Australia’s strange, furry marsupials

So the Royal couple were delighted to see and handle a bilby downunder.   Wiki:

Bilbies have the characteristic long bandicoot muzzle and very long ears. They are about 29–55 cm in length. Compared to bandicoots, they have a longer tail, bigger ears, and softer, silky fur. The size of their ears allows them to have better hearing as well.

They are nocturnal omnivores that do not need to drink water, as they get all the moisture they need from their food, which includes insects and their larvae, seeds, spiders, bulbs, fruit, fungi, and very small animals. Most food is found by digging or scratching in the soil, and using their very long tongues.

They’re suited to semi-desert areas.

bilby

The wombat is more widely spread. Wiki:

They are adaptable in habitat tolerance, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania, as well as an isolated patch of about 300 hectares (740 acres) in Epping Forest National Park[2] in central Queensland.

I’ve recounted on these pages how we were camping in the Oz bushland and made the mistake of pitching the tent in the way of a wombat path to its food.   Tent, of course, came down and the wombat marched straight over the top.

wombat

The quokka has also featured in these pages – I recounted the time on Rottnest Island, off Western Australia, that I stopped my bike and a quokka which had been in the middle of the path, staring at me, suddenly climbed up on my shoulder and started craning its neck round to look in my eyes.

All lovely and sigh-producing but I see it gets a $AU300 fine these days.   Wiki on the quokka:

The quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal. It can be found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, in particular on Rottnest Island just off Perth and Bald Island near Albany.

quokka

There are many others, of course.    The wildlife in Australia is most certainly one of the drawcards of the continent and I’d suggest the three primary areas to find it [before going further afield] would be Victoria, the south-western corner of Western Australia and Kakadu in the north.

There are parts of Britain I can’t live without seeing every so often – especially those with dry stone walls – and there are parts of Oz I miss too – the bushland of Victoria is an example of that.   For an expat Brit, I’d suggest southern Victoria and Tasmania [or the south island of NZ] are the places to settle.   For expat Americans, Sydney and environs would be their thing.

2 Responses to “Australia’s strange, furry marsupials”

  1. Amfortas April 18, 2014 at 04:27 Permalink

    I am quite fond of possums. They have razor-sharp claws so it is best to be friendly.

    A pair use my roof as a route, arriving from a tree on one side and departing to a tree on the other. They are miffed at present as the ‘departure’ tree was rotting at the base and as it was close to the house I had it cut down.

    In Melbourne, out east in the Dandenongs where I lived, I built a huge deck out from the main bedroom and into the trees. Several trees were accommodated by building the deck around them. Every evening we would have a few possums come down the trees onto the deck where I sat, including a big bugger with a scarred face. I called him ‘Al’, as in Al Capone. It was only when Spring came that I realized my error. Al came with her baby on her back. She had been ‘Alice’ all along.

    She let me feed her baby, bananas. So that what the baby came to be called.

  2. James Higham April 18, 2014 at 07:35 Permalink

    Possums – Dame Edna liked them too.

    A very tranquil area, the Dandenongs, in those days. Ferny Creek, Silvan, Eltham, Yarra Junction, Seville. I lived in Wantirna South for a while and so it was an easy drive to the Dandenongs.

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