We waited a long time for Boris, who came to live at Roo Gully on the 13th October 2003
Brushtail bettongs are also known locally as woylies, and are one of the smaller species of macropods.
Boris was the third bettong to live at Roo Gully.
Our first experience of caring for these remarkable little kangaroos
was when Willie came to live. He was rejected by his mother
after she was trapped for scientific research.
Willie was wonderful and we thoroughly enjoyed our first woylie experience,
taking great joy when Willie was rehabilitated back to the bush when he was older.
Little did we know how much we would wish he was still living with us when Betty came to live with us.
Ironically Betty was another casualty of scientific trapping,
her mother rejecting her pouched joey when she was handled
by humans before being released.

Betty was raised by a wildlife ranger involved in her mother's trapping, and became quite humanised.
When she was older she needed somewhere permanent to live so was brought to Roo Gully.

As the years slipped by we dreamed of finding a mate for Betty,
and yearned to start our own woylie colony.
But woylies are not easy to come by.
And then, after a few false starts, we received the phone call to say someone definitely had a woylie for us.

We dare not believe it until this woylie was in our arms, but it was true.
Boris sleepy
We have listened to some wildlife carers complaining about woylies.
They tell us they are viscous creatures, but after raising Willie and then caring for Betty we have never found this.
Oh true they can bite and scratch, but so can any frightened animal.
Boris happy
And after a couple of days of quiet, careful handling, and lots of love, Boris proved to be just as trusting as our other two bettongs. He quickly settled into life at Roo Gully and accepted humans.
Young Boris was cared for inside the house
until just before he reached sexual maturity,
and then he was moved into a specially built compound
alongside Betty's.
Boris in kitchen
Betty waits
She was very interested in her new next door neighbour.
But Boris was more interested in exploring his new world.
Boris explores

Over the following few weeks these 2 woylies got to know each other through the safety of the wire mesh.
And then we took the decision to move them in together.

And their first meeting went very well indeed.

Betty meets Boris

For the next few weeks these 2 woylies lived in harmony.
But Boris was obviously much more adventurous than Betty,
because even though she has lived in her compound for several years Boris found an escape hole
in the netting covering the top to protect them from birds and cats and went bush.

Brushtail bettongs hover on the brink of being an endangered species.
Foxes, which were introduced by the early white settlers, being their biggest enemy.
Little is known about the life of a woylie, especially their development inside the pouch.
Having studied Western Grey kangaroo joey development from conception to weaning,
in fact to the youngsters' own motherhood. Roo Gully had hoped to film the development
of these special macropods and hopefully open up a whole new world to scientists
and those who want to secure the future of some of Australia's more threatened species.
So it goes without saying that we are devastated that our woylie breeding programme has been put on hold,
but we do sincerely wish Boris a happy life in the bush.
Wonder if he might pop back to see Betty - we can only hope.

On behalf of Boris and his mates we thank you for caring

Boris' Tale © Roo Gully 2004