den: (Seriously)
Earlier this week I rescued a barn owl from a mob of angry peewees. The poor owl was sitting on the ground and getting pecked at high velocity by angry peewees, who were taking it in turns to dive on him. I took the owl to the zoovets and left him there.

Yesterday I received a call from the Zoo to tell me the owl was ready to be released. So last night I stood in the dark with a towel wrapped around my hand to give a very grumpy owl something to dig talons into. He leapt from the towel and.. fell to the ground. His left wing didn't work, buggerit. Recapture involved a lot of running, towels, talons and much grumpiness.I put him n the box.Again.

This morning I took him back to the Zoo. As I walked into the information centre I was met by BenTheVet who happened to be there.

"What have you got this time? He asked.

"Barn owl."
"Another one?"

"No. The one you sold me yesterday was faulty, so I'm returning it under warranty."

He laughed and said "I'll see if I can find you one that works."

At that point the manager of the information centre made a little "eep" noise and hurried over. "Don't talk like that!" she said in a rush. "Visitors will think we're selling animals!"

So the owl is back in a cage at the wildlife hospital while the vets investigate why an unbroken wing doesn't work. I hope it works out for the owl.
den: (puggle)

Feeding Bob
Originally uploaded by battyden
Feeding Time for Bob. After slurping down about 1/4 of his body weight, he appears to go to sleep in his ICBINEM. The only sign that he isn't asleep is his pink tongue, snaking its way through the milk as he sucks in the last dregs.


More photos )
den: (Rescues)
Blue faced honey eater. He still won't fly and I don't know why. Ben the Zoovet is looking to place him in the aviary out there.

Sacred Kingfisher. He's self-feeding ICBINMW and catching tiny shrimps and fish I get from the Department Of Primary Industry. DPI have some murray cod and trout-cod in their hatchery, and send a crew out twice weekly to catch shrimp and food fish to supplement the hatchery food. Once a week a large Bucket O Swimming Food turns up on my front door. The DPI guys are really happy to help the kingfishers they see on the river.

Peewee. Down to one peewee now. It's been a steady string of unfortunate moments and sad bodies in the bottom of cages.The birds know when a chick isn't viable and simply kick them from the nest. It's nature. Think about this next time someone says we should get back to nature.

Quail. Possibly a juvenile red-chested quail or stubble quail, rescued from circling crows. She stands maybe 2" high and spends her days hiding under leafy branches in the bottom of the honey-eater cage.

Pugsley. He spends his days in his tub, swimming through the leaf little and not surfacing except to drink water. Noisily. At 6am. Schlurrp Schlurrp Schlurrp bubblebubblebubble Schlurrp Schlurrp Schlurrp bubblebubblebubble ... long pause... Schlurrp Schlurrp Schlurrp bubblebubblebubble Schlurrp Schlurrp Schlurrp bubblebubblebubble. I dig him out to go walkies in the yard, which he enjoys. Polly doesn't, though. She remembers Fips.
den: (Rescues)
Sacred Kingfisher

A young, almost-juvenile sacred kingfisher. He is still young enough to gape at anything that moves, which means feeding him isn't the fight I usually have with kingfishers. Hopefully I'll get him to self feed meal worms and I Can't Believe It's Not Meal Worms from a tray. He hasn't been long out of the nest and is quite fat. Rehab looks good.
den: (Rescues)
Seriously unimpressed, not at all amused Tawny Frogmouth. I picked him up from a vet today who said he was releasable, but I notice that Aggro doesn't have much of a tail. Whether he lost it or is just young I do not know. I'll try a release tonight and see what happens.

Ooh! I can feel him glaring at me through the wall.
den: (rescues)
Flynn. Just as grumpy and hungry as ever. He is putting on weight well and should be ready to ge next weekend.

Blue Faced Honey eater. Her movement to the big cage was delayed because I need it for...

