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wild animals I have seen or had truck with

Le Groupe des Mignon Photos

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Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 2:08am Top

I saw a leopard in the wild in India back in 1990.

I thought of this because my son is going off to Kočevski rog for three days, left this morning. Thar's bars in Kr. Big mean brown ones. And I am such a fool, I told him to bring me one he catches with his bear hands.

So as we are on such wild animals as whales and god, this might supply some space for farting around.

Jan 9, 2012, 2:35am Top

If your son has bear hands, he may well be able to catch one.

I saw some sort of mountain lion walking along the road in Marin county, once. That's as exotic as I get.

Jan 9, 2012, 2:47am Top

Ishotanelephantinmypajamasonce . . .

Jan 9, 2012, 2:48am Top

I've seen squirrels, a few mice, assorted lizards and salamanders, opossums, and raccoons, all in the wilds of our urban Northern California back yard, numerous deer at Asilomar, chipmunks and seals at Point Lobos, and some elk walking around a parking lot in Colorado.

Oh, yeah, and one time a skunk ran right across my path at Shoreline Park in Mountain View. We did not stop to chat.

Jan 9, 2012, 3:25am Top

We have quite a few rapid Republicans in these parts.

Jan 9, 2012, 8:00am Top

I have heard some of those fast-talkers!

Once in Montana I saw some bison and some elk. Otherwise the wild animals around here run to pigeons and rats. One of my dogs brought me a rat once and a pigeon another time. That is what Westies do, I hear.

Jan 9, 2012, 10:30am Top

I never saw a mountain lion or an elk...

Jan 9, 2012, 10:37am Top

I shared a bedroom with a rat once. I don't know which one of us was most scared.

Other than that, a few squirrels and assorted birds, I can't think ... oh wait, I think we "rescued" a hedgehog on the side of the road once when I was a teenager. I doubt it was very grateful.

Marmots, in the Alps.

The usual wild animals during a trip in Namibia: lions, giraffes, elephants, lots and lots of antelopes. All this seen safely from a bus.

Jan 9, 2012, 10:43am Top

Marmots! That's BIG. Safari animals are still animals, at least some of them.

I met a rat in a bathroom in India once. He wanted past me, me past him, we both guessed wrong and met in mid-leap.

I had one squirming in my back as I sat on a couch in India once.

I saw a bandicoot (Indian super rat) that I estimate at 5 to 7 kilos.

In Slovenia the hedgehog is called jež. I've caught them, held them, cavorted and gamboled with them--why? Because they are the most commonly seen dead at the side of the road creatures hereabouts.

Jan 9, 2012, 10:43am Top

Once, when driving in Canada, my children informed me there was an ancient horse running beside us. Indeed, at dusk, a rather lean and long-legged moose can pass for such.

Jan 9, 2012, 10:43am Top

I never saw a moose.

Jan 9, 2012, 10:46am Top

Urania, what's the hunting season for those?

Jan 9, 2012, 10:48am Top

I forgot about mice. You can sometimes see them in the Paris metro. Unlike New York, I've never seen rats in the metro here.

There was a small settlement of mice and rats a few years ago in a wood within walking distance from my apartment. I used to have mouse-watching safaris on days I wasn't working.

Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 10:57am Top

Sloths! In Costa Rica just last month. There is a sloth sanctuary, but we did see one in the wild.

Also, in my neighborhood I see regularly: deer, hedgehogs, rabbits, buzzards/vultures (not sure of the difference), tiny frogs, occasional red fox.

Driving through Yellowstone, saw elk? and a bear and whatever those things are that hang out in the town center.

Saw a rat on a power line on St. Charles Street near i/s with Carrollton once. Freaked me out. Yeeck! Saw mice in my Garden District apartment.

My college campus was silly with alligators. Go Gators! The closest I ever dared to get was maybe 7 feet. (They can leap 6 feet if they feel like it, but mostly they're kinda lazy.)

I feel this list is incomplete.

Oh, and owls! And groundhogs (how could I forget Freddy, who lived under the front hedges?) In the neighborhood.

