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The global pandemic made 2020 an exhausting year, but for many people one thing brought some much-needed relief - Animals ! And it's not just cats and dogs enjoying more of our attention.

Source : PortMac.News | Street :

Source : PortMac.News | Street | News Story:

Wombats, snails, Kangaroos: Animals that brought virus joy
The global pandemic made 2020 an exhausting year, but for many people one thing brought some much-needed relief - Animals ! And it's not just cats and dogs enjoying more of our attention.

News Story Summary:

Shelters have reported so many foster and adoption applications that some have run out of animals for the first time ever.

But it's not just cats and dogs enjoying more of our attention; people have embraced more unconventional pets, formed bonds with wildlife, and developed communities around their local animals.

With many schools and workplaces moved online, prolonged lockdowns, and heightened isolation, comfort can could be in the form of a kangaroo, wombat, ferret, or even a snail.

Here are a few stories of people who found joy this year in the most unexpected of creatures.

Four wombats walk into an apartment

When Melbourne went into its second lockdown in July, Emily Small found herself with four unusual roommates - Baby Wombats.

Small, 28, and her mother run the Goongerah Wombat Orphanage, a nonprofit that cares for injured or orphaned wombats in a town outside the city.

But when the lockdown was announced, Small had no choice but to hunker down in her one-bedroom Melbourne apartment - and bring four wombats, most less than a year old, that were too young to stay at the orphanage facility.

Wombats are nocturnal marsupials native to Australia.

Short-legged and stocky, they live in burrows and feed on grass and the roots of shrubs.

There's Landon, the youngest, who loves playing with socks; Bronson, 'A maniac' who loves to jump on the couch; Beatrice, who rolls over for belly rubs; and Comet, who's so small he weighed less than 1 kilogram when he arrived.

Every day, she preps their milk and puts them to bed in homemade cloth pouches. 'It's like toddlers, when they're up and running,' she said.

But it's welcome chaos that helped her through a year laden with difficulty and tragedy. The unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfire season devastated Victoria's landscape, wildlife, and arrived at the orphanage facility's front door, forcing everyone to evacuate.

The building survived -- but after they returned, they began receiving a number of wombats injured and orphaned by the fires. Some were too badly burnt to be saved.

It took a heavy toll on Small. And then the pandemic hit.

"A lot of other things happened in my life -- definitely the pandemic and the bushfires, but there was also a lot of other personal things," she said. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't have them. They're my entire life -- they're the reason I get up in the morning."

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, meet a Snail named 'Maple'

As fall rolled around, Gabrielle Munoz, a scientist in Massachusetts, noticed a new trend on her TikTok feed -- snail videos. There were clips of snails munching on greens, inching up their owners' arms, enjoying a shower in the sink -- even one account that showed snails "acting" in elaborately crafted miniature sets.

Munoz, 23, hadn't heard of keeping snails as pets before. She had considered getting a tarantula, but was vetoed by her roommates -- so, they agreed on Maple the milk snail, which Munoz bought on Etsy.

Milk snails, also known as the Spanish snail, are native to Europe and parts of North Africa; they were introduced to the US, and can live up to seven years.

"Maple is very social," Munoz said.

"She really likes just being held, and as long as I spray my hands with water to be moist, she likes just hanging out and eating food off my hand."

They also share a love of fresh veggies. Munoz is vegetarian and a gardening hobbyist, and Maple proved a good way to reduce the number of scraps going to waste (she especially loves zucchini peels).

Every time Munoz changes the soil in Maple's enclosure, she plants carrot seeds so the snail can eat the baby sprouts.

Covid-19 restrictions also mean Munoz is spending a lot more time at home -- which she claims is helping Maple learn to recognize and follow the sound of her voice.

She hasn't posted any snail videos on TikTok yet - but the app, and its snail-loving community, proved a useful guide with plenty of tips and recommendations that helped her take care of Maple.

The wildlife rehabilitator

At any given time, at least a dozen animals share Pauline Pearce's home in Mount Barker, Western Australia.

"I'm sitting in my kitchen at the moment, and I've just fed eight (kangaroo) joeys inside, two kookaburras, three bush rats and two possums," she said (Photo below).

"Then I've got 17 joeys in the enclosure outside, they're not ready for release yet. On the property, we have five mini horses, one full size horse, three donkeys, chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, a corella, 14 pigeons, about 30 canaries and 12 doves."

She paused, as if running through a mental checklist. "And a cat!" she added a beat later.

Pearce and her partner run a wildlife rehabilitation service out of their home, so busy is normal -- but the number of animals and calls for help have surged during the pandemic, she said.

With international travel on hold, more people are traveling domestically, causing more road accidents with wildlife. Others have also surrendered their pets, unable to afford their upkeep during the economic downturn.

The animals go to the Pearce residence, where the larger ones roam freely. When the kangaroo joeys aren't resting in their cloth "hangers," which mimic their mothers' pouches, they like to hop around.

The possums come out in the evenings, and wander through the house.

"We call all our critters, all our animals ... they're all our kids," Pearce said.

"We have to be home to feed our kids, we tell everyone. And I get up in the middle of the night to feed the kids as well, just like a mom would."

"It certainly gave us a distraction, and it also gave members of the public who bought us injured or orphaned wildlife a chance to learn more about what we do and why," she added. "It took away the day-to-day worry of 'what's next' in the Covid world."

Same | News Story' Author : Staff-Editor-02

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