Two magpie juveniles. One I picked up today. He is quite upset about this and fights me when I try to feed him. The other is Boyde, who was released two weeks ago and turned up at home this afternoon, thin and with a drooping wing. He glided down into the yard, begged for food, ran over to the cage and climbed inside. I'm certain he would have slammed the door shut if he could. He's seen the Wild, and wants nothing to do with it.

Two welcome swallows. They are about the same age, but the one I've had since Sunday perches, flaps, and begs for food and calls out like mad. The one I picked up today huddles into the nest and has to be force-fed.

Polly. She ran onto another stick and cut her tongue. It's nowhere near as bad as last time, but it's enough to make her very subdued and off her food. She will, however, scarf down her liver jerky treats. I'm giving her lots of that.

Pugsley Bob. Yes, this year's favourite monotreme is back in my care for a few days while his mum heads off into the wilds to examine bushfire damage for National Parks. Mel should be back on Saturday. Bob is still about the same size as when I last saw him but his spines are quite prominent.
den: (rescues)
Flynn, the goulds wattled bat. He is finally self feeding putting on weight. I just drop a tray of meal worms into his bat tent and he goes mad on them. I have to wear latex gloves when I feed him, not because he is vicious, but because he is such a hungry guts he latches on to the first worm-flavoured thing he smells which is usually my fingers.

Blue faced honey heater. She was raised by another carer who didn't have a large aviary for flight training. The next week or so will see the bird transferred to increasingly larger cages so she gets used to flapping.

Welcome Swallow. This tiny chick fell out of its nest this morning and landed in my care. It's feathered but not yet flying. I have about 1 week of intensive feeding to get it to flapping age, and then it'll be off to The Wild.
den: (rescues)
Pink tongue lizards are the lesser-known relatives of the blue tongue lizard. They are found in thick bush along the east coast and are semi-arboreal.

Pink Tongue Lizard
And they do have a pink tongue.
More photos )
den: (rescues)
There is a classification system WIRES uses when we assess injured creatures: cause of injury, the injury, and the creature's fate. This afternoon I had to hike* along the concrete path that runs along the river bank from the centre of town to the zoo. There was a cockatoo caught in the tree. The cause was Entanglement (EN), in this case fishing line had tied the bird to a branch high in a tree. There was no apparent injury that I could see (NA), apart from the fact that the bird had died before I arrived (DI) and was swinging in the light breeze. This movement lead the caller to think the cocky was struggling to free itself, and when I took my glasses off and squinted at the body hanging 30m off the ground, I could make the same mistake.

I called the 'rescue' in to the phone monitor and we came to the conclusion that there was no way we could have rescued the cocky; the branch was hanging over a deep water-hole in the river. While I was on the phone I noticed movement in the sky behind the body, and realized a pair of wedge-tailed eagles were circling over the town. I told the monitor and she joked about "I wonder who's chihuahuas they were hunting." We laughed.

As we reminisced about the young eagle of Trundle and the Shrinking Pack Of Chihuahuas, I became aware of a fellow path-user shouting something. I turned to him. "Sorry?"

"Snake!"

"Where?"

"THERE!" He pointed. No, he pointed in my direction. Hang on... he pointed AT MY FEET. I looked down.

An eastern brown snake had emerged from the thick grass beside the path and was now about a foot away from my foot. The snake continued to emerge before stopping at my feet. Its tongue flicked out and touched my shoe.

At this point Instinctive Den leapt from his cage and, powered by adrenaline, began to scream and flail. Before he could do something stupid, Rational Den and Shit-Scared Den tackled him and shoved him back into the cage and wrapped it in a fluffy blanket. I really wanted to leap and flail and scream but that is exactly the right thing to do if you want to get bitten. I didn't, so I didn't. So my sweat glands took on the job of flailing and in seconds I looked like I'd run a marathon, dripping and wet from standing still.

The snake continued to emerge from the grass and passed in front of me. It even used the toes of my shoe to aid its slithering to the other side of the path. It started to disappear into the grass to my left. I looked to my right and the snake was still emerging from the grass there. The path is 2m wide and the snake was hanging over both sides. After a moment the emerging end started to thin, and then it was just the tail. And a few seconds after that, it was gone.

