Couldn’t help this kid’s rhyme going through my head as I drove home in the early dark this evening. Wildlife might look lovely but they can be dangerous to themselves and drivers. I’ve never understood it when people say don’t swerve to miss an animal you could have an accident. When you hit a roo it’s an accident so you’re going to have one anyway! And there’s no way I could stop my reflexes from swerving anyway – they are faster than my brain these days. Have you ever noticed how long it takes for accidents or near misses to take place? I was driving a new work car after a country home visit and as I headed back into town, head full of how I had to organise the office before I left for the day………OMG, bloody roo, cr@p I’m going to have to tell the receptionist that I’ve wrecked one of the new cars, OMG how embarrassing, how long will it take me to walk back (no phone coverage out in the sticks), hope the baby scales don’t break……it was about then that the roo went its way and I straightened the car up on the mountain road, breathed a sigh of relief and went back to thinking about the office. All that went through my brain though, and in about the 3 seconds that you are swerving and the roo is either hitting or powering off. Have you ever seen a car coming towards you as you get half way around a corner and your brain goes ‘F***! They’re on our side of the road?’ And before you hit or miss your brain has notified your family about the accident, you’ve sorted out who’s going to bring the kids up, how you’ll miss them? Brains are amazing things. When I used to ride horses in my youth I remember going through a narrow section where there was a lot of fruit trees and barbed wire along the fence. The horse got a fright flew up in a small rear, and due to the trees all around us it started swinging around in mid air with me clinging on, knowing I was going to fall at some stage and hoping I wouldnt get speared by the trees, flicked onto the barbed wire or land under the horse and have it dance around on top of me. All that went through my brain, but what truly amazed me was the number of swear words I managed to get out before I hit the ground! Perhaps not something to get an award for – but I didn’t know that many swear words, I’m pretty sure I repeated a few of the better ones. But the way your brain can work under stress is phenomenal. Even more so when you have to live with my brain in ‘day to day’ mode.
So roo’s are definately a problem, but wombats! OMG they are like furry tanks. And they behave like them. They run up the side of the road, they run across the road, they stand in the middle of the road. While you’re watching the edges of the road about kanga height, you totally miss seeing the speeding furry tank flying onto the road. I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies love the sort of stress wildlife can induce in those of us who live out of town. Mind you I prefer red wine – much more satisfying than popping pills, but each to their own. Recently, when going in to pick up my son from Macca’s at about 11 at night I found a massive wombat hit on the road. In the middle of the lane, blood oozing etc, couldn’t tell if it was breathing, but there was a little wombat running around at the edge of the road obviously a young one. Here’s the dilemma. Wombats can be very fierce, and they bite, nasty bites. So while I’m wondering how to manage the situation a car comes up the hill behind me, so I put on the hazards and flag them down. A lady gets out and I tell her the problem, ask for help. The wombat is still breathing so I figure if we put it to the side of the road it won’t get run over by the next car along and the baby is less likely to get hit as well. I’ve got saddle blankets in the back so that seems feasible. Except the lady thinks she’s too squeamish to help. Well that’s a problem because this thing is totally huge. Luckily another neighbour I know happens along now and helps to put it onto the blanket and drag it to the side we saw the baby on (who’s now disappeared) and we leave it with a towel over it. Meanwhile my daughter has been phoning LAOKO to find someone to help with the baby. I head off to Macca’s and LAOKO rings so I’m going to wait with the injured wombat on the way back and they will come and euthanase it, and take the baby home to look after it. Except we get back and this bloody (physically) wombat who didn’t do anything except groan when we moved it to the side of the road is gone. So did someone drive along, find a womat in a stripey towel and take it? Then we find the stripey towel in the bushes, and a trail of flattened grass. The neighbour goes past, backs up to tell us ‘Your half dead wombat is walking up the hill there.’ LAOKO turns up. No we don’t have the wombat – it’s up there somewhere. No we don’t have the baby last we heard it, it was in the bush over there. So we all spend about 45 mins scouring the bush and the road with torches and a net. We don’t find anything. We leave LAOKO to wait a little longer. We go home, where I need a red wine – but go to bed instead. I’m pretty sure my ‘half dead wombat’ was walking up the hill again the other day. I honestly cannot believe that it could walk off the way it looked and behaved but they ARE built to withstand a lot. Not all do and you’ll see a lot of dead ones on the side of the road. You should drive carefully. If you have a smallish car the wombat could look better after the altercation than your car does. Look after our animals. We love them (we also hate them – well their behaviour not them personally.) Remind me to tell you about the house wombat the big b*stard! Every home owners nightmare. If you want to read more about roo’s then check out this blog post www.countrylife.feral007.com/2011/01/06/kangaroos-how-cute-are-they/ If you want to hear more about wombats….especially the house wombat, stay tuned.