this one’s serious

I got home just before 4pm on Friday afternoon to find the dogs barking at something at the back fence. It was a tasmanian devil.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Firstly it was daylight, secondly I’d never seen or heard a devil in this area, and third, the dogs weren’t really carrying on… the devil had obviously been here for a long time.

It was only small, a female, and she was growling at the dogs but she was sick. She had a huge tumour on one side of her face which was bleeding in one spot and had a huge hole leaking disgustingly green pus. The eye on that side was squeezed almost shut. She was thin and her back and rear legs were motheaten with mange.

I started calling anyone and everyone I could think of to come catch and help her. I called a neighbour who does wildlife rescue, no reply. I called the vet. They gave me the number for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. They sent out a guy from Hobart to catch her. He works for Save the Devil and volunteers for Bonorong.

My job was to make sure the devil was safe and to keep track of her so we didn’t lose her.

I sat on the porch and waited. Once I locked the dogs inside she moved away from the fence and found a sheltered spot among the reeds near the dam. She then just sat there quietly.

When the guy arrived he went out and managed to catch her without too much trouble.

The horrible news is that not only was she really sick with the tumour, she was also a pregnant female whose babies had died inside her. She was septic. She had to be put down. He was taking her straight to their vet but he said both the tumour and the sepsis meant she had no chance.

I have been heartbroken since. I’m glad we found her and that her pain was ended humanely. It would have been a very slow painful death otherwise.

I’m so sad for the devils. I love all animals, natives in particular. And the tassie devils are really special to me. Them and ringtail possums, quolls and bandicoots. All the ones who are threatened.

What’s happening with the devils, with this disease, is just horrific. I’m considering becoming a wildlife rescuer (seeing as I have so much free time) because I become involved anyway.

Read some of the happy rescue stories here.

I pick up injured animals off the side of the road. I’ve now begun to overcome my fear and actually check fresh roadkill for babies in pouches. I’ve never had the stomach for it before cause I couldn’t face the tragedy of it. So far I’ve found two babies in pouches, unfortunately, both already dead. Even if I manage to save one I’ll feel better.

I just hate it when I see animals dead on the side of the road. Its bad enough if its rabbits or a cat, a possum or a wallaby, but when its the endangered species like the devils or quolls I get really upset. Or echidnas or wombats… its not like they dash out in front of cars fast! People have to literally TRY to hit them!

I wish people would slow down and avoid hitting things.

Anyway… it was capped off this afternoon when the dogs sent up an alert.


Another animal in distress. This time it was a young male wallaby with toxoplasmosis. A disease spread by domestic (and feral) cats which native australian animals have no immunity to. It attacks their central nervous system making them blind and wobby and they slowly starve to death or get hit by cars.

I went out, caught him easily and called my neighbour. Her son (who’s also a wildlife volunteer) came down to pick him up. They’ll have to put him down too.

Ahhh, the fun of living in the country!


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