Jan 9, 2012, 11:09am Top

Elk, lots of black tailed deer, bears (black ones), and assorted mesopredators such as raccoons, skunks etc. I've seen rats downtown if I am there really early in the a.m. I have never seen any wild cats of any kind outside of zoos. There is a cougar that lives in my Dad's neck of the woods.

My mother once came face to face with a mountain lion on the Multnomah Falls trail - froze and tried not to look it in the eye - then its owner came around the bend and called it away and she only then noticed it had a collar. I still think it should not be legal to have those kind of animals as pets.

Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 11:13am Top

Also, I saw an owl in broad daylight while canoeing in the Tualatin River. We had the heck of a time identifying it later from bird books but we think it was a Long Eared Owl. And we see raptors all the time, red tailed hawks, ospreys, etc. We have seen bald and golden eagles but rarely, and usually we don't see eagles except when we are on the coast.

Jan 9, 2012, 11:24am Top

On our river trips we have seen lots of herons and egrets. Someone always says "look, there is an eagle", but I have never seen one yet.

Jan 9, 2012, 11:29am Top

Once the owner of a place in the country I was staying at found a baby owl fallen from its nest. She rescued it but it was a lot of work raising it. It had a ravenous appetite and was rather aggressive, and was big for a baby (though of course I suppose it was a normal size, but it was a rather large species of owl). I don't know what happened to it, she was trying to get the parents to take it back when I left.

Jan 9, 2012, 12:47pm Top

Oh, well, I've seen a bunch of moose and elk and that sort of thing. I didn't think of them as exotic, at first, which I suppose is silly.

Seen some coyotes. See a lot of foxes around here - particularly in the cities, at night.

Never seen a bear.

Jan 9, 2012, 2:50pm Top

la crosse, wisconsin, had lots of bald eagles...probably still do...might have been in winter

Jan 9, 2012, 3:25pm Top

I just read something somewhere that the milder midwest winter has kept the eagles up north because the Mississippi River has not frozen. They hunt in the river, so I am sure they would hang out near LaCrosse.

Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 4:06pm Top

>12 A_musing: A_musing,

Hunting season for what? Rapid Republicans or moose? We do not have moose in this part of the country. However, coyotes, deer, bears, foxes, bobcats, skunks, rabbits, wild turkeys, many different kinds of hawks, herons, bluebirds, humming birds, so many other kinds of birds I lost track of the number a long time ago, chipmunks, possum, badgers, flying and nonflying squirrels, a few bats, racoons (We have some living in our attic. I think they have set up a furniture manufacturing business up there), snakes (many different kinds) - all live in the neighborhood. I probably see most (except for the birds many of whom are seasonal) of the above at least once a month, and many every day. I am sure I have left out something.

The worst encounter I have personally experienced (apart from the rabid Rs) was with a wild boar. Wild boars are scary, vicious, and extremely smart. When I was small, I saw animals in zoos but I don't think that counts. I don't like going to zoos. I have not visited any since childhood.

We have llamas around here that people use as protection for small goat farms and such. A huge horse farm (several thousand acres) is directly across the street from us. I have visited ostrich farms in NC. My high school Latin teacher, an ex-Marine and karate expert (She used to break a large block of wood in her classes on the first day of each school year - she never had discipline problems in her classes) raised peacocks. I do not like peacocks. They are mean, noisy, and smelly. Swans are mean as well. Ducks? Depends on the breed.

Jan 9, 2012, 4:09pm Top

I would like to see penguins and polar bears, but the environments in which they live are fragile. So I must be content with knowing they exist.

Jan 9, 2012, 4:29pm Top

I have seen a penguin or twelve, but they were in a zoo.

u, you can go see the polar bears. There's this rilly cold place in Canada--Churchill, I believe--where they will drive you around in a fortified vehicle and get you as close to the bears as liability insurance will allow. My MIL did this and took pictures, too!

As for the penguins, if you figure that out, let me know.

Jan 9, 2012, 4:29pm Top

you seen bobcats? wow

Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 5:00pm Top

I have seen all the Iconic Australian animals: The Koala, the Echidna and the Platypus, in urban settings.

