Have you encountered wildlife with mange in Victoria?

Help improve our understanding of wildlife health in Victoria by completing this survey on sarcoptic mange for the Wildlife Health Victoria: Surveillance group.

Researchers are undertaking an online survey of people who observe wildlife to ask about sarcoptic mange in wildlife in Victoria.

A magnified histopathology showing a Sarcoptes scabiei mite (centre) burrowing in skin of a koala. Image: Dr Pam Whiteley
A magnified histopathology showing a Sarcoptes scabiei mite (centre) burrowing in skin of a koala. Image: Dr Pam Whiteley

Sarcoptic mange is caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei and has been recognized as an emerging infectious disease of Australian wildlife. Mites cause dermatitis or skin disease in wombats, koalas, foxes, dogs and occasionally people in Victoria.

Improved understanding of the scope and scale of sarcoptic mange may lead to the development of management strategies for this disease.

If you observe wildlife in Victoria, you can help by filling out this 20-minute survey. A flier with information on the survey is available for noticeboards and wildlife health, Landcare and other groups.

Animals with mange infections can display scratching, hair loss, skin thickening and crusting, skin discoloration, open wounds, weight loss, and in severe cases, death. Example images of animals with mange are below; reader discretion is advised.

The purpose of the survey is to better understand the importance of sarcoptic mange in wildlife in Victoria by asking people who observe wildlife:

  • Who: The wildlife species you have observed with skin changes that may be sarcoptic mange, approximate number, and possible changes in the numbers of wildlife
  • Where: Categories of land management, postcode location
  • When: By year groups, season
  • What: Clinical signs were observed in wildlife with suspected mange
  • Why: Were wildlife tested or examined for mites, and how?
  • If you have a lot of data about wildlife mange, you will have an opportunity to upload it, or send it by email, but we will ask you to first remove personal identifying data such as names, addresses, contact details.
  • You will also be asked for general information about yourself – background category (farmer, etc), age group, sex.

You can complete the survey here.

Wildlife Health Victoria: Surveillance investigates sick and dead wildlife from free-ranging populations in Victoria to understand baseline wildlife health patterns, detect changes and factors involved and understand wildlife reservoirs of zoonotic diseases to maintain the health of wildlife, ecosystems, domestic animals and people.

This research project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of The University of Melbourne (Ethics ID no. 1953816.1).

Banner image: Koala and a joey an eucalyptus tree in the Great Otway National Park, Victoria. Photo: Uwe Bergwitz via Adobe Stock.

Example images of animals with mange – reader discretion advised

  • Example images of animals with mange – reader discretion advised
    A wombat with mange in Wangarabell, Victoria. Photo: Max Campbell, 2011
    A wombat with mange in Wangarabell, Victoria. Photo: Max Campbell, 2011.
    A koala infected with mange, found near Portland. Photo: Sharon Webster, 2019.
    A koala infected with mange, found near Portland. Photo: Sharon Webster, 2019.
    A Victorian koala showing signs of mange infection. Photo: Dr Pam Whiteley.
    A Victorian koala showing signs of mange infection. Photo: Dr Pam Whiteley.