Mange is not a disease but an infestation of the mange mite. The female mites burrow under the skin where they deposit eggs, these hatch and cause intense discomfort. Over time thick plaques that look like scabs and ridges form over the wombat’s body. These scabs become dry and split open, the wounds can then become flyblown and infected.
The plight of wombats with mange has been an ongoing concern for many years and is an animal welfare issue. Unless treated the infestation progresses and eventually the wombat is so severely compromised it dies a slow and agonizing death.
It is not known exactly where mange came from. It may have been introduced by early settlers as scabies or during settlement with the introduction of foxes and domestic dogs. What we do know is, it has spread throughout our wombat population, affecting the bare nosed wombat in particular.
Mange is usually evident by crusty ridges around the wombat’s shoulders, sides and legs. Scabs can also form around the wombat’s eyes and ears and the wombat may appear to be blind and deaf.
Hair is usually still growing down the centre of the wombat’s back and rump and is often referred to as a ‘mohawk appearance’.