Milly the wombat is having her home renovated.
Ipswich Nature Centre staff have packed her favourite toy, an exercise ball, as she temporarily moves enclosures while her new home is being built.
Milly will still be on display in the enclosure near the entrance usually lived in by Benny the Lace Monitor.
Ipswich City Council staff are demolishing her existing enclosure with the exception of the air-conditioned buildings.
When designing Milly’s new enclosure special considerations for wombat behaviours were taken into consideration.
Ipswich Nature Centre senior zoologist Nicole Richards said Milly loves to dig.
“It’s natural for Milly to burrow,” Ms Richards said.
Infrastructure and Environment Department general manager Charlie Dill said it was important to get the design right to allow Milly to be secure and fully occupied in her new space.
“We are constructing a new 1.2m high fence with a 1m deep rat wall to prevent Milly escaping,” he said.
“In addition to the 1m deep rat wall a stainless steel mesh barrier will be installed about 300mm below the surface and run 2m wide inside the fence line of Milly’s compound.
“This will allow Milly the freedom to dig and give us the peace of mind that she will only be able to get as far as the stainless steel barrier.”
Her new digs will also have a meadow section with natural grass.
There will be new gates and entrance areas for staff and a special concrete drainpipe will be placed in the centre to replicate a hollow log in the wild.
A rocky area will also reflect her natural habitat along with new plants and trees.
Wombats are good swimmers and a small waterhole has been included in the design.
The work is expected to take about six weeks to complete, during which access to that section of the Nature Centre will be restricted while the work is taking place.
There are three species of wombat: the common wombat, northern hairy-nosed wombat and southern hairy-nosed wombat. (Milly is a common wombat.)
Wombats are also marsupials and have pouches that face to the rear of the bodies so they don’t fill up with dirt when they dig.
They are nocturnal animals and are active at night and sleep up to 16 hours a day.
Wombats have cubed shaped droppings. The flat sides keep the droppings from falling off the tops of logs and rocks where they leave them as territorial signposts.
Ipswich Nature Centre is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30am – 4pm.
Entry is free but gold coin donations are accepted. As you leave, there is a box on the fence.
Ipswich Nature Centre is located in Queens Park on Goleby Avenue, Ipswich.
The centre features a range of Australian wildlife, lush landscaped gardens and
exhibits that have been recreated to represent local bushland and flora communities.