summer animal encounters

It’s summer in Tasmania.  Long hot days of venturing out into the great outdoors.  On the farm the outdoors is part of everyday regardless of the season.  Our farm house was built back in the early 1900s, situated right in the middle of the farm.  Even if we yelled at the top of our lungs our nearest neighbour wouldn’t be able to hear us.  It’s peaceful.  We have acres of pasture around us for the cows and quite a bit of bush (or woodland).

Brushtail possums

Brushtail possums

Sharing this beautiful place that we call home are a number of cute members of the Australian wildlife family.  We regularly have possums both brushtail and ringtail dancing on our roof (they wear overly large tap shoes at times).  There are wallabies living in some of the treed areas on the farm and sometimes they come and jump around on the house deck.  So cute.

A wallaby on the deck

A wallaby on the deck

wallaby on deck 1

Once we had a visit from a one-eyed kookaburra.  I was a bit worried about him.  He hung around for a quite a few days and didn’t seem bothered by people.  I dubbed him Stanley.  Pauly fed Stanley some mince a few times (they eat meat).  Finally, after much thought on what to do, I phoned the nearby wildlife zoo and sheepishly asked Are you missing a one-eyed kookaburra?  Yes, they said, they came and took dear Stanley home.  They care for injured wildlife and often rehabilitate them back into the wild but Stanley, with his missing eye lived in a beautiful large enclosure.  There’d been a storm and his home had been damaged – that’s why he was flying around and came to visit us on the farm.  That was back in October 2010.

Stanley on the Jeep

Stanley on the Jeep

He wasn't all worried that I was wheelbarrowing garden mulch right beside him.

He wasn’t at all worried that I was wheelbarrowing garden mulch right beside him through the gate.

Sometimes at night we see all sorts of things like owls, quolls, even the occasional Tasmanian Devil.  Echidnas crossing the road are a regular sight.  There are brown trout in the creek near the house and wild ducks including Mountain Ducks and black swans are everywhere.  Eagles, hawks and cute little wrens and other little native birds soar and flutter.  And of course we have our Welcome Swallow nest right at our front door, I wrote about these cute little birds a few months ago.

The 2013 Welcome Swallow babies almost ready to fly

The 2013 Welcome Swallow babies almost ready to fly

The farm is home to lots of frogs too.  Frogs, I’m told are the sign of a healthy environment.  Sometimes we go to sleep by a Frog Symphony of constant croaks and nee deeps… we must have a very healthy environment here.

Echidna

Echidna

All manner of cute lovely wildlife.  None of them are aggressive towards people; they are all shy and quite reclusive.  This post is especially for Sue who writes the blog Travel Tales of Life.  In a recent post I made a comment in passing about a certain creature and she was interested to know more.  If you haven’t stopped by Sue’s blog please do: wonderful posts and fabulous photos you will find!

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

Tasmania has reptiles too including lizards like blue tongues and skinks.   And there are snakes.  All Tasmanian snakes are highly venomous but there have been no recorded human deaths by snake bite for a number of decades.  In fact of the few who are bitten each year the vast majority, if not all, are people who handle snakes for a living.  No runners have been bitten that I’m aware of 🙂

There are two main types: the Tiger Snake and the Copperhead.

Tiger snake

Tiger snake

Copperhead

Copperhead

I don’t like snakes.  But snakes don’t like me or you either!  Tasmanian wildlife in general is very shy and there is no shier member than the much maligned snake.  In the five years that I’ve been on the farm I’ve caught a glimpse of just one.  I was walking up our long driveway and just happened to turn my head to see the last half of the snake rapidly slithering into a tree guard (a tree guard is a long line of trees used for shelter).  It was going as fast as it could to get out of my way.

In my early 20s I did a bit of bush walking and while I did see a reasonable amount of snakes they were all trying to get out of the way and get into a hiding spot.

The trouble with snakes is that they terrify most of us.  Even the thought that there might be a snake around is enough to stop me running on the farm, instead I drive into town and run there.  It makes no sense really because I’ve hardly even seen one out here.  Once in five years.  I asked Pauly how many snakes he’s seen in the 20 years that he’s been farming here and he had to think for a moment;  he finally said about half a dozen. I asked him if any of the chaps who work here had seen any.  One guy has seen two so far this season but he was up in a remote paddock that’s full of trees and rocks.  He was in snake territory.

A snake that came into a friend's house - this house is way out in the bush and the doors were always left open... the snake came for a visit!

A snake that came into a friend’s house – this house is way out in the bush and the doors were always left open… the snake came for a visit.  The doors are kept closed now!

Snakes need respect, we need to be mindful of them but being as terrified of them as I am is overkill.  They want us to do our thing as far away from them as possible – suits me fine.

I will happily drive into town rather than run down the farm roads, many of which are currently edged with waist high grass ready for slashing… I don’t like the thought of something slithering out to cross my path even though the likelihood is very remote!  So to my blogging friend Sue, Tasmania in summer still should be on your bucket list – nothing to be worried about… really…  In fact we are more likely to get dumped on by an irrigator than see a snake 🙂

2013-01-07 09.52.32

Happy running 🙂

Parks and Wildlife Tasmania has some good information on Tasmanian Snakes.  For first aid information visit their Living with snakes page.

12 thoughts on “summer animal encounters

  1. Couldn’t agree more! I grew up in Tassie (I moved overseas when I was 22) and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually seen a snake (other than at the wildlife parks!). As you say they spend as much time trying to get away from us as we do from them. If you do see one cross your path you just need to stop and wait for it to move – or if it doesn’t seem inclined to do so back away slowly and find another way to go 🙂

  2. LOVE this post and thank you for writing it and for your very kind words about my blog. i really enjoy your posts and of course this one especially! Not too many snakes here in Alberta at the moment. Did I mention I just shoveled the snow off the walk again? 🙂

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