by Michelle Douglas
Oh, I’ve met some interesting animals recently!
Last month the hubby and I drove from Newcastle to Melbourne, put the car on the Spirit of Tasmania, and spent 2 weeks in Hobart. Now I could wax lyrical about the beauty and grandeur of Lakes Pedder and Gordon, the achingly idyllic native landscape of Port Arthur and the spectacular coastal scenery of Bruny Island, but…
What I want to share with you today are the animals I met while I was away. Hey, you know we LoveCats are suckers for animals. :-)
Here’s Molly the pig. Isn’t she just adorable!
Molly was an unexpected surprise. On Day 1 of our trip we just decided to drive from Newcastle towards Melbourne until we felt like stopping. We stopped at Springhurst—a tiny, tiny place—and stayed at The Old Butter Factory for the night where Molly was the resident pig. (Okay, I couldn’t resist this pic either, but isn’t it a fab building).
I’ve not patted a pig before and I was surprised by how coarse Molly’s hair was. She was a real sweetheart—adored a scratch behind her ears.
And for some reason, there were a couple of peacocks wandering around too.
Okay, once in Tasmania it’s non-negotiable: we have to see Tasmanian devils. And we did. At a wildlife sanctuary called Bonorong Park.
Here we met Fred, the baby wombat.
And here’s Fred and me touching noses. If I’d known at this point precisely how aggressive teenage wombats could be, there’s no way I’d have done this.
Billy the koala was a real hit with the two carloads of Asian tourists. We all got to pet Billy and his fur was sooooo soft.
Kangaroos! Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve patted a kangaroo? Okay, I know I’m sounding like a tourist, but it was fun!
And the stars of the show—the Tasmanian Devils. They’re certainly not as cute as Billy, but I believe they have a certain charm. Our guide destroyed many of the myths surrounding them. Yes, if you stick a finger in front of their nose you will probably lose it. They have seriously powerful jaws. That said, with each other they’re more bluff than bite. They know how much damage they can inflict on each other so they work at being scary rather than bite-y.
For a long time it was believed they were a threat to livestock and were hunted accordingly, but they’re scavengers not predators. Now, due to their dwindling numbers, a couple of problems have arisen throughout the island. Once upon a time the devils completely picked cleaned the carcasses of dead livestock, often before a farmer even knew an animal was dead. These days, however, there are more carcasses than devils and flyblown sheep have become a problem. Also, the fox population is on the increase. Devils enter the dens and eat the fox’s young, but now there’s not so many of them… Well, you get the picture.
And therein ends today's lesson. :-)
I couldn’t believe what an endearing relationship the guide had with these two devils. I swear, they LOVED him.
So… What less-than-cute-and-fluffy animal do you have a bit of a soft spot for? And to help us all get into the Christmas spirit I’ll give away an advance copy of my December release The Nanny Who Saved Christmas to one commenter.