Today, So Far

7 am: 2-year-old Becca crawls into bed with me.

7:30 am: Giant mug of coffee with Donna on deck.

8 am: Solo hike along creek bed (it’s the only way I won’t get lost on the 200-acre property) with Bella the excellent dog; got covered in burrs, but saw plenty of wombat burrows and three kangaroos. Felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland about to fall down a wombat burrow (or perhaps I already have…)

9 am: Peanut butter and honey on a crumpet (Donna and Phil let a beekeeper keep his pastel-colored bee boxes on the property, and in return he keeps them swimming in honey).

9:30 am: Donna and I peek in on Walnut, who has a urinary track infection and is on antibiotics. He’s not too happy, but the antibiotics are clearly working.

10 am: Wombat intake. Two female “pet” wombats (Pistachio and Pecan) are dropped off (they join Hazelnut and Walnut). Donna gets them settled in a dark crate and leaves them in a quiet room.

10:30 am: Walk with young Cruiser, who’s having one of his first exposures to the outdoors and fresh grass. He’s hesitant but intrigued. Soon enough he wants to go back into his pouch. He’s a “cuddlebat,” as Donna says.

Kama with a bundled-up wombat named Cruiser

11 am: Generous American donors come to the sanctuary for a tour and photo op. I help show them around and take pictures of them playing with the wombats.

Noon: Off to town.

two gundaroo stores

Breakfast of Champions

Abram and Panzer’s first-choice breakfast: my shoelaces and rubber soles. Odd that it doesn’t bother me at all.

Abram and Panzer gnawing at my shoes

Their second choice: fresh-cut grass in the humans’ kitchen (followed by carrots and sweet potatoes).

woman eating grass on kitchen floor

MY breakfast of choice: “a long black, white with two” is how I request my regular coffee with milk and two sugars. Took awhile to get it down, but now I’m a damn pro.

Gimme Shelter

Within an hour of waking this morning, I’d checked out three different kinds of shelter—all created by humans who give a damn:

Here’s a possum house, not to be confused with a bird house.

possum house in tree

Here’s Phil with one of the six new wombat enclosures he built. Salt of the earth, this guy.

Phil in new wombat enclosure

Here’s a wombat crib, designed to simulate a real burrow: dark, with a little entrance.

wooden wombat crib


A wombat is a cross between a bulldozer and a tank. There’s even a group of young wombats here named for WW2 tanks: Sherman, Panzer, Lincoln, Abraham, Barron, and Cruiser.

Wombats use their heads like battering rams and their butts like lethal weapons, crushing the skulls of their predators against the wall of their burrows (that would be called a “bum buck”). You don’t want to mess with a fully-grown wild wombat. They’re all muscle, sturdy and squat. They’re also faster than they look. They don’t suffer fools gladly.

Silo the wombat

Nor does Donna, the founder of Sleepy Burrows. She is also super-sturdy (though much more shapely than a wombat). Good thing, because there’s a dark underbelly of caring for these furry little tanks. She regularly witnesses profoundly horrible treatment of these creatures and steps in to make things right.

She’s made of steel, but has a heart of red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

Donna holding wombat