I became aware of a voice in my ear. I was still on the phone. "What?"

"Are you okay?"

"Yes! A bit freaked out but unbitten." I decided it was now a good time to head home and drink more Jack Daniels than I would normally drink. And that is exactly what I did.







*a whole 200 metres
den: (rescues)
A couple of hours ago I was breaking a young kid out of the medium security Juvenile Justice Centre on the edge of town. He was a young little red flying-fox, and had smacked into the mesh security fence around the centre some time last night. He managed to hang on but in his struggles one leg had become twisted and he couldn't let go of the mesh.

I was signed in at the front desk and had to leave all my "contraband" ie phone and camera. So no photos. Then Ivan The Guard escorted me through two security gates, paused at the loading dock to pick up a long ladder, then through another set of security gates and into the exercise yard. None of the juveniles were around because it was feedinglunch time, so it was just Ivan, me, and high in the fence, the bat.

The fence is 4m high, with the top 1m being taken up by a round anti-throw-over drum. The bat was immediatly below the drum. This was a) handy because he was shaded by the drum, and b) worrying because he was 3m from the ground, hence the ladder. I helped Ivan set up the ladder, then climbed for several hours though the clouds into the stratosphere to the bat. The flying-fox was grumpy and generally unhappy to see me. As usual.Which was fine, because I was unhappy about being up a ladder high enough to be badly injured or seriously killed should I fall.

"Hi! I'm Den and I'll be your rescuer today."

"Grr! SHREIK! Snarl snarl hiss grr."

It took me 20 minutes to work the flying-fox's claws out of the wire and my arms felt like they were going to fall off, but I did it! The bat was securely wrapped in a towel and I worked my way back to the ground.

Next stop was the Zoovets, where I left the bat in their care. Vet Technician Jane liked my gloves. I may be innoculated against Lyssavirus and Rabies, but I am not innoculated against teeth, the pain, the gashing arteries and the spurting blood. I'll know Monday if the bat is okay. His wings are fine but one of his legs looks a bit odd from being twisted for so long.

And there wasn't a camera crew in sight. Bugger!
den: (Photos)
Lucky bat is hanging on. He seems to have improved and is active and squeaking again. I hope he'll survive, but I know in my heart that he probably won't last the night.

In the meantime, something grumpy. )
den: (rescues)
The Kingfisher has an injured wing but it's not broken, so a week of R&R and grumpyness at his rescuer is all he needs.

The three peewees are growing fast and can be transferred into the big cage to get some flappage in. THe big cage is still filthy from the magpies so I'd better clean it out on Saturday.

The little bat was bouncing off the walls of the tent last night, so I let her go.

I needed the room. )
den: (rescues)
I stood with the owner, looking at his swimming pool. Bobbing in the centre of the pool was a pacific black duck and five ducklings. "I don't mind them," said Mr White. "It's just that there's a cat next door and I don't want it to get the babies."

"The other problem is that the ducks are vegetarian," I said. "And there is a serious lack of pond weeds in your pool."

He looked at the sparkling blue water. "Yes. I suppose the chlorine won't do the ducks any good, too."

"No." I hoisted the leaf net and considered the strategy. The plan was to catch one duckling, hassle it a little to make it peep so that the mum tries to rescue it, then net the mum while she was distracted. After that we could just scoop the little duckies in the net. As it turned out the capture was much easier. As soon as I entered the pool enclosure she huffed at me and put herself between me and the ducklings. I tried to get closer, she swam at me, and I dropped the net over her. The next 30 seconds were filled with much spashing, flapping and quacking, then suddenly I was drenched and holding a very grumpy duck. I put her in the box and stood back. She called and the raft of ducklings in the centre of the pool swam over.

