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Shabadoo and wifelette down under

Cat versus the wildlife of Australia

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 22 March 2008 | Views [1053] | Comments [2]

My wife loves animals. And they tend to love her. Met a couple of dogs over here, they couldn't get enough of her. One rabbit - bought her drinks, took her out to see a show. Love her they do.

So, on a beautiful Saturday morning in a leafy glade, surrounded by tweeting birds and non-tweeting trees, we were not aware that immense evil was lurking nearby. The kookaburra, kind of like a more furry kingfisher, flits from tree to tree making the sort of noise you might hear if you crushed a monkey in a steam engine. But it's still pretty. And it flitted, for crying out loud. If it had swooped or rampaged, we wouldn't have been caught offguard. But it FLITTED. So it was safe and cute. Until we decided to scoff our surviving snack food, indestructible German sausage on stale crackers. Mmmmmmmm.

The kookaburra does not appear to be particularly meat-eatey, but this is where we were wrong. Cat was positioning the piece of German sausage in a manner that suggested it was heading towards her mouth, perhaps to be eaten (or certainly to be savoured, and then pushed to one side for later consumption, as if I had married a tall hamster). From the east came the sound of absolutely nothing, then the outline of something fluffy, a shadow, a figment of form, a shriek of wife, and the whole wildlife/human dynamic had changed in Australia for ever. The kookaburra had his German sausage, and Cat was left with a rather pecked finger for her troubles (though rest assured, gentle reader, the cracker was safe).

Shocked, damaged but ultimately intact, Cat bravely continued the eating process, rather more wary.

If there is one creature even cuter than a kookaburra, it's the possum. So cute it could kill diabetics with a single look, they are natures furry thieves, almost as agile as monkeys, and probably more tasty. They raid the campsite every night for leftovers, and between them and the bandicoots, the wildlife is better in the night than during the day.

We had seen a few, and they were very entertaining creatures. So one would not expect to fear them. They were adorable. One had winked at me. Another had hugged me, and introduced me to his family, each one cuter than the last. So, when Cat squatted down to have a closer look and a possum started ambling cheerfully towards her, she would have expected some love.

It was not to be. Having lulled her into a false sense of security, it wandered innocently up to her flip-flopped feet, and bit her on the big toe. Wife shriek number 2, I raced to her aid by laughing uncontrollably, like the bastard I am.

Having checked that both wife and possum had up-to-date tetanus shots, we parted ways with evil creature #2. No animals were harmed in the making of this journal, and neither was Cat - just a couple of scrapes, no bloodshed, though I did get both IMMENSE wounds on camera just for authenticity.



It is all in the name guys kingFISHER fish-animal, animal-meat, and that goes for the ones in the UK too. When i was a wee lass in Aus we used to be hugely amused by giving raw sausages to kookaburras. They would whack them on a branch spraying raw meat everywhere. We thought this was a bit daft but were assured that the clever creature thought it was a snake and was killing it before consumption. I am truely glad Cat offered cooked sausage thus saving the poor creature from the humiliation of going through the motions of killing a sausage.

  Vicki Apr 3, 2008 6:11 PM


Thanks Vicki! I am relieved to know it is a relatively common event, and that I've not been singled out as a kookaburra victim for the remainder of my trip. I will never, I fear, be as cavalier with my handling of smoked sausage as I was before, but I will now endeavour to keep an eye out for the buggers and point them in James' general direction. ;)

  candjmcshane Apr 13, 2008 4:26 PM

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