My friend has a 10 acre block near (30 miles) Melbourne.
One morning I watched this grumpy Large Koala amble along a path. Now everyone thinks of Cute cuddly Koalas. Not this fellow. He was about 2 feet tall and his talons were at least 6 inches long. I did NOT rush up to try and pat him. He spent the day up a tree and continued his journey next day.

As I small boy (in the'50) we swam in the creek behind my school. Platypus's, though not common were seen often enough. That creek was totall polluted in the 1960's thru
the 1980's. It seems to be coming back with some concerted effort. Recently I read that Platypus's had been seen there again.

The echidna I saw was totally curled up and after inspecting it, I left it alone. My only sighting!

And Kangaroos: My favourite sightng were, when I was going to work early in Canberra - dawn, I would pass the Royal Canberra Golf Course. There, through the mists, I would see at least 10 feeding on the fairway.

Magic moments.

Jan 9, 2012, 4:59pm Top

22> Llamas as protection? From what? Are they trained for martial arts? Do they herd the goats?

Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 5:15pm Top

#26. In Australia Alpacas are often used in Hobby farms to protect sheep etc. against Foxes.
They alert the sheep and CAN kick as well as any Black Belt :-)

Jan 9, 2012, 5:10pm Top

Guido how wonderful you have seen all these animals. It must seem quite ordinary to you but to us Northerners they seem so exotic! I'd love to visit Australia some day and see koalas, platypi (?) and kangaroos!

Jan 9, 2012, 5:13pm Top

Urania, R hunting season, of course. You know, when Dick Cheney comes to town.

My mama once had llamas. Nasty critters. A camp we've been to north of here also has them - the guy who runs it had promised his son an i-pad, but the kid figured out he could get two llamas for the price of an i-pad, and asked for them instead.

Goats are superior to llamas.

Jan 9, 2012, 5:18pm Top

R hunting season, where they shoot each other in the face?

Jan 9, 2012, 5:23pm Top

Don't know about llamas, but Alpacas...
Last time I went to the Melbourne Show, I spent over an hour talking to the Alpaca breeder and gazzing into the beautiful eyes of the baby Alpacas. They really are something else. And only spit if you really, really annoy them :-)

Jan 9, 2012, 5:25pm Top

I forgot I saw llamas in Peru and Bolivia. The are quite nasty. Seems to me they spit, too, and one does not want to be hit with what they spit.

Edited: Jan 9, 2012, 5:30pm Top

Deer, many times. Moose once. If they take residence under your house, but fend for themselves, do skunks count as wild or domestic?

Jan 9, 2012, 5:34pm Top

33: Yeah, camels can be like that too. But their eyelashes are so beautiful.

Jan 9, 2012, 5:44pm Top

Yes, llamas really are used as protectors for sheep and goats. A llama charged at me once. Luckily for me, there was a fence.

Jan 9, 2012, 5:49pm Top


I really must go to Australia some time. I like seeing animals but only when we're both in our natural habitats together. I am not into eco-tourism because I do not believe it is environmentally sound.

Oh I forgot. I have seen armadillos in Texas.

Jan 9, 2012, 5:57pm Top

I went swimming once and a wild manatee showed up. I was without my glasses and the water was not crystal clear, so my impression was mainly of a Hyundai-sized turd, but it was still a lovely experience.

Jan 9, 2012, 6:07pm Top

>38 RidgewayGirl: - I have always wanted to swim with a Hyundai-sized turd. That sounds really cool.

Jan 9, 2012, 6:10pm Top

We need a limerick.

Jan 9, 2012, 6:15pm Top

How about a haiku:

Wild animals roam
In salonistas' past lives
Books don't bite or shit

Jan 9, 2012, 7:39pm Top

With apologies to "RidgwayGirl" and not really a limerick,

There was a young Girl, A-musing
who thought she had swam, with a creature quite rare: I really find that so beguiling.

Though in trying to show, how large the creature might grow
She could only resort to a thought I thought quit disgusting.

My dear please do find your glasses
And maybe you'll see
What you wanted to see
A rare a rare a rare Manatee.

PS. I don't particularily find "turds" etc. disgusting
I think trying to write a "pseudo" limerick forced some of the words!


Jan 9, 2012, 7:44pm Top

Thanks Guido for coming through in the clutch.

