Wombat Mange, also known as sarcoptic mange, is caused by the parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei.
The mite burrows into the skin causing characteristic signs of thick crusty skin and hair loss.
There is good evidence that the parasite was introduced to Australia by Europeans and their domestic animals.
Mange can affect lots of mammals but the common wombat is one of the most affected species. It is thought that mange is spread through infected wombats sharing burrows.
While mange may cause localised population declines of wombats there is very little evidence to suggest the disease will cause wombats to go extinct in Tasmania.
Strategies to mitigate effectsDPIPWE is working with the University of Tasmania and the local community to better understand the causes that lead to mange outbreaks. They are also working to develop better treatment of wild wombats affected by mange.
Specific actions that have been undertaken by DPIPWE relating to wombat status include:
- Analysis of state-wide and regional wombat population trends using the past 30 years of spotlight survey data;
- Surveys to assess the prevalence of mange;
- Several research projects conducted by UTAS under permits provided by DPIPWE;
- The Orphaned and Injured Wildlife Program continues to assist the public by providing advice on managing treatment of affected wombats;
- Working with the community to ensure that treatments are properly dispensed and documented to assess effectiveness;
- Allocation of funds for distribution to community groups and individuals involved in the treatment of mange-infected wombats;
- Allocation of funds for the University of Tasmania and volunteers from Conservation Volunteers Australia; and
- Development of Mange Treatment Protocols:
Mange Treatment Protocols (409Kb)
Monitoring wombats video
How can I help?
There are many ways you can help:
- Report observations of injured wombats or wombats with mange to DPIPWE;
- Drive carefully in “wombat country” to reduce the number of wombats killed or injured by cars;
- Use non-lethal methods to manage wombats on agricultural land, including “wombat gates” to allow their passage through fences, while excluding wallabies from grazing on pastures and crops; and
- Prevent dogs from roaming in areas where wombats occur.
If you would like information material about mange to display and hand out we have the following resources available:
Wombat Mange A3 Poster (208Kb)
Wombat Mange Information Sheet (262Kb)
Treating mange affected wombats
If you would like to treat a mange-affected wombat in your area, please contact DPIPWE for advice before commencing treatment.
DPIPWE staff can then assess:
- Whether the wombat you want to treat has mange or not - providing images of the wombat is very helpful to assess this;
- An appropriate treatment method;
- What permits will be required and how to obtain permits (treatment using Cydectin require a permit from the APVMA);
- How to contact experienced carers.
If you have experience in treating wombats for mange and wish to apply for a permit to use the pole and scoop method, please downland the following application form:
using sulphur compounds, including lime sulphur and yellow powdered sulphur, are not considered suitable as a treatment for mange in wombats. Veterinary advice on why topical application of Cydectin is the recommended treatment is detailed on the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Reimbursement of mange treatment costs
Community groups or individuals actively involved in caring for wombats affected by mange may be eligible for the reimbursement of costs associated with the treatment of mange (up to a total of $3,000).
Reimbursements will be considered for eligible recipients for costs incurred from 13 March 2017.
Applicants are required to retain their receipts for a period of two years.
To be considered eligible for any reimbursement of costs applicants will need to have obtained the appropriate permits including:
- Mange Management Incorporated APVMA sub-permit; and
- Nature Conservation Act permit/s to take and or possess wombats
Other information sources