WildLife DownUnder

Having just returned from a few days in Perth, I should be writing a post to add to my ‘Rooms with a View’ travelogue. It was an interesting trip, mostly of a personal nature, so I’m not sure what I should share. In the meantime, let me tell you a little more about my neighbourhood; an area I have called home for 25 years.

I dislike stereotypes as much (or even more) than the next person, but sometimes they are accurate. For example, lets examine some of the common stereotypes of living in Australia:

Kangaroos bouncing down every street
How ridiculous, right? Well actually, sometimes they do bounce down our streets. I live 52 kilometres from the central business district of Adelaide (which is the capital city of South Australia). My neighbourhood is a place by the sea, where suburbia meets country. As a fringe dweller, I get the perks of both worlds; including sharing the neighbourhood with wildlife.
For example, I just dropped my daughter off after Sunday family dinner, and as usual had to drive carefully. Firstly, because of the huge ‘puddle’ that appears after a downpour, causing one of the local washpools to overflow on her road. Sometimes I plow through, but tonight it was blocked off so I had to detour around that patch of road. Even though my daughter lives less than a kilometre from my house, on the way it’s not unusual to see a lone kangaroo (or a mob of them) right in the middle of a darkened road.
And living close to Aldinga Scrub means that I have encountered many furred, feathered and scaled visitors at my place: owls, snakes, echidnas, micro-bats, lizards and other beasties.

You’ll get eaten by a shark
Until a few years ago, my local beach held the unpleasant record of the most people taken (and yes, eaten) by a shark, from a suburban South Australian beach. Even now, it’s not unusual for the warning siren to go off a few times a day in the warmer months. Over the years I have developed respect for mortality and safety, so if I do go snorkelling or swimming, I now keep an eye out for fins. It’s the Great Whites I most dread bumping in to. Although I also need to keep an eye out for stingrays (who are related to sharks, believe it or not).
Sharing the water with a dolphin pod, or watching a whale pass by, are entirely different happenings – this truly has to be experienced to be believed!

Koalas in the backyard
In the hills it’s a common occurrence to see koalas in a backyard tree. When its hot, they climb down in search of water. Not in my neighbourhood though, we are more likely to catch an echidna digging up our gardens. Although I have seen a few koalas on the side of the expressway, on my way to work.

Redbacks on the toilet seat
We get all sorts of creepy crawlies, including spiders. And many of these are highly toxic, so it pays to keep an eye out, especially when gardening. The Redback is one of the most poisonous and likes to hide in dark places. Thankfully, getting bitten when visiting the toilet has become rare, now that we have indoor plumbing.
When we were kids, my brother bred Redbacks for pets. I remember the time he took them to school for show-and-tell. Sadly, they all escaped that day; causing a bit of a stir.

Watch out for snakes
Yes, do keep an eye out for these guys. Snakes are a common sight where I live, including some of the world’s most deadliest. Watching where I tread has become second nature, although I can remember a few times that I got a bit too close for comfort to a Tiger snake, Red-belly Black or Brown snake.
In my current place I have had a few snakes visit over the years, so I need to keep an eye out for them; for the sake of the dog and chickens.

Wild pets
I remember fondly the wildlife I have shared a home with. Growing up on a farm, with a mother who had a natural talent for looking after sick animals, we had interesting pets, such as: an echidna, hairy-nosed wombat, kangaroos, a hawk, heaps of lizards, and a crow. My brother even had a baby diamond-head snake in a large jar, until mum found out!
Some of our domestic animals were pretty wild, as well. Like a bantam rooster who hid every morning, waiting to attack us on the way to school. We would race each other to the car, so as not to be the one who was pecked.
And a donkey who liked to just stop at random,bucking people off. We warned everyone before they got on Pepe, but at least one person got a broken arm. And our two horses, Spike and Arabella,were just as fond as throwing off their riders unexpectedly. Life on a farm certainly toughens up a kid.

Where is your next holiday?
Don’t let the number of deadly beasties put you off. Australia is a great place to live, and to visit. And if you do come to Australia, to the Downunder, watch out for those koalas – they are not as cute and cuddly as they look!

Gif downloaded from the WordPress Blog ‘Thank God its Friday’ on 30 June 2013 – http://tgisfriday.com/kangaroo-playing-banjo/



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