Jan 9, 2012, 8:16pm Top

Growing up in NYS -- the usual suburban and lake animals -- squirrels, deer, raccoons, skunks, turtles, bass, muskies, perch, sunfish, mussels, robins, cardinals, wrens, caterpillars, lightning bugs

In NYC -- pigeons, sparrows, peacocks, rats, cockroaches, crickets

Travelling through the West -- moose, antelope, buffalo, deer, bear, chipmunks

In Florida -- dozens and dozens of birds -- herons, cranes, pelicans, mockingbirds, eagles, vultures, etc., wild pigs, deer, squirrels, rats, possums, armadillos, box turtles, gopher tortoises, alligators, manatees, dolphins, mullet, starfish, rattlesnakes, black snakes, racers, coral snakes, palmetto bugs, no-see-ums, rolypolys, mosquitos, all kinds of moths and butterflies,

a couple of coyotes loping through the neighborhood streets

when we were in the Everglades, an enormous crocodile sauntered up the river bank -- luckily we were in the car and stayed there.

Jan 9, 2012, 8:37pm Top

Again, cockroaches: domestic or wild? They seemed pretty well acclimated in my building!

Jan 9, 2012, 9:13pm Top

>45 slickdpdx: I always thought domestic--citified certainly, as I'd never seen one out in the forest or whatever here on the West Coast--but in Japan, there were waaaaaaay more cockroaches when I moved out to the countryside.

Jan 9, 2012, 9:36pm Top

Cocroaches may be citified, but they certainly ain't domesticated. In Florida, palmetto bug is the polite term for the HUGE native cockroach -- definitely NOT domesticated and often found in palmetto fronds.

Jan 10, 2012, 3:32am Top

I had a pet cockroach when I lived in Tokyo. Or at least he thought he was my pet, of maybe I was his. One day I managed to catch him and dropped him from my 3rd floor balcony. A few days later he was back. I gave up then, and moved all my vegetables to the refrigerators where I was reasonably sure he couldn't get. The elaborate cockroach traps I bought in stores didn't work either.

The most unsettling part was finding its droppings in my kitchen drawers...

Jan 10, 2012, 8:10am Top

I forgot nutrias. If I haven't mentioned it before, they were raised in the mediterranean foothills not far from here, for their fur, and when the operation stopped in the 60s they were left untended and now they are habituated to the region, including the coast. i've seen them dozens of times. this speaks to Ur's concern quite well as a post-ecotourism catastrophe. It's too bad that not all beleaguered animals could say, fuck it, then, I'll live in THEIR space.

Jan 10, 2012, 11:17am Top

Oh yeah, I saw a nutria shuffling along once, and I had never seen one before, and it was something! They are so big. I said to my mom, Oh my god, it's a Lorax! We have jokes here in Portland re-naming suburb/Nike headquarters Beaverton, to Nutriaton, because the beavers are pretty much gone but the nutria abound. They are destructive to the Pacific NW raparian ecosystems because unlike beavers they don't build dams but rather dig into the banks, exacerbating erosion problems.

46 to 48: We had huge flying cockroaches in Egypt too, and I considered them wild. I was unable to kill them because they were so big I felt like they were not insects. I used to catch them in jars. Our little apartment consistently got them through the drains and pipes. Once I was in bed and one fell off the ceiling onto my face, that was the only time a cockroach has actually made me scream. Really I sounded like the little girl in Jurassic Park.

The other time an animal took me aback that much was when I was straightening the "curtains" on this kids' playhouse at my Dad's cabin, which was an old chicken coop that the kids had adopted to play with their dolls in, and there was a baby bat hanging onto those curtains and I was not expecting to touch something soft and furry. It was still hanging there, shivering with fear, when I brought a bunch of adults back with me.

Jan 10, 2012, 12:16pm Top

Careful. Once a bandicoot tried to get in the front door of the family house in India, tried to convince me he was an insect. Worse than a pair of Jehova's--it took half an hour to get rid of him.

Jan 10, 2012, 12:22pm Top

If visiting preachers count as wildlife, I have seen several varieties in rural Oregon, but they are mostly JW and Mormons. Copies of the Watchtower can double as TP if you are in a pinch.

