Ranger Mick Tate's face lights up when he talks about his determined stalker. For Mick's shadow is not the sinister kind, but rather a plump, cuddly wombat called Walter. And little Walter refuses to let Mick out of his sight.
The Australian Reptile Park senior keeper has been inseparable from Walter since he rescued the tiny joey from the roadside after his mother was killed by a car.
'Our special bond started the moment I picked him up,' Mick says of Walter, who is now aged one and weighs a cuddly 12kg.
'I was several hours from the reptile park and I didn't have any appropriate gear, so I just popped him inside my shirt against my skin. He was so snuggled and cuddled. He felt safe and warm. He was just a little delight.'
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