By Jasmine Kazlauskas
This mum-of-two has spent £7,000 looking after 12 wombat babies who sleep in her bed and kiss her on the mouth – including one that thinks it’s a DOG.
Julie Kay leads the life of any busy mum – waking up at all hours, making constant bottles of milk and putting on loads of laundry – but her ten-month-old baby is a bare-nosed wombat.
The gran-of-seven, 61, has spent $12,000 AUD (£7,000) over the last five years caring for abandoned baby wombats and says it’s no different to looking after newborn babies.
Part-time cleaner Julie’s latest bundle of joy, ten-month-old Rosie, even sleeps in bed with her and partner Neville, 52 – and acts like a puppy around the house.
Julie, from Corryong, regional Victoria, Australia, said: “Wombats are like my babies and I have an undying love for them.
“They definitely see me as their mother. They’re such loving and loyal creatures who really enjoy their cuddles.
“Rosie likes to spoon me and if I’m lying on the couch she will jump up and snuggle into me.
“She’s just started giving us kisses and we kiss her on the mouth.
“I’ll say ‘Rosie – give mummy kisses’ and she lifts her little head up.
“She is just like a little puppy dog. Wherever I am she is always at my feet and she follows me everywhere.”
Julie adopted Rosie as a six-month-old joey after her mother was hit by a car and she was rescued from her pouch.
Now the spoilt marsupial spends her days playing with teddy bears and being wrapped in a blanket while Julie bottle feeds her warm milk every three hours.
She also enjoys running around and playing with the couple’s dog Barney and even acts like a dog herself.
Amazingly, Julie and Neville have even managed to toilet train all their wombat babies with puppy pads so that there are no nasty accidents in the house.
The animal-loving couple have been running Bellaboo Wildlife Shelter from their home in the remote town of Corryong for the past five years.
While they mostly look after orphaned wombats like Rosie, the couple also currently care for two joey kangaroos, two blue-tongued lizards and birds and also have two pet cats.
Julie’s wombat obsession began after her father brought home an injured wombat when she was a little girl living on a dairy farm.
The mum-of-two said: “I’ve always adored animals and wombats are especially close to my heart.
“They’re easy to look after and just love attention.
“People don’t realise that wombats are incredibly loving creatures.”
While the couple do grow attached to the dozens of wombats and other animals that come into their care, Julie said that letting her babies return to the wild is ‘a very happy moment’.
Once Rosie is old enough, she will be rehabilitated to another facility and eventually released back into the wild.
She said: “You have them since they’re babies and raise them so it is sad when they leave. It is especially hard the first night after they’re gone, I do really miss them.
“But you sort of just know when it’s time for them to go and do what they were put on this earth to do. They need to go out and do wombat things, not be stuck inside the house.”