Jan 10, 2012, 10:25pm Top

Animal stories ? You want animal stories ? LOL

I once missed a Moose with my car by inches...
I once stepped out of the car in the middle of lionesses nest...
I once walked too close to a herd of cape buffalo...
I once spotted on a misty morning a cheetah in the middle of a herd of cows herded towards a pool drinking water. Neither the cows nor the Masai herders had noticed it...
I once stepped over a > 6 m Anaconda and only realized that something was lying on the path a few steps further.

Do I believe in guardian angels ? I do

Jan 11, 2012, 7:41am Top

First: I saw Klaus Kinski at the airport in Paris.

Second: I've been to Belgium but not the wild part you inhabit, Mac.

Jan 11, 2012, 8:48am Top

Many years back, we took a vacation on St. Kitts, and drove up into the hills in the middle of the island, where monkeys have infested what is left of the jungle and the sugar plantations. All of a sudden, hundreds of monkeys descended on our car, completely surrounding and covering it. We had to sit there and wait until something else excited them and they moved on. Damn monkeys.

So I've met the monkeys but not Kinski.

Jan 11, 2012, 8:48am Top

What is a nutria?

Jan 11, 2012, 9:43am Top

It sounds like something to eat, not an animal -- of course, it may be an edible animal.

Jan 11, 2012, 9:51am Top

It is a very big rodent. They make fur coats out of them. See here: http://nutria.com/site.php

Jan 11, 2012, 10:24am Top

A rodent of unusual size.

Jan 11, 2012, 11:19am Top

Like I said, it's a Lorax!

Jan 11, 2012, 12:34pm Top

They used to make coats out of it. Apparently they (whoever "they" are still do). I just saw an advertisement on the web for a depilated nutria coat. I am not sure I see the point of have a fur goat that has been depilated. Go figure.

Jan 11, 2012, 1:27pm Top

In Louisiana, and Florida, too, I think, there was this push to get people to start eating them. Didn't go over well.

Jan 11, 2012, 2:17pm Top


Edited: Jan 11, 2012, 2:19pm Top

That there is a dead nutria that lived a few weeks in the sewers that feed the Adriatic. This shot was taken as close as an animal in the sea can get to our apartment without a taxi.

sorry the picture is so big...finding it, finding the how to post...all that and I did not reduce the size. sorry

Jan 11, 2012, 6:49pm Top

Rick, that could be a thread killer

Jan 11, 2012, 6:59pm Top

I've actually never seen a dead one in person. Lots of other animals end up as roadkill, but I guess nutria stay pretty near the water and don't go moseying around on roads? Anyhow, yeah, that is quite a picture there.

Jan 12, 2012, 10:42am Top

Arjun is back, bear-free, reading these...really cracked up at number three...'Porius is great!'

Jan 12, 2012, 10:46am Top

Arjun misread #16, thought it was the owls canoeing.

Jan 12, 2012, 10:50am Top

#22 Arjun would like you to inquire as to prices if indeed the coons are making furniture. Put him down for one cupboard.

Jan 12, 2012, 10:53am Top

#41 Aptly, Arjun points out that some books DO bite.

Jan 12, 2012, 10:57am Top

He saw no bears, but did see their claw marks at the entrance to a cave.

Jan 17, 2012, 10:51pm Top

Speaking of kangaroos, it's time to air my old Scary Roo story again, last mentioned in the golden days of the Nature thread: http://www.librarything.com/topic/89569#1959110

Jan 18, 2012, 6:47am Top

Terrific story, worth a repeat:

'It was when I was living on 13 acres (tiny hobby farm) with my parents. There were roos everywhere, and in a drought they'd get very possessive with any patch of green on the property. We began to notice one MASSIVE grandaddy kangaroo around the place - he was taller and wider than my dad. We named him Big Max.

Over time one summer, Big Max began to be seen more and more in the vegie garden, until eventually he decided it belonged to him. It was pretty hard to argue with him. I don't know if you non-aussies are aware, but a roo can kill a person in a few different ways. They can stand on their tails and kick with both powerful back legs, or they can rip you apart with their front claws if you let them. So we were pretty wary around Big Max, and we'd usually check first to see if he was in the garden before we'd go in there. If we did venture in, he'd stand up straight and stare down at us from his great height. Sometimes he'd make aggressive grunting noises. We never tried playing chicken with him to see who'd run (or hop) away first.

