Christmas Bells

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Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Nature of Wombat Poo

You might have noticed that my blog entries now "sign off" with a Wombat Poo. (Thanks to Miss Eagle for technical assistance in setting up this "chop", as it is known (very Chinese).

Why Wombat Poo? Well, if you have ever lived with Wombats, you realise they dominate the area.

I was particularly impressed with this fine effort from a major Poo Architect. I saw it when looking for rare plants, down along Tourist Road - the home of the very best Wombats. The observant visitor to this Blog will detect that this image shows sandy soil, not fine red basalt soil. That confirms that this image was taken on the Sandstone plateau, not in Robertson proper.

Wombats are the major road hazard in Robertson and district. They come off badly, when they meet a car, but I'm sure they take out the occasional "front end" of small cars. But at night, one has to be on the look-out for them, all the time. They are slow moving, but heavy. You could say they are like mobile rocks. At this time of year, one sees a dead Wombat approximately every 10 Kms, as you drive around the district. Sensitivity prevents me from taking photos of dead Wombats, lest their relatives and friends get offended.

Tonight I saw a nice fat (live) one on the grass outside my neighbour's place, as I drove in at 10:45 pm. Lena thinks they are very exciting to look at, from the car, but I do not let her get out and chase them. Wombats are very unperturbed by small dogs, but I do not encourage her to bark at them. She does go around the place, every morning, and every evening, to sniff out where they have been. Fortunately, she is disinclined to go down their burrows. I am sure that is a good decision on her part. Wombats are much more powerful than a small dog - and the burrow is their territory, so they would be the dominant animal once down the burrow. I am sure large dogs (especially more than one) would trouble a wombat, if it was outside its burrow.

Their burrows are the most obvious sign of their presence. In our deep, red soil, they happily make deep burrows and leave great piles of freshly dug red dirt outside their "doors". This mound of soil is about 2 metres across.
Clearly, they are not afraid of predators. They make no attempt to disguise their dwelling places.

They certainly dominate with their burrows, if they happen to take a fancy to living under your house. Fortunately, this has not yet happened to me, but I know some people ..... But that is their story to tell, not mine.

I can vouch for the fact that Wombats undermine fence posts, as in this image at left. One of these years, the section of fence line above this burrow will topple over.

When not burrowing under fences, they will push their way under or through the supposedly rabbit-proof chicken-wire fencing which was traditionally used, in Robertson, on the lower run of fences. So Wombats leave a permanent "pop-hole" under your fence. All the other animals of the area, rabbits, foxes, dogs, etc soon learn to use these as the unofficial gate into your yard.

But, above all, they dominate by leaving their Poo around the place, in prominent positions, especially on rocks, and other flat surfaces.

Whenever you have just done some work, they come and inspect your work, and give it their own seal of approval.

Wombat Poo is very fibrous (they are herbivores, after all). It starts out quite dark, but goes yellowish-green as it ages. In shape, it is usually quite squared off, and chunky. It is normally fairly dry.

I am happy to report that it is not very offensive in smell. It is just that they leave it around in such obvious places.

You cannot ignore your local Wombat. It is big part of the Nature of Robertson.


Miss Eagle said...

I love Ruth Park's Muddle-Headed Wombat particularly as portrayed on the children's show on the ABC by the late John Ewart. The Muddle'Head's segment always came on at ten past five in the afteroon. My mother used to say she couldn't peel the potatoes without it. And if you recall the Muddle-Head's good friend was Mouse. What a world away!

Denis Wilson said...

I loved the Muddle-headed Wombat. Great memories of innocent times come flooding back to me. Thank you.

I am sure he never "did poos", though.
Not on the ABC, in the very early 60s.