Wildcare Queanbeyan Inc., Reptile rescue

24/7 Wildcare Helpline


 6299 1966



Would you like a Citizen Scientist opportunity? If so, consider downloading the TurtleSAT app. You could join the the 1 Million Turtles Community Conservation Program.

Or perhaps FrogID app is more your cup of tea.

Posted: 24 January 2022

Our turtle Dove

Our turtle, nicknamed Dove, was found on a porch on Boxing Day. Dove was not injured, but she would need to cross many busy roads to find water. So we gave her a lift. It was a perfect day for a swim!

Posted: 31 December 2021

Freshwater turtle skin disease

The fungus Nannizziopsis barbatae, causing a deadly skin disease in reptiles, has been detected in two free-ranging freshwater turtles in the Sydney region. This is the first reported detection of this fungus in turtles. It has previously been identified in captive and free ranging lizards in Australia. Nannizziopsis barbatae is sometimes referred to as 'Yellow Fungus Disease'.

What to look out for

Unusual skin lesions in free-ranging or captive freshwater turtles, including:

  • Crusting
  • Reddening
  • Discolouration
  • Sloughing (areas of abnormal skin shedding)
  • Exudation ('oozing')
  • Ulceration
  • Necrosis (areas of dead skin)
  • Loss of digits

Images 1 & 2: Wild turtle with N. barbatae skin lesions (photos: property of Taronga Zoo)

Image 1

Wild turtle with N. barbatae skin lesions. Photo property of Taronga Zoo

Image 2

Wild turtle with N. barbatae skin lesions. Photo property of Taronga Zoo

Wildcare thanks the Taronga Zoo and the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service for their cooperation & assistance in allowing us to display these images.

What can we do?

If any freshwater turtles present with unusual skin lesions, please take the turtle(s) to a wildlife veterinarian and report as soon as practicable to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800-675-888. For more information about this service go to Animal Health Australia (AHA).

Nannizziopsis barbatae and related fungi are known to cause serious disease and death in reptiles. The disease is now well understood in free-ranging reptiles, however, information is not available for turtles as there are no previous reports. It is assumed that the fungus is transmitted through direct contact between turtles and via objects or materials contaminated with the fungus.

Please remember, if you see any unusual signs of disease or mass deaths in wildlife to report it to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800-675-888. Reporting helps to inform the prevalence of the disease and best management practices.

Further reading

Posted: 4 November 2021

Frogs under threat

In Australia many frogs have been turning up sick or dead. The cause of this is unknown. The Australian Museum is working hard to understand and respond to the problem, which, sadly, is affecting many common & threatened species.

What can we do?

We are being asked to keep an ear out for our iconic Banjo Frog (also known as the Pobblebonk frog). The Banjo frogs, apart from having the best song in the world, are a group of burrowing frogs with strong back legs that help them to dig backwards into the ground where they stay until it rains. This is the kind of frog we might accidently dig up in the garden.

The Banjo frog and any other frog activity that you hear around your property or on a walk can be recorded using the FrogID app — its really easy (and a little addictive) and it provides the Australian Museum investigators with valuable information about the current state of frog habitats and wellbeing across the country.

You can check out their data at frogid.net.au

Let's get into our frogs and help figure out what’s going on...

To understand the problem better, you may find the virtual event, presented by Dr Jodi Rowley, informative. It is available on Australian Museum frog appeal page.

If you come across a sick or injured reptile please call our 24/7 Wildcare Helpline  6299 1966, anytime of day or night. One of our experienced rescuers will be available for advice and we are more than happy to visit and to take a sick animal into care.

Posted: 16 September 2021

Banjo Frog/Pobblebonk frog

Limnodynastes dumerilii

Reptiles in rehab

Now that Spring has arrived, you may see some of our scaly and shelly friends about the place. At this time of the year reptiles come out of brumation to look for food, then quickly go back to napping. Once the weather warms up they will become fully active.

We currently have around 14 lizards and 10 turtles in rehab. We have searched across our region for properties that would make good release sites for our lizards and turtles. We have received many generous offers from our members and friends, for which we are very grateful and soon will be releasing our temporary buddies.

Some of the lizards that come into care are used to a suburban backyard, but are not able to return to their homes due to having being attacked by dogs or cats or found in otherwise unsuitable environments.

Reptiles make great garden buddies. They like a sheltered and safe garden, no bait or pesticide use, no inquisitive pets, lots of shrubs and grubs, rocks and logs. You may wish to make your garden more attractive to reptiles and frogs. Here's a couple of links to get you started:

Wildcare statistics, along with statistics from other wildlife organisations, are published in the NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation annual reports. The latest report is a compilation of rescue data from the 2019-20 year of fire, drought and flood: NSW Wildlife Rehabilitation, 2019–20 Annual Report.

Posted: 16 September 2021
  • Cheeseburger (Picked up off the road)
Rescued: 8 November 2021

Australian native animals are protected

All Australian native animals, including native reptiles, are protected under law. You are not permitted to pick up, catch, relocate, keep as pets or kill native animals, except under specific circumstances. Financial and other penalties apply to illegal handling of Australian native animals.

The NSW Native Animal Keepers’ Species List 2016 contains the names of all fauna species that may be kept under licence, or are exempt from licensing, in New South Wales. While such animals may be kept under licence, this does not mean they can be taken from the wild.

Special licences are required for activities related to the rescue, rehabilitation, release and euthanising of Australian native animals. Licences are issued in each State & Territory. The licences apply within the State or Territory only. A licence issued in New South Wales cannot be used in another State or Territory and vice versa.

Wildcare Queanbeyan has a New South Wales licence, which allows it to conduct rescue and related activities within its designated boundaries (a large area within NSW surrounding much of the ACT).

Related references

Our images

More info: Australian Museum