Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Survive on A Farm (Tips from someone who knows nothing about it). Part 2: The Honest To Goodness Truth About Kangaroos

If you live anywhere in the world other than the "bush", you probably think kangaroos are these incredible, gorgeous, soft, cute, hopping animals. You probably want one as a pet. If you would give your left arm for a kangaroo as a pet, it's probably not a good idea to read on. Consider that a warning.

When I first moved out here ('out here' being just west of Woop Woop) I truly was amazed EVERY SINGLE TIME I saw a Kangaroo. "Oh look! It's hopping!" And "Awwww! It has a joey in it's pouch!" And they are truly remarkable animals. There is something very interesting about them. And they are incredibly cute. I suppose even all these years later, I still am amazed that I live in a part of the world where I see so many amazing creatures on a daily basis.

But let me give you the facts about Kangaroos. The facts as I know them.

1. Kangaroos are missiles on 2 legs, programmed to hit your car in the most expensive place to repair. This is a fact. You'd think after years and years of evolution they would have sussed out that the black strip of road connecting civilisations is a no-go zone. But no. Day after day these furry morons continue to hurtle themselves obliviously towards moving vehicles. The first time you ever hit a kangaroo, you'll feel very bad about it and maybe even cry. But rest assured, the next time you hit one you'll be angry about it. You want to hope with these hoppies that they actually DO die on impact. And I'm not saying that because I'm a sadistic monster. The alternative to death is barely surviving. If you are unfortunate enough to hit a kangaroo and NOT kill it, you are faced with the moral dilemma of whether or not to put it out of misery yourself (and I have known people to have to finish the job with golf clubs, car repair parts and even sticks), or just drive on and hope that it dies sooner rather than later. And trust me, past experience has shown that you can't shake that image from your head in a hurry. And so I reiterate, you DO hope that a kangaroo dies on impact, in the unfortunate instance of you hitting one.

2. Kangaroos eat the feed intended for other livestock, and plants in your garden. In fact they eat pretty much everything they shouldn't be eating. And if anyone reading this has heard the fantastic stories about "the near extinction of kangaroos", then they surely haven't taken a drive past our sorghum crops, or the burgeoning wheat crops of our neighbours. No problem with kangaroo numbers out here. And these kangaroos don't have a problem breeding either. It's not uncommon to see a kangaroo with a tiny joey suckling at the teat, and a bigger joey in the pouch, and an even bigger joey, independently hopping beside its mother. SO don't try to tell me any of that tree hugger mumbo jumbo about kangaroos, because your cries will definitely fall on deaf ears. When these furry little hop hops terrorise your garden and crops, you tell me how much you love them!

3. The smell of a 3 day kangaroo carcass on the side of the road is something you won't forget in a hurry. Enough said.

4. Kangaroos make great working dog meat. But when you are going to shoot one, aim carefully, because missing the big one and hitting the joey can be heart breaking.

But the other truth about kangaroos is that they really are beautiful and incredible creatures. Watching them drink at a waterhole, or bound effortlessly over fences, drains and tall grass is mind boggling. Seeing a joey chasing it's mother and wobbling as it hops still makes me smile. And furthermore, it reminds me of what a wonderful part of Australia I really live in. And how lucky I am to live here.

If you haven't been to this part of the world yet, then pack your bags, and come and have a look. But remember to drive carefully.

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