With so many animal horror stories out there at the moment, I thought I would share one that shows how much the work of animal carers matters. As a wildlife carer I don’t usually get to see what happens next, after release. It’s rare that we do. It’s one of the things that makes this volunteer role so difficult. The not knowing. So to see Richie and Marion doing so well, it makes the heart swell.
It not a tale of a cute fluffy or anything else that that generally makes people go, arrr, it’s the story of two Cunningham skinks. Large skinks, things that shuffle in the undergrowth, cleaning up the bugs, and fallen fruit. Things with scales… and bite. But no less worthy of love, care and attention.
Richie came into care after being attacked by a dog in Bungendore. He had lost a large part for his tail and had bite wounds on his body. He over wintered with me, in a tank being fed the best food to help him heal. I’m no longer finding crickets in my house; but for while I did.
Marion was also a victim of a dog attack, but as I didn’t care for her. someone else did. Because she was looked after by someone else I don’t know much about her, but I do know that she also over wintered to heal and recover from her injuries.
We weren’t entirely sure where either of these Cunningham Skinks had come from, but as they usually live in family groups we wanted to get them back to them if we could. I spent an entire day door knocking and searching for signs of these guys in back gardens before I had to make a decision. I found no traces of their preferred habitats – large piles of rocks- and not tell-tale signs of family groups.
I have friends that live North of Bungendore on a large property away from major roads, with rocks, plenty of water, and traces of other Cunningham skinks. So it was decided they would be released together there. It meant that they could find others and join, or form their own family group.
This year, they’ve added to their family group. Rock piles be darned, they decided to live under the old washing machine next to the house. After all it’s shaded, out of the wind and they can engage in a little exhibitionism in safety.
Life goes on. I say cheers to that! _______ Wildtalk is a free 24/7 debriefing and ongoing counselling service available to all carers of Australian wildlife.