I moved the net into place and the duckings immediately dived under water, scattering in a starburst formation you usually see at air shows. They popped to the surface and gathered in a raft. After a few more attempts I realized this wasn't going to work. The next time they dived I chased one underwater with the net, so that as the duck popped to the surface the net rose up around it. Fifteen minutes later I had a box full of duck and duckings.

I took them to various places along the river but it was full of kids escaping the heat. In the end I drove to Butlers Falls reserve 10km out of town. I carefully tipped the box onto its side, opened a door and waited. A few seconds later the duck came out and looked around. She gave me a dirty look and made a soft "Kwit kwit kwit!" noise. The ducklings came out of the box and flollowed her into the river. Two minutes later they were lost in the willows on the opposite bank.

I love rescues like this.
den: (bats)
Fritter now weighs 5g, up from 4g when I got him. 1 gram doesn't sounds like much but it equals 25% of his original body weight. I noticed he's getting teeth when he got too excited this morning and grabbed a fold of skin in his mouth. I can sympathise with mothers feeding teething babies and that was the tough skin of my hand; I can't imagine what a bitten nipple would feel like.

No, I am not going to experiment with Fritter.
den: (bats)
Fritter is a juvenile, pre-flight western broadnosed bat. He'd fallen from his roost and was found by a fisherman. Fritter was hanging onto a bridge pylon about 10cm above the river. A hungry murray cod was circling below. Another few hours and Fritter would have been fish food. He was very thin and thirsty when I got him, so a quick feed of Biolact was in order.

My first bat for some time!

Right now he is in a recovery tent, hanging between strips of cloth.

And the photos )
den: (peewee)
Three Magpies
One peewee

The smallest peewee died and was replaced by a new magpie.
den: (puggle)
Snorkle still isn't eating properly and I'm worried about dehydration. I took him to a vet for some sub-cutanious fluid injections to keep him going. Right now he is in his box in my room, recovering from the ordeal. Poor little puggle has some big, white welts on his back from the sub-cut.
den: (puggle)
I spoke to the zoovets today, and was rather shocked to discover that whatever I do to raise the puggle will be pretty much cutting edge. There is not as yet an approved method or any "best practise" for raising puggles so small. The zoo has a 50% success rate but they have started with larger puggles. The woman who is considered the country's top echidna rasing expert tube feeds her babies, and has a <40% success rate.

This all lead me to think: "Well... shit. Who do I talk to for advice?" The zoovets and my fellow rescuers have been helpful but have all ended their advice with "Let us know what you did if you're successful."

This is a bit worrying. So here is what I'm doing, and you're reading it here first: Den Invents Very Young Puggle Rearing

Or

Making It Up As I Go.

Tube feeding is out. I don't have the confidence to do that, plus it's totally unnatural. I tried feeding puggle the way I fed Fipps and Rexie, but the puggle kept trying the roll onto its back and ended up covered in milk. And so did I. I had a long think about how it's done in the wild: the puggle clings to the hairy pseudopouch and licks up the milk from the mammery patches. Pseudopouch and oozy mammeries were body mods I was not going to try. I had to fake it.

Puggle needssomething to cling to so I wear loose latex gloves. He clings to the latex while I hold him upside down. Then I use a syringe to put drops of milk on his mouth, a target about 5mm long on the end of a wildly thrashing head. When he tastes it, he stops thrashing. If I'm lucky I can get him to take about 2mls. So far he's staying hydrated (mostly) but he is losing weight: 100g when I got him, 89g today. This isnormal until the puggles get used to the new milk, then they start drinking. New puggle is so tiny that any weight loss is a worry.


And the puggle's name is Snorkle. Photos to come.
den: (puggle)
A baby echidna, about 1 month old. This is the smallest echidna I have ever seen, let alone try to raise. Fipps was twice this size when I got him.

Puggle
den: (Photos)
Bearded dragon showing off his injuries on the end of his nose and behind his eye.

Bearded Dragon

The zoovets pumped him full of antibiotics and held him for a few days. I have him here now for a few weeeks R&R befor I release him.

More photos )

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