Thursday, July 08, 2004

Australia's deadliest animal. 

If you were to visit Australia, which animal would you be most afraid of? It's an interesting question. Snakes? Spiders?

No. The biggest killer in Australia is the kangaroo.

But the animal itself is not dangerous at all! It's just that people keep dying when crashing into them in cars. Collisions with kangaroos number in the thousands each year.

Kangaroos are now in plague numbers, so there are far more out there and the drought which has affected much of the country means they are on the move to find food, the poor creatures.

There are over sixty species of kangaroo in Australia, with total numbers estimated at 50 million. That's at least two for every person. (Hey, where's my two kangaroos? I want my skippies!)

They are truly magnificent, regal creatures. It is just horrible to see them lying dead by the roadside after being hit by vehicles. A couple of years ago, when I was commuting 150 kilometres, I would regularly see dead kangaroos, often at intensities of up to twenty or thirty within ten kilometres. I had to drive slowly and had a few near misses. I was always amazed at the foolhardy motorists who would fly past me at 120k/mh - mad. Taking their lives in their hands.

The linked story above reports kangaroos killing dogs. This would be a rarity and you would find feral dogs - of which there are thousands in Australia (bred from people dumping unwanted dogs in the bush - bastards) - would pose a far greater risk to kangaroos than kangaroos would ever pose to domestic dogs.

And in defence of kangaroos, I offer this story. The kangaroo saved the life of its owner. Blind in one eye, it had been adopted ten years ago by the family.

So when you come to Australia, look out for Skippy. He will not hurt you. Except maybe if you drive fast through HIS territory.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

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