Wombat mange at a glance
Sarcoptic mange (caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei) has affected Tasmanian wombats since it was introduced by Europeans and their domestic animals during colonisation and now occurs widely across Tasmania.
Mange causes significant health and welfare impacts for individual wombats.
Research shows that in most areas of Tasmania the proportion of wombats that are visibly affected by mange is low (less than 5%) but localised outbreaks can occur with a higher proportion of wombats visibly affected.
Wombat numbers in Tasmania have increased over the last 35 years.
Tasmania's wombats are not at risk of becoming endangered or extinct.
Wombats develop skin irritations for reasons other than mange including digging, fighting, mating, vegetation and fungal infections.
There is no effective method to eradicate mange from the wild. However, DPIPWE is supporting research by the University of Tasmania into a new treatment method using a systemic insecticide called Bravecto®.
Preliminary results from these trials are promising and further research is underway to determine the best and safest way to treat wombats in the wild.
Bravecto® is currently not licenced for use on wombats in Australia and veterinary authorisation is required to treat wombats with this product. A permit from DPIPWE may also be required depending on the method of administration of the treatment.
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. We are also working to develop better treatment options for wild wombats affected by mange.
Specific actions that have been undertaken by DPIPWE relating to wombat status include:
- Analysis of Statewide and regional wombat population trends using the past 35 years of spotlight survey data;
Surveys to assess the distribution and prevalence of mange-affected wombats in Tasmania;
- Several research projects conducted by UTAS under permits provided by DPIPWE;
- Assisting the public by providing advice on managing mange-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-affected wombats;
- Allocation of funds to support research and monitoring; and
- Development of Mange Treatment Protocols:
Mange Treatment Protocols
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 areas where wombats may be present 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
Wombat Mange Information Sheet
Wombat Gate Use Synopsis (180Kb)
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;
- 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 download 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 the recommended treatment is detailed on the
Frequently Asked Questions page.
Other information sources