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REHABILITATION
Long Nosed Bandicoot

EMERGENCY CARE
In this specific case, the following steps were taken for this Long Nosed Bandicoot:

  1. At the carer's home, the Bandicoot was examined in a quiet room with subdued lighting. The normal temperature for mammals is 35-37degC. As this bandicoot was warm to touch no external heating was provided.

  2. A high-energy fluid of 2ml of Lectade Bandicoot into 23ml cooled boiled water was given in a syringe. (If Lectade is unavailable 1 tspn Glucodin to 250ml cool boiled water can be given.)

  3. The bandicoot was wrapped in a towel and gently held as her wounds and scratches were bathed in warm, salty water and Otoderm (a veterinary skin and ear cleanser) was applied twice daily.

  4. The Bandicoot was inspected for paralysis ticks as Bandicoots are one of the tick's hosts. Large ticks were removed - Bandicoots are immune to the paralysis tick poison.

  5. Wombaroo Small Carnivore Mix sprinkled on a couple of soaked dog biscuits were offered in her cage. Water was provided as well as some well ripened chopped fruit and vegetable pieces and greens, and some mealworms.

  6. The cage which simulated her natural environment with soil, a lot of leaf litter, some rocks etc. was covered with a dark towel and placed in a darkened, quiet room well away from any noises and domestic animals. Bandicoots can also be housed in a large aquarium simulated as their natural environment with a ventilated secure lid.

  7. The mother-to-be Bandicoot visited the Vet early the next morning who prescribed an injectable Amoxil as dog and cat saliva is toxic to native animals. Fortunately the scratches were only superficial as Bandicoot's skin does not recover well if sutured.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
It was vitally crucial for this adult bandicoot to be in care for the shortest possible time as they are extremely stressed by a change to a captive environment. During this time I contacted another wildlife carer who had experience with Long-Nosed Bandicoots coming into care. The accommodation available for any wildlife that comes into care needs to be as close as possible to its natural habitat to encourage rehabilitation with minimal stress and handling. In this “case study” the Long-Nosed Bandicoot was housed alone. No domestic animals were permitted near the animal and very limited human contact was made – only the necessary checks and to ensure all her needs were met eg, feeding, hygiene and safety.

RELEASE
This is an important time for wildlife following rehabilitation and the following steps were taken:

GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS
For the purpose of this paper Queensland Government Regulations will only be discussed. All Australian States have different regulations pertaining to their specific and unique environments. Under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992, prepared by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, a Code of Practice for the Care of Orphaned, Sick and Injured Protected Animals is available for Wildlife Care Volunteers.

These guidelines outline various aspects of wildlife care and it is important that all wildlife care volunteers be familiar with the contents. All Wildlife Carers need to approach the Queensland Department of Environment for a Wildlife permit or authority application. The Environment Protection Agency contact phone numbers are Brisbane (07) 3202 0200 and Burleigh Heads (07) 5535 3855.

These permits need to be completed for each animal in care and forwarded to the closest Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service office that is listed in the local telephone directory. It is very important to keep correct records of each animal in care as this can also assist with veterinary care.

Inspections may be made by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and if a Wildlife Carer is found to be giving inferior care, not attending to the relevant paperwork or not have adequate housing and equipment, the Wildlife Carer will no longer be permitted to take in any further wildlife and fines may be applied under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 if this is not adhered to.

HEALTH AND SAFETY
Bandicoots are the main natural host for the paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus, although a variety of other native and introduced animals can also act as hosts. It is said that bandicoots are immune to the tick poison. Bandicoots carry ticks, which drop off their host after it has its fill of blood. From there, the tick gets onto domestic animals such as dogs and cats with dire consequences. The paralysis tick occurs in a narrow coastal band extending from Cape York Peninsula in Queensland to Lakes Entrance in Victoria. A wildlife carer should be aware of the possibility of a Bandicoot in care having a large number of ticks in varying stages. They need to be housed separately in a large aquarium or in a situation that they are unable to “dig” their way out. Providing efficient, effective and compassionate wildlife care is a vital contribution to the biodiversity of Australia. Wildlife carers are encouraged to carefully plan the capture and always be prepared with the rescue kit equipment. It's very important to be confident and work efficiently and effectively and to approach the animal from behind, where possible. The animal to be rescued does not need further injuries or stress from mishandling.

It is recommended that disposable gloves be used (when appropriate) when handling wildlife and/or to thoroughly wash hands before and after handling. This guards against any unfavourable interchange between the Carer and the animal. All enclosures and housing are to cleaned thoroughly and carefully disinfected after an animal has vacated it as well as removing leaf litter, soil etc. When handling, only hold a bandicoot very firmly when it is undergoing a thorough examination; they struggle and can injure themselves as well as the handler, even if using a towel. The most dangerous part is the claws, which will cause minor scratches. Bandicoots should be disturbed as little as possible eg dress wounds at the same time as feeding.

CONCLUSION
The Long Nosed Bandicoot plays an important part in the wildlife ecology of Australia. They are unique little animals that need more protection from their predators where possible. These small marsupials do not deserve to be indiscriminately killed by domestic pets. People are encouraged to be mindful of their habitats by restricting the use of pesticides in the garden, especially on the lawn and also to have their domestic cats and dogs safely locked up at night when these little animals are hunting for their food. Fortunately for this bandicoot human intervention saved her life and she was successfully rehabilitated and released back into her natural environment with her young.



PAGE 3 - identification~breeding~predators & hazards~the future~references


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