Photos by Georgia Chaffey.
Photos by Georgia Chaffey.

Playing midwife to lizard babies

Wildlife carer Jo Chaffey had never delivered lizard babies before, but when you live in the bush and an unknown situation arises, there’s nothing to do but follow your instincts.

The Woodenbong resident, who’s been a WIRES carer for around 10 years, had just arrived home from work when a member of the public arrived with a pregnant blue tongue lizard that had been attacked by a dog.

“When I had a look, poor mum blue tongue had her stomach hanging out and I could see four little blue tongue babies moving around in there,” Jo said. “We ended up pulling out 16 babies, which was quite surprising.

“It was a bit of a learning experience… I thought blue tongues were born fairly formed, but they actually came out like jelly. It took a minute or two for their bones to form and get hard and then they pretty well immediately started attacking, not that they could do much harm. But they have fight in them from the word go.

“It was the most amazing experience! Although it was sad about poor mum bluey, it felt great to be able to save all of the cute little babies.”

Jo said because her husband’s a policeman, people would often bring them injured wildlife because they didn’t know where else to go. One time she had to care for a joey overnight and Jo said she fell in love and became a carer.

“It’s exhausting at times but I love it – no two rescues are the same, no two animals are the same,” she said. “Knowing you can release something back into the wild is a great feeling.” Only one of the baby blue tongues died, so after 24 hours Jo had the special job of releasing 15 of them back into the bush.

WIRES is always looking for more wildlife carers and training is coming up in February. For more information, phone training co-ordinator Sue Ulyatt on 6688 2001 or email wiresnr@wiresnr.org.


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