Wombaroo.com - Milk Replacement Products for Mammals

Review by J. Siek, Author/Review by J. Blessington, Zoo Keeper

Lynda Staker

2001 Updated Second Edition
Copyright 1998
314 pages, 3-ring binder, photographs
Retail price: $49.95

Order through:
Lynda Staker by clicking here.

Don't Step Backwards by Australian Lynda Staker is an in-depth and invaluable manual for marsupial caregivers, whether they be rescue and rehabilitation volunteers, or those of us owned by our pet marsupials. The title itself serves as a reminder on how these marvelous animals happily affect us in our everyday lives.

It covers everything from vitamin A deficiencies to zoonotic diseases and is a must for any home library and veterinary office.

Inside is a plethora of information, illustrations, statistical charts and sample health records. Ms. Staker has created an easy to read format and has salted it with humorous sketches and her own beautifully rendered illustrations.

There are solutions to many of the quandaries that plague all owners of marsupials from time to time. Animals covered include wallabies, gliders, bandicoots and much more.

This is an inspirational and cleverly compiled manual to marsupial care, a complete and valuable tool.

The only problem I, as an American, had with this tasteful tome was a minor one. It would be perfect with a complementary metric conversion chart for those of us who don't make a habit of thinking metric. And although the photos were wonderful, it was difficult to see details in some of them when the author was pointing out something specific.

Aside from those minor things, the manual is a perfect addition to any marsupial owner's home and their veterinarian's bookshelf.

I would highly recommend Don't Step Backward for anyone serious about keeping and caring for these wonderful animals. Wise words in a house full of marsupials.

Julie Siek
Washington, U.S.A.
01 November 2001

Ms. Siek is a freelance writer sharing her home with three frogs, a dog and a wallaby, and last but not least, her husband. She has published several articles from how-tos to local history and is currently working on a memoir of pet stories, children's books and a family history book.

Lynda Staker currently works in the field of caring for management, rehabilitation, clinical diagnosis and treatment of disease of Australian marsupials (excluding koalas and wombats). She has worked in this field for over 14 years. Lynda has reared/rehabilitated over 20 different species of marsupials which included rearing several hundred marsupials, predominantly macropods. She has also set up a wildlife hospital in her home and has been successful with the treatment of several hundred of diseased/injured marsupials.

This manual is a compilation from a four-day course that incorporates over 900 slides and is accompanied by a training manual with over 300 pages, covering the entire proceedings. Keeping this in mind, there are a lot of photographs included in the manual whose clarity is not always the highest quality. And some of the text is wrought with typing and grammatical errors. That said, the book is a "must have" for anyone that cares for macropods, possums, gliders, quolls, echidnas and bandicoots.

Though in the States we don't encounter much by way of rescue and rehabilitation for Australia's native fauna, the book is a valuable tool for many aspects. The first part of the manual also covers in-depth information on hand-rearing of the above mentioned species. Even if, as a caregiver, you aren't hand-raising any animals, the information is pertinent in understanding the development and characteristics of young marsupials.

The second half of the manual is dedicated to interesting facts and diagnosis and treatment of disease, ailments and injuries with input from several veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators. The information, though medical in content, is written in laymen's terms and easy to read and understand.

Having worked with macropods in captivity over 12 years myself, I found this manual to be a very valuable resource and should be in anyone's library who works with Australia's native marsupials. Ironically, having never hand-raised any macropod myself, our staff was presented with hand-raising a red kangaroo one week after I agreed to this book review and I am very grateful for having this resource available.

Jacque Blessington
Zoo Keeper
Kansas City Zoo
Kansas City, MO
Animal Keeper's Forum: Vol. 29, No. 10, pp. 407