Rocklily Wombats

Mange can be treated in Wild Wombats

1. Treating mange

A mange kit can be purchased from our online shop treating one wombat fully for $30 .
We ( Dianna & Warwick) are happy to answer any questions, or look at photos you have concerning mange or wombat issues in general.
Email or call us (02 48435933) for information and any questions. We can also point you in the direction of your local wildlife carers and help with wildlife issues.

Lil Rusty Shed before treatment, first sighting.

Treating mangy wombats in the wild is a relatively new thing. It’s not difficult, and once you have put the treatment flaps in place, you can leave them there. Be aware: wombats bite, and you can catch mange if you cuddle the wombat (pick it up) or crawl into the burrow. It’s scabies and treatments for people are available from a chemist. It is thought we brought it here in the First Fleet!

Please note treatment is not allowed in some states without a veterinarian’s advice. We help you treat mangy wombats in conjunction with a vet, and hence insist on photos of the wombat before you get started, as not all wombat skin conditions are caused by mange.

Conditions of supply of this treatment: As part of an ongoing study, we ask you for at least 2 photos per wombat during the treatment of these wombats, plus a screen shot of the completed chart.

One photo at the beginning allows us to determine that it is definitely mange and that it is still treatable. The second and future photos after a few weeks of treatment are to see how things are going. If you can get a photo as treatment continues, and get a sighting, then a report on that would be great too.

Lily Rusty shed now improving with treatment all the crusty manged skin and fur has come off. Around her eye looks great

This treatment has been paid by us personally. The 100ml of Cydectin costs $14 plus bottle postage, hand made flap, metal pegs  gloves we charge $30 on our online shop per kit. We’re really happy to be able to supply you with this treatment kit at no charge, but would be really appreciative of a donation, to allow us to treat even more wombats.  Please note it’s a slightly different if you are going to treat a group or number of manged wombats and we will help you with that as well.

The mange treatment kit contains:
-   An information leaflet for treatment and a pdf on Cydectin
-  ‘Flaps’ made from ice cream lids and drink bottle tops with string attached (simple to copy yourself)
-  2 pairs of blue disposable gloves, they are chemical resistant and available from supermarkets
-  Wire pegs to peg flaps into the ground above burrow, and string
-  100 mls Cydectin to treat the wombats you have told us about
-  A syringe to measure the dose.

The Cydectin: See the information about this on the PDF included with the treatment kit.

Cydetin: The ONLY one to use is “Cydetin pour on for cattle and red Deer” is available from Rural supply stores and online 500ml about $98 2lt is about $280 also avail in 5lt, 10 lt and 15 lt at around $1,100. (ouch!) Anyone can buy Cydetin, please check carefully what you are buying.

Here are some helpful downloads. We are really happy to help you treat your wombats, regardless of if you buy a kit from us or purchase the products and make your own flaps. It’s about he wombats firstly.

Treatment of mange in wombats rocklilywombats

wombat Info mange roclilywombats

make a mange flap & treatment by rocklilywombats


Keep in a secure place away from animals, sunlight, heat and children.

-    Do not get Cydectin onto yourself. If you do, wash with warm soapy water. You will need to get yourself more disposable chemical resistant gloves (nitrile).  Use a plastic bag to put gloves in after you’ve used them, and dispose of the bag in the bin. You can leave the bottle in a plastic bag and just open the lid, tilt flap towards you and let it slowly straighten as you fill the lid.

You can put a drop or two of food dye in the lid first if you’re using a few flaps and need to use different colours, or in the bottle. This is so you can see if you’re getting the wombat or just the ground!  Use different colours in different flaps so you can see where the wombat’s going and if you have more than one wombat. Don’t use anything other than food dye.

-    You will be applying to the wombat once per week for at least 8 weeks then every 2 weeks for an additional 8 weeks (a total of 12 treatments over 16 weeks).

You should only be seeing wombats with hair regrowth when you go to fortnightly and they should not be out in the daytime at all by that stage. If you can’t do it weekly, treatment is possible but will take much longer, as there is time for mites to build up again between treatments, but it will work. Call us to discuss. You can assume sometimes the wombat will not get a treatment. Do not discontinue too soon, if it’s not cleared completely it will just re-infest.

- 8 treatments weekly, first week 8mL then the rest at 4 mL
- 4 treatments fortnightly at 4 mL

-     If after the first 4 weeks you are still seeing wombats wandering around and not improving you will need to move the burrow flaps to a burrow that has maybe recent digging, fresh wombat poos or signs they have entered. Place sticks or ferns at burrow entrances to see if its  active. Wombats often move around burrows when the treatment starts. Any questions or problems contact us, always happy to help.

-    Using a wildlife camera will enable you to see if the treatment is working, it’s lots of fun checking out what’s around in both daytime and night time when you are not there. They do not need to be expensive, around $120- $200.


2. Treatment stick: when wombats are out in the daytime!

If you see mangy wombats out in the daytime, it’s worth applying the dose using a long stick.  We will be advising you about the actual inital dose size!

