Please click on the thumbnail pictures to
Nugget is (or was) a Southern Hairy-nosed
Wombat from Nundroo on the Nullabor Plain in
South Australia. He was approx. 6 1/2 months
old when he was adopted into our family.
Looking very fragile he had a very thin
and patchy coat of fur. Unfortunately I
didn’t start to take photos’ of him until 3
weeks after we got him because I was afraid he
may not survive but from that time onwards we
have a glorious collection of invaluable
photographic moments that have been shared, some
of which are included here.
Nuggy, as we liked to call him, settled in very
well. We used a car bucket seat cover turned
inside out for his pouch, which hung in our
bedroom beside our bed. He was very
demanding with his bottle feeds which were
shared with all his adopted family. There was
mum (me), dad (Tony), big sis (Ali, my youngest
daughter, 11) and Uncle Russell (whom we shared
a house with for the first 6 months).
Nuggys introduction to solid food was by spoon
feeding him baby cereal before his bottle.
This was a sight in itself, seeing a baby
wombat with a baby’s bib on. Teaching him to eat
baby cereal for himself was very entertaining as
Tony was on all fours with his nose about 2”
above the bowl of baby cereal trying to get
Nuggy to eat. Well Nuggy got the hang of it
alright, as bowls of baby cereal were consumed
readily with much of it spread widely across the
After a meal it was time for a ‘face wipe’.
This was a ritual that Nuggy became used to
and would let me (his mum) nurse him on his back
and wipe his face, but should anyone else of his
immediate foster family try, there would be
huffs, grunts and hisses of protest but the
mission was eventually accomplished.
This is typical wombat behaviour and
demonstrates their affection for one carer only
and will often attach themselves to that person
and behave aggressively towards others. Ed.)
his pouch, Nuggy progressed to his own bed (a
cardboard box with blankets etc) where he was
‘put to bed’ if he was getting tired and bitey.
As he got older Nuggy would put himself to
bed on his back but always seemed to have the
backend sticking out.
Whilst Nuggy was with us he developed a liking
to sleeping on our waterbed (with or without us
in it) and was often caught ‘napping’ by the
Nuggy also loved to shower with ‘us girls’ and
would flop in our arms under the warm running
shower every morning, though he hated baths and
I was the only one in the end who could hold
this 25kg wombat under the shower for his
fortnightly wash with a medicated pet shampoo.
(Sorry, NO Photo’s!!)
discovered he had a taste for toast when he
persisted on jumping up on the waterbed and
pinching dad’s breakfast in bed (lucky man!).
So from then on, when breakfast was served
Nuggy had to have his piece of unbuttered toast
on the tray too.
There were occasions when he was caught scouring
the cupboards for his own breakfast. He often
used to help me sort out the shopping when I got
home from the supermarket, which he thought was
great fun. Finding the apples was his main
Nuggy had a special friend in Viv, the bearded
dragon lizard, as they seemed to always have
something to whisper to each other.
There were also other adventures for him, like
sitting on the motor bike with ‘big sis’.
All Nuggy needed here was a leather pilot’s
helmet and goggles and he would really have
looked the part. We all would go camping
from time to time and Nuggy always came with us.
You would often see him in the line up of
the guys in camp but somehow he just couldn’t
quite manage to keep hold of his beer. He
really was our ‘little man’.
Someone even put a smile on the wombats face on
the wombat crossing sign near Nundroo (bit hard
to see in the photo).
Planting trees was more Nuggys
style, he was especially good at digging the
holes and the whole exercise was again a family
affair. Nuggy always inspected the sites to see
that work was ‘up to scratch’.
There was one occasion when we were all going to
a party over night and we were leaving Nuggy
behind. Or at least, so we thought. We
had folded all the quilts and put the pillows in
the car and then went to pick up our quilt but
there was the back end of a wombat sticking out
of it. Nice try Nuggy - but he still didn’t
get to the party.
now Nuggy was finally old enough to have his
‘own room’. This was the walk in pantry off the
kitchen. In his room he had ‘his chair’,
which was an old single lounge chair that became
‘his bed’. If a strange noise, bang or a car
came up the driveway, Nuggy would make a bee
line for his room and the ‘safety’ of his chair.
This was regardless of who or what stood (or
fell) between him and his room. Many a time an
unsuspecting family member was left teetering on
collapse after a silver-grey bowling ball had
charged down the passage at high speed.
we decided to plaster and paint ‘big sis’s study
room, everyone but Nuggy seemed to be helping.
Not deterred, Nuggy barged through the door
while everyone else was on a tea break and put
in his own efforts in the wet plaster walls.
It took us the next 2 hrs to smooth over his
Nuggy had a knack to opening doors. He would
zoom down the front veranda in his quirky gait
and latch his teeth onto the ½ round on the
screen door to sis’s study and yank it open.
Then with a front foot, slam the door wide
open. One day we shut the sold inside door as
well as the screen door (to keep him out of the
newly re-plastered room). Down the veranda
trotted Nuggy heading straight for the screen
door. With his usual finesse he opened it
only to be confronted by the solid door.
After a few head buts and scratches he
realized this solid door would not open. So
what would any self respecting wombat do?????
He shut the screen door. Stood and waited
for a moment or two then promptly open the
screen door expecting the solid door to no
longer be there. What magnificent powers of
Nuggy had his disasters too, like ripping off a
nail which was caught in a crack in the concrete
floor; loosing an upper tooth twice, once from a
fall and second trying to bite open the back
door. Despite these small trials he was
always fit and healthy. He was an
intelligent little man, who loved us as his own
and was loved in return.
sad climax to this story is that one Saturday
morning in November, Nuggy’s pen door was found
open after we had stayed away from home one
Friday night. We could not understand how
he could have opened it himself as the pen door
has 2 latches which operate independently of one
another. Very mysterious and suspicious.
have written this to share our experience and
love for a beautiful sole mate that has been
taken from us. Many tears have fallen
since his departure but Nuggy will be in our