Veterinarians at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia have successfully replaced the hip of a Wanda, a 22-year old wombat. It is also the first reported hip replacement ever performed on an animal her size.
“In a dog and a cat it’s pretty easy to do,” exclaimed Scott Rose, a surgical specialist who helped perform the procedure. “If you have a wombat with a lot of musculature around their hips, the approach can be a little more challenging.”
Even more remarkable is the fact that it was done on an animal her age. In fact, Wanda has outlived most others of her species by as much as 7-17 years according to experts from the Adelaide Conservation Arc program who have been caring for her, though there is reportedly an even older animal, said to be 25-years old, living in Japan.
While they resemble rodents with their sharp teeth and claws, wombats are actually marsupials with backward facing pouches to protect their young from getting dirt in their faces as their mothers burrow . In fact, the species found in forests, mountains and plain areas of Australia and Tasmania generally spend their days underground. Most are about 36-40 inches long and can weigh anywhere from 44-77 lbs.