1. Treating mange
We (Dianna & Warwick) are happy to answer any questions, and 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.
NOTE; adult manged wombats cannot be bought into care they die of stress. We have treated in care a number of 'teenage' sized wombats with success these are around under about 15 kg
Conditions to treat wild wombat in NSW
- We need a photo of the wombat to confirm its mange and not wombat or dog attack. And that its still in a treatable condition.
- Basic Training over phone. Dianna will go thru treatment options and an understanding of treatment process with you.
- Treatment guide comes with kit and recovers whats discussed and is also all covered below.
- IF at all possible photo's as treatment progresses
Just want to help?
If you want to help there could be a group of wildlife carers already treating mange in your area. They’re always looking for more help, even if it’s just a couple of hours a week. Ask your local wildlife group and join their team. Or you can ask us and we might know if there’s someone treating mange in your area. By just filling a couple of treatment flaps, or even noting local wombat activity in nearby burrows you could save a wombat from suffering a painful death.
There are two treatment options we use for wild wombats
A. One dose treatment with 2 days fine weather ONLY
B. Cydectin multi dose treatment
About the mites
Notify locals your treating
The Bottle -on-a-pole
If you see the mangy wombats out in the daytime, it’s worth applying the dose using a long stick.
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. Down wind is when wind is blowing from wombat to yo so he is less likely to smell or hear you.
– 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. If wombat runs away slowly follow to see where his burrow is.
– It is important to continue the treatment using the flap once you can no longer find the wombat. (for multi dose or while waiting for dry weather)
– 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.
Treatment flaps how to tell if its on the wombat
Is treatment working
You will see variations of this, if the wombat is getting worse please contact us again.
For multi dose treatment what to expect.
Lil Rusty Shed before treatment, first sighting.
General and extra stuff
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!
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.
This treatment has been paid by us personally.
We’re really happy to be able to supply you with this treatment kit at no charge, but would be really appreciative some help, to allow us to treat even more wombats.
The one dose treatment costs us around $65, 250ml of Cydectin $30 plus bottle , hand made flap, metal pegs gloves, syringe, notes and Express postage totalling around $112.00. You can purchase a kit or part of a kit on our online shop we have a couple of prices $35 and $69 these are not the full cost but allow those who have limited means to contribute and allow us to help more wombats.
Please note it’s a slightly different if you are going to treat more than one wombat 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
– 250 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.
Cydectin: The ONLY one to use is “Cydectin pour on for cattle and red Deer”, available from Rural supply stores and online 500ml about $99 2lt is about $280 also avail in 5lt, 10 lt and 15 lt at around $1,100. (ouch!) Anyone can buy Cydectin, 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 the wombats firstly.
– 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) from the supermarket 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 to mark.
Innovative flaps can be made from anything durable and long lasting (wombats can be tough on things!). These Flaps by Phil and Carol are made from the packaging that came with and make a much more windproof flap.
Flaps with deluxe rain lids and cat food cans By Wombat John.
Portable feed and treatment station.
Ideal for use in dry area's using water or hay to attract wombats. High water point on outside for wallabys and Kangaroos so they do not try and enter and get trapped. Size can be anything you want, we make them big as hay needs to be dry and can act as shelter from weather with a corrugated side and the corrugated roof opens. Use your imagination, contact us if you want to discuss. the flap has a treatment cap in it and wallabys and kangaroos do not like pushing things so they tend to stay out. We train all our wombats to use these wombat doors, makes fr easy release and any future treatment.
What to expect: as wombats get better!– 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.
Before a wombat starts looking better he will often look worse as the scabs fall off leaving bare 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. NOTE; adult manged wombats cannot be bought into care they die of stress. We have treated a number of 'teenage' sized wombats with success these are around 10-15 kg
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!
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.
Water and mange treatment station
with dry times manged wombats are often far from water and we have been trialing this extra large feed station to supply water and quality hay to manged wombats. Mesh sides with a tin roof to keep hay dry and wombat can stay out of weather as well.
-There is a water feeder for kangaroo’s so they do not attempt to get into the feed station this is on outside up hire, wired on so wombats don’t push it up and empty.
-Water for wombats inside doorway. Flap initally wired up untill wombat is accessing water and hopefully hay. Once he is you can put the flap down and put cydectin for mange treatment in dispenser glued into door.
– Portable place on wombat track’s for that wombat you just cannot track.