Building a wombatorium and a portable release pen
This set of pages has the following information (if you want any further information please feel free to contact us via the link at the top right of the page):
– Wombatorium Build
– Joey/transport box
– Moveable soft release pen
We managed this as a 2-day working bee for 7 people. Basically our wombatorium is 18 roller doors dropped on their sides into a 1-metre trench and bolted together. It contains 2 starter burrows, a large tree for scratching and play, 3 trees for shade, pockets of bracken and nettle (as there is lots of that around) and an A-frame roof over the burrows, plus a human door and a wombat door. We used an additional 1.5 doors for 2 A-frame covers and tin to cover the starter burrow.
Roller doors – You can get free roller doors from most installers as they go for scrap metal anyway. The springs and coils through the middle plus any handles and other bits need to be taken off – this took us about 4 hours. This can all be recycled for free.
Extra materials – We needed hinges and latches for the wombat & human doors, wood to reinforce doors and build A-frame and support the tin in the burrow cover. If you use 1 or 2 roller doors for the covering this would make 19 doors needed.
A trencher – The hole needs to be close to one metre deep and only about 20cm wide. We ended up with a wider trench as that’s what was available locally. We used him to dig the starter burrows and backfill as well – about half a day’s work.
A water bowl – The water bowl needs to be strong.
Tools – A drill and a pile of screws with nuts. We used 2 each end of each door to join. Put nuts on outside; they are a choking hazard.
Extras – Heavy twine or rope with fabric tied to it, to be tied across the wombatorium to discourage eagles and powerful owls.
Here’s a sample schedule:
Day 1 Remove all bits from doors and stack flat in piles, you get a better job if you stack in the same widths so they go up together. We weeded stinging nettles from the area. Draw a paint line for your trencher to follow.
Day 2 Trencher starts digging started burrows first, then, if needed, drags in any large tree stumps needed as play equipment for wombats. Then he can start on the door trench, putting dirt on outside of the burrow, with just the odd one inside to pack any gaps. If you can make it at least 16 doors around preferably bigger is better. Once the digger is out of the way you can start dragging doors into position; you need to pack the base to keep it upright, drilling and joining doors together with 2 screws and nuts per join.
At the same time you will need to build the A-frames plus the burrow covers. You need to make the door before you close it up, it’s easier to get out! So give everyone jobs and keep well away from the digger.
Joey/transport box t
This is to house your small joeys in or move larger ones around. This one was built by Tracy & Jerry and is great. It has wheels on the bottom, handles, a mesh top and an door in the end to release them straight into the burrow. This photo is of Wilber at around 30kg so he makes the box look small. When transporting wombats if it’s warm you need air conditioning in the car and maybe a few frozen drink bottles to keep them cool.
Our Box – We made it to just fit inside our car, so it’s 112 cm long x 70 cm deep x 54 cm high + wheels and has a door in the end like Wilber’s. We have a winter lid with holes drilled in it and a mesh summer lid as wombats do not like the heat. Ours is secondhand 10 ply with 3 coats of varnish on the inside floor so it can be cleaned easily. The rest has 2 coats of varnish.
Moveable soft release pen for wombats
We are using this pen about 2km away to release wombats into an area with no roads or housing. The idea is for them to be fed daily, and they dig out, but still have a burrow that’s ‘theirs’ to come back to while they check out the area and find a new home. If they have not dug out in about 10 days the gate is open so they come and go. At this point they are still fed every 2 days, tapering off over the next week or so. We use cameras to see whats happening in the area and at the release pen. If you put the word out and ask at a friendly tip or metal merchant you might pick this up for very little $. The pen only took a few hours to erect by Phil & Lesley Machin (it’s their pen), Warwick & our son Drew, and Yvonne & Michael whose land it’s on.
Here’s what was used:
– 1 Panel of old Primary school fencing so they can see out. DO NOT use pool fencing as wombats can get their heads stuck. Their head is quite narrow when turned sideways, same with wallabies and roos – gaps should be no wider than about 6 cm.
– Lots of old concrete reinforcing to put on the ground around the inside of the pen, 70 cm to 1m wide by whatever length, and held down by fencing going about 700 to 1m inside pen. Pegging it down helps slow up the diggers.
– 16 star posts
– 15 Colourbond fencing panels. This all fits nicely on a standard trailer, but you can make it bigger! Lay the panels out with the bottoms where they will stand up, slipping the reo under. This way you do not end up with a gap!
– 2 sheets of tin to cover the burrow.
– A frame to cover entrance to burrow to help stop flooding.
– 3 bales of straw to put under A-frame – if it floods, wombats have somewhere snug to go.
– Water bowl, preferably with a couple of holes in the rim so it can be wired to primary fencing so it won’t get knocked over.
– Food bowls
– Cover for food, not that important, we happened to have something.
– Couple of bits of wood to span starter burrow to support tin.
– Large pegs, to secure A-frame roof from blowing away and reo.