operating.

If you would like to volunteer and you have specific skills such as medical knowledge or qualifications such as a veterinary degree or veterinary nursing we would love to hear from you. If you have basic training in wildlife care that would also be really helpful.

SCWC could also use your support with other types if volunteering such as data entry, PR/Advertising, promotion and fund raising.

                                                       Find out more at: southerncrosswildlifecare.org.au

Article and Pictures by Lynleigh Greig, and friends, 2015.