One of our regular visitors

Living in Australia is interesting to say the least.  I hear that many people in other countries think we have Kangaroos hopping down all of our streets. Well that may not be exactly true, however, we do have a variety of native fauna living in, or visiting our yard.   This is a sample of Australian living, with wildlife  in the Suburbs.

1.  Pancakes (our cat) is a hunter, and as such is successful at times at catching other living things. Her favourite is mice. In particular, the native hopping mice which inhabit our part of South Australia.  Now if she just caught them, played with them and maybe let them go, it would be fine, except, our much loved pet likes to bring them inside, play with them and then let them go! Yes inside our house! we have in recent times become adept at catching mice by hand. Now, it would be easy to just set traps and the mice would be “despatched” with, but I am not in favour of adding to the kill of our native animals.  It is bad enough that

Pancakes. She would’nt hurt a fly.

Pancakes occasionally kills them.   My good wife Meri is now so comfortable with mice she will just pick them up by hand and throw them outside. I must add though, this is ok to do with the native mice, but do not get them mixed up with domestic mice. Domestic mice bite with very sharp teeth, as I found out one day. Ouch!

2.  We have two Eucalypt (Gum) trees in our yard. One very large tree which if it fell over, would destroy three quarters of our house.  Now we have various visitors to our Aussie trees. Rosella’s, Corella’s, Galah’s, and Possums. White Cockatoo’s, Black Cockatoos, and even Kookaburra’s.  But our bestest visitors would have to be the Koala’s. They usually visit a couple times a year. Sometimes just one, sometimes in a family group. Very cute they are, except the big male, who grunts and growls, when he can’t get his way with his girlie! Or maybe he grunts and groans when he does get his way! Oh yes and very amusing when Pancakes gets freaked out by them walking on the ground.

Caterpillars en mass

3.  I have stated many times that there are no snakes in our yard, so that must be true, of course.  Well we had friends over one weekend for a few drinks and some lunch. While I was out of the family room, apparently a 1.5 metre Eastern Brown snake (2nd most poisonous in the world) slithered across the back yard (about the size in the picture below).  For a year or two after I insisted they were all just drunk and had imagined it.    One Saturday afternoon some years later I heard Pancakes rustling under one of our trees behind the retaining wall. It did not sound quite right, so I decided to investigate.  Peering over the 1.5 mtr retaining wall, I saw Pancakes attempting to play with a metre long Brown snake.  Now this was only a small one, however, even newly born Eastern Brown snakes

This one from Wikipedia. Mine was not quite that big.

have their poison glands fully developed.  Anyway, as stated, the Brown snake is No 2 on the list of most poisonous, and so should not be treated lightly.  So, kitted up in boots, jeans, long sleeve shirt and gloves, I fronted up with spade in hand and confronted the serpent!  I felt like St George facing the dragon and rescuing the fair maiden (Pancakes?).  After rescuing Pancakes from her very stupid pursuit, I again faced off with the snake as it was slithering away.  In this situation most snakes just slither away, but this one must have decided I would be no match, so turned and aggressively attacked me.  Like St George I stood my ground with sword in hand (spade actually) sparred back and forth with the fanged serpent.  After a failed strike by the snake, I struck the fatal blow just behind his head and with this one strike the battle was over.

This is of course, what would have happened had it not been illegal to kill a protected species in Australia.

Stumpy. This one not very friendly

4.  The iconic symbol of Australia is the Kangaroo. Now, we do not quite have Kangaroos hopping down our street, however, we do have them hopping down nearby roads on a regular basis.  So much so, that we have had local warnings about taking care in our area so as not to hit any of them.  The warning is less about care for the Kangaroo, but more about not injuring any people or damaging anyone’s vehicle.  Hitting an upto 200 pound animal at speed makes a hell of a mess to your car, let alone if it (in flight) ends up crashing through your windscreen and thrashes about inside the car with it’s very sharp claws.  Just the other day travelling to work, admittedly my way to work takes me

Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo soon to be chewing on my Gum tree.

through a bit of the country side, but just reaching the speed limit, a very large Western Grey Kangaroo appeared out of the scrub and bounded right in front of me.  It took me a second to react, but I just managed to slow enough to reduce the impact so as not to cause too much damage to the kangaroo or my car.  The Roo rolled over a couple of times before struggling to it’s feet and unsteadily hopped away into the scrub on the other side of the road.  The damage to my car was actually less than what my wife had done banging into the post at home.

In addition to these native animals roaming my yard, we also have Corellas, Black Cockatoos and White Cockatoos. Kookaburras, Rosellas and Galahs. Numerous species of spiders including Red Backs, White tails, Orb Weavers, and some weird looking ones I have no idea what they are.  Stick insects and giant Cossid Moths. Skinks, Stumpy Tail lizards and Blue Tongue lizards. Native rats and Possums. Any more animals and we would be living in a zoo!

Sometimes we are so busy doing “stuff”, that we fail to see the incredible and wonderful things in the very place that we live.   This is just what goes on in a back yard in southern Adelaide.

What amazing things happen in your back yard?

JTF

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