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Archive for the ‘Kangaroos’ Category

The Kangaroo is used as a national symbol of Australia, its image is on some of our currency, it is on the national coat of arms (together with the emu) and is the red flying kangaroo is the proud emblem of Qantas our national airline.  It used to be that anyone from overseas expected to see them hopping down the roads in the major cities, as I did when I arrived in this country as a teenager, but this is of course not the case.  Living in the country, as I do, they are quite a common site in the surrounding paddocks, and there are certain roads one is advised to avoid at dusk due to the risk of hitting them as they move from different areas, and crossing roads as they need.

This is a very common sign on roads around where I live – a warning of their presence and advice for drivers to slow down.  One never wants to collide with a kangaroo, because apart from injuring or killing it, impact with a large animal travelling at up to 40-50kms an hour can cause major damage to the car and passengers.  I have hit a kangaroo, luckily neither I nor it were going very fast, it escaped unhurt, but my car needed new headlights.

When I moved here seven years ago, there was a small mob of about 6-8 Eastern Greys which lived in the local area and which I would see occasionally.  They tended to stay under cover by day, but come out of the forest to feed by night. They would often come through my property as they grazed for food, and were always more obvious through winter. They are not tame, but are flighty and will usually hop away from people, one does not get close to them as they can be aggressive if threatened, doing terrible damage with their hind legs. They are know to be able to kill dogs that harass them in the same way.  I have been aware of increasing numbers for some time, but this morning I saw the whole mob in a paddock about 100 metres from my gate. Having my camera with me as usual, I stopped to try and take a photograph of them, but they did not stay for long as I got out of the car.  The header above shows only some of them, I estimate there were well over 30 in the whole group.

Sometimes there are single animals which live apart from the mob, often older males who may have been replaced as the alpha male by a younger fellow, and one needs to be particularly wary of them.  I was told recently that if you unexpectedly come face to face with one, the best thing to do is to lie flat on your face on the ground, as the animal cannot then sit back on its tail and rip you with its legs.  I hope I never have to test this out!  This week though, twice there has been a young male on its own in my front garden when I opened my curtains.  I managed to open the front door quietly, creep outside and take these shots of it from the safety of my verandah.

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This fellow and his wife were in my garden this morning when I opened the curtains…an Eastern Grey Kangaroo .. a big one, probably about 5-6 feet tall, and fairly slow to move away until I got quite close – then they were off in a flash and over the fence into my neighbour’s property.  Despite their size, and at times, numbers of them together – these kangaroos do little damage as they eat only grass, but can break shrubs as they are so big.  Usually I only find copious quantities of roo poo after the mob comes through during the night and occasionally scratch marks or long foot prints on the grass or in the garden beds, but with winter well and truly here their presence is becoming more frequent.  Wild ones are neither cute nor cuddly, and can be aggressive sometimes, so one is best to leave them well alone.

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Decimated…..

I have happily lived here for some years, and not worried too much by the mob of kangaroos which journey through the place most nights.  They seemed to eat only grass,  and rarely did any damage.  Occasionally a branch might be broken, or a plant trampled, they might leave characteristic foot prints in the garden beds, and certainly they leave copious quantities of roo poo, but one can easily dodge that.  All in all we had a cautious co-existence, and I was grateful for them keeping the grass down through winter.

The last few days of sunshine, and the lack of stitching deadlines has enabled an exploration of the garden and some general tidying outside……not before time, I might add!  However I discovered this:-

The b….. things have developed a more sophisticated palate – this is one of several dark red Carnation plants which I grew from cuttings, and had been carefully nurturing.  They were doing very well, were full of buds and were going to be very showy along a walkway this summer.  All of them have been severely munched, with all the soft new green shoots and flower stems removed!  Most annoying!!

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Grass Hoppers

There is a mob of 9-10 Eastern Grey Kangaroos which live in the surrounding area, mostly spending the days lazing in the nearby bush, but becoming more active and visible from the late afternoon and through the night.  They travel through my property most nights, leaving signs of their passing (copious quantities of roo poo), or the occasional broken shrub, and disturbing one of the dogs who must be able to hear or smell them.  Sudden barking at 2-3 am means that they are on the lawn just outside my front door!  Occasionally kangaroos will still be here early in the morning, as this pair was today.  This male is probably well over five feet tall when standing upright, and the female not much smaller – they are not cute and friendly, and can be dangerous if one gets too close.

The kangaroos are usually very sensitive to noise and motion, so it is difficult to get near enough for a good photo – these shots were taken through a window, hence their poor quality.

Kangaroos are also a real hazard on country roads at night, they are fast, unpredictable, not very bright, and liable to appear suddenly from the side of the road and cross in front of the car……I know this from experience as I hit one a couple of weeks back.  Luckily I was not driving too fast, the kangaroo was not a big one like these, it only damaged a headlight, and it hopped away afterwards.  This is often not the case, and many friends have had their cars severely damaged by such close encounters.

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