Tuesday, 3 February 2009

A snake and a quoll

I've just been away for a few days, visiting people in Tasmania. It was a nice trip and I hardly went near the internet. Hence no blog posts. It was also a bit of a reminder of the somewhat cloistered world I must live in, sheltered amongst scientists and other like-minded people as I am in my usual daily life. I am clearly a bit of a science geek. My reason for making this statement about this trip? It was great to see people I haven't seen for a while and spend time doing fun things, but the absolute highlights of this trip for me were two fleeting wildlife encounters. 

The first was a tiger snake encounter in a garden. Most other folk there at the time were not happy to see the snake and there was some talk of the only good snake being a dead snake. Perhaps the snake heard because it promptly moved on. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a crazy herpetologist and I am mostly definitely VERY scared of venomous snakes. I acknowledge that the snake was rather close to peoples' houses and it's probably better for them that it wasn't so close and they'd be a lot happier if it was moved elsewhere. I was certainly very careful where I put my feet for the next few days. But still, above all else it was just a wonderful thing to see. Here, judge for yourselves:

The second wildlife encounter was, if you can believe it, even more fantastic than the snake. Actually I'm sure a lot of people would find this the more favourable option. This because it involves a cute furry mammal. I saw a quoll! I have never before seen a quoll in the wild, although I've been in the right sorts of places many times. So this was very exciting. We were driving to the airport early in the morning. It was still dark and we were paying close attention to the roadside vegetation for fear of colliding with suicidal wallabies, when what should saunter across the road in front of us but an unmistakably spotty quoll. It was an Eastern quoll, I know this because it was black with white spots. We had to pretty much stop the car to avoid hitting it. It was only a quick look, but it made being up and about at 4am most definitely worthwhile!

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