Creep up downwind of the wombat and pour the treatment onto the back of the neck. he will probably scamper off, watch as this might leed you to his burrow.

- Taping a bottle with a lid/soap powder scoop to a long stick allows you to slowly (downwind) approach a wombat with mange and pour the dosage onto the spine, where there are no thick crusts to prevent it from soaking in.

- Tape the bottle on at about 45 degrees, so after taking the lid off you just need to rotate stick for the dosage to pour on.

- Store with the end in a secure plastic bag when not in use, well away from animals and children.

- Get it on his back where the hair looks good, this way it will best soak into him, rather than on the scabby part.  After about 2 or 3 treatments you won’t see him anymore as he will be feeling a bit better and not coming out in the day.

- After treating with the pole follow the wombat to see where his burrow is so you can flap it, or a fence he is going under, as after 2-4 doses he will not be out in the daytime as much and be more difficult to find.

- It is important to continue the treatment using the flap once you can no longer find the wombat.

 Treatment flap:

when wombats are hard to find in the daytime as they get better!

Once they feel better they are not out in the daytime, and you need to find a burrow, pathway, or fence line they use.

- After treating with the pole follow the wombat to see where his burrow is so you can flap it, or a fence he is going under, as after 2-4 doses he will not be out in the daytime as much and be more difficult to find.

- Burrows might have fresh dirt and diggings and/or wombat poo’s around (square-looking poo). You can tell if a burrow is in use if you put some bracken/ grass blocking the entrance so it will be pushed aside if a wombat enters. Not all burrows have fresh diggings. Look for animal trails in the bush with wombat poo, and you should find a burrow or two.

- Using wire pegs, hang the flap so the base is about 30 cm from the ground. Spud demonstrates the flap in action, piping Cydectin on his head & down his back.

- Hang flaps in fences where wombats track through or under the shed, house or where ever they are going.  Block extra space with logs or rocks to direct wombats into the flap.

- Use Cetrigen or similar from rural supplies to keep flies off wombats, it’s also antibacterial for any small wounds when the mange scabs fall off.

- Leaving a bowl of water near the burrow is helpful as the wombat will be extra thirsty due to the mange. Put a large rock in it to help prevent it being tipped over, or rocks around it. In dry times, splashing  buckets of water around weekly on nearby grass will help give the wombat food as well.

Bracken placed in front of burrow to see if a wombat is using the burrow

Spud demonstrating how a treatment flap works. As the wombat pushes under it, the flap tilts and the 4mm dose in the drink bottle cap is tipped down the wombats back.

4. What to expect: as wombats get better !
You will see variations of this, if the wombat is getting worse please contact us again.

- Depending on how bad the wombat is in the first place you will expect to see the mite scabs slowly fall off, sometimes leaving a small amount of fresh blood if the wombat has scratched it off. You can apply Cetrigen to these. Use of food dye will help you determine if it’s on the wombat or the ground.
- Slowly, fine new hair will grow, as the wombat improves. Don’t stop the treatment early, mites last 3 weeks in a burrow, so the wombat can get easily re-infected unless the 12 treatments (16 weeks) are done.

Recovering wombat.

Before a wombat starts looking better he will often look worse as the scab’s fall off leaving bear skin and often bleeding like on the cheek before hair grows back. Treat with centigen spray. Careful of eyes


4. Public awareness ideas

Get stories in the newspapers and put up signs where you are treating mange. You need permission to treat wombats from the landowners and in NSW it must be done in conjunction with a vet. I am in contact with a vet with all the mange treatment kits we send out.
John, another carer with Wildlife Rescue South Coast, has been doing some great public awareness efforts with signs about his mange treatment work and roadkill.

John puts his signs up all around area of Wombat, so no-one called in shooter

This helps people felt part of the win against Mange with this one. Good publicity for your group and Wombats!
Great success! This is where a wildlife camera will be of great use. To SHOW people the improvement with photos on the sign and help me with identification work











5.  Our story treating mange at Rocklily
At Rocklily we have been treating and helping treat mange in many wild populations of wombats since March 2009.

We have both sizes of wombat, large (30+ kg) and smaller (about 20 kg) of common or bear-nosed wombat.  Colours vary from black thru various greys and rust colours with one 35 kg albino (golden colour) male found dead without apparent cause.

We have known we had a problem with mange in wombats since our purchase of the property in 2003. Our enquiries then lead us to believe shooting was the only real option for the really mangy wombats we saw wandering around on death’s door. However, I had continued to watch out for information which eventually led me to the Wombat Protection Society and the thesis by Skerritt in 2009. The area with mangy wombats appears to be 1 km wide by 3 km long following a creekline and grassy area.  Rocklily homestead is in the top 100 m of this rectangle. The treatment area to date is 300 yards wide by 600 yards long.

We spent 18 months treating our wombats, and we appear to have successfully eradicated mange. Since late 2010 we and other locals have only ever seen healthy wombats on our night vision cameras. We keep a steady watch, ready to start treating again but it’s been some time thankfully, and we have moved on to other projects. We still keep an eye out for it as foxes could easily spread mange back to Rocklily.

Below is the first stage of mapping burrows and putting in flaps on part of Rocklily. With all those burrows we think we had only 6 wombats! Many had died of mange, but the population was probably only 8 or so. We eventually found over 70 burrows!

Wombat Survey

Wombat Survey

6. What is mange?

Mange in wombats is generally fatal. It’s a mite called ‘sarcoptes scabiei var wombati’ (there are many sub-species). We think it came in with the the First Fleet on foxes and with people. On people it’s called scabies, you can buy products from the chemist to treat people. Koalas get it on their feet and are unable to climb, so eventually die of starvation. Other species like dogs and foxes catch mange although it is not so often fatal.

The mite is easily spread, mainly by foxes who spread it between burrows and populations of wombats. With the mite lasting around 2-3 weeks in a burrow it infects all who enter. As wombats and foxes share burrows it is easily spread.

The adult female mite, having been fertilized, tunnels into the skin, and lays its eggs causing intense itching from an allergic reaction to the mite, and crusting that can quickly become infected. The female then dies at the end of a tunnel. The tunnelling is carried out using the mouth parts and special cutting surfaces on the front legs. While these are being used, the mite anchors itself with suckers on its feet. Eggs are laid in small numbers as the mite burrows, and, as these hatch, six-legged larvae climb out on to the skin and search for hair follicles, where they feed and moult. In the hair follicles, the larvae show the first nymphal stages, with eight legs.

Larvae then moult into nymphs, and nymphs into adults (males become adults directly, females moult again and so they live longer and are about twice the size of the male). During this cycle the mite feeds off the wombat’s blood serum which is the main contributor to the debilitation of the wombat. Once the nymphs have turned into adults they make their way back to the surface of the skin—creating more tunnels—where they mate and the cycle starts again. The life cycle of the mite is approximately two to three weeks.
This is why treatment takes a number of weeks as it is not just the initial batch of mites on the wombat that need removing, but taking into account the life cycle of the mite and the various burrows the wombat frequents.

Sarcoptes is a genus of skin parasites, and part of the larger family of mites collectively known as “scab mites”. They are also related to the scab mite Psoroptes, also a mite that infests the skin of domestic animals. Sarcoptic mange affects domestic animals and similar infestations in domestic fowls causes the disease known as “scaly leg”. The effects of S. scabiei are the most well-known, causing  “scabies”, or “the itch”.

Although the life-cycle is only about two or three weeks, individual wombats are seldom found to have more than about a dozen mites on them to start with. Even so, this number can cause agonising itching, especially at night, and severe damage to the skin often comes as a result of scratching, in particular by the introduction of infective bacteria.

Signs are first seen around the eyes and on the sides of the wombat, often in a ‘ribbed’ pattern. The intense itching, hair loss, skin thickening and crusting, with the resultant scratching, can cause damage to the skin. Finally the wombat scratches so much that it exposes raw flesh, weeping with blood serum, creating wounds and scabs. The wombat becomes blind and deaf due to the crusting and there can be secondary infections due to the deep wounds and even fly strike. The wombat becomes weak, its immune system unable to fight the ongoing consequences of the mite, becoming to weak to feed properly. It becomes dehydrated and thin. We understand many internal organs are also affected and currently there is a study into this so we can know more definitively when it’s too late and inhumane to start treating a wombat that will only die anyway.

Death is the outcome for a wombat without treatment. Treatment needs to start before the wombat has infections and is too weak to eat properly. Apparently debilitated wombat mothers often reject their joeys once they can no longer care for them and the joey could probably have mange as well. So it is worth checking around for a joey.

Entire populations of wombats can be wiped out by mange. But now we know that if it’s caught early enough it can be treated in the wild. This is great, because it’s difficult to treat adult wombats in care as the stress can be counterproductive and the wombat can die from stress.

Mange is spreading—it’s now in some populations of southern hairy-nosed wombats, although the few remaining northern hairy-nosed wombats do not have it yet.

Mange will be an ongoing issue as mangy animals will move into the area looking for water and grass as they get sicker. We call these guys ‘travellers’. We are now looking at expanding into other properties in the area in our efforts to eradicate the deadly mange in wild wombats. This includes the ‘Treatment of Mange’ course we hosted in March 2009, the distribution of leaflets locally, and wherever we go to show that it can be treated. We constantly give out, or mail our treatment kits, so we know that the ‘mange is treatable’ message is spreading.

Mange in wild wombats can be treated with a simple flap, and a weekly treatment. Treating the wombat early means it has a better chance to recover. Please note this is not allowed in some states without a veterinarian’s advice. We help you treat mangy wombats in conjunction with a vet hence we insist on photos of your wombats as not all wombat skin conditions are caused by mange.
We are always happy to talk to anyone with mange or suspected mange, or other wombat issues, or any wildlife issues. Warwick & Dianna (02) 48435933.


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