One day, Mum got sick of being bossed by a kangaroo, and it happened that this rebellion came upon her while she was carrying a bucket. There was Big Max in the garden, standing up tall and looking down at Mum. There was Mum, walking towards him (rather hesitantly if truth be known) carrying her bucket.

She stops, and they have a brief staring contest.

Mum says, "Shoo!"

Big Max does not budge.

Mum waves the bucket at him. "Go on, shoo!" she says

He stands up straighter and looks at her down his nose.

So then Mum throws the bucket at him.

(and this is the climax:) So Big Max catches the bucket in his front paws, and, retaining eye contact with Mum, he slowly crushes the bucket and drops the pieces at his feet.

Mum backs slowly away, and does not try anything with Big Max again.

We found him dead in a dramatic position a few months later, as if he'd suddenly fallen backwards in death. We couldn't see a bullet hole, so I don't think the neighbours shot him (we didn't, its's illegal in that part of Aust) or if he just got too big and died of a stroke. But anyone who thinks of kangaroos as cute fluffy bouncy little teddy bears need to have this story told to them.'

Jan 18, 2012, 6:48am Top

And you've only see brown snakes 6 or 7 times? Once would be a treat for me. And tiger snakes twice. Any stories in there?

Jan 18, 2012, 7:48am Top

Well, I'll try and tell the story without the hand gestures, but it may fall flat:

I was sitting in the verandah one summer afternoon, and about an arm's length away from me I saw a brown snake, probably about a metre long, flowing along the edge of the verandah. They kind of shimmer along the ground, it'd be a pretty sight in other circumstances.

Remaining surprisingly calm, I waited till it had gone past, then ran past it down to the chook shed where my mother was. We were the only ones at home at the time (Dad woulda just got out the shovel if he was there, and then chop, no more brown snake). So I told Mum, whose fear of snakes borders on phobia, and we both walked with faltering steps back to the verandah, stood back and looked for it. Nothing, for a while, and then we saw it, it had doubled back from the direction it was going in before, and was twining itself in and out of the large lavender bush near the front door, which, ironically, Mum had planted specifically because she'd read somewhere that lavender repels snakes. I wish you could see the way the thing played in the bush, this is one spot where I need the hand gestures. It was disgusting and beautiful at the same time.

So we just watched it for a while, feeling queasy. Mum had brought a shovel with her, but we both knew it was unlikely she'd dare to use it. Anyway, after a while we lost sight of it for a bit, and assumed it was still somewhere under the lavender bush. After much debate we decided that I'd go around to the side of the house to the shed door which we rarely use, go inside and ring WIRES, which is a wild animal rescue service. So I went around the side, leaving Mum on guard with the shovel. The house is fairly long, so the side door was more than a few steps away. I got to the door, opened it, went in a step and was defeated - Dad had moved a heap of junk in front of the door and I couldn't get past it. So I backed out again - and there at my feet was the snake!

So there we stood - I frozen, the snake about a foot in front of me, with its head up and its tongue flickering in and out, smelling me. I did exactly what I'd been taught to do, by sheer instinct - didn't move, but screamed, with rising hysteria. I don't know how long we stayed like that, it felt like several eternities. Finally, the snake put its head down, made a right angle turn and flowed away, never to be seen again.

A minute or two later, Mum saunters around the side of the house still holding the shovel. "Was that you screaming?" she says. She'd thought for a while it was the kids over at the neighbour's place!

Jan 18, 2012, 7:51am Top

There are plenty of dramatic images of the Eastern Brown on Google, but this one is what it looks like to spot one in the wild - small head, thin body, often very long. They can kill you.

Jan 18, 2012, 7:56am Top

As for tiger snakes - my poor long-suffering mother has all those encounters, the closest I ever got to one was while it was still twitching but after it had got the chop.

But Urania will sympathise with my mother, the time she went to undo the chain she'd tethered the goat on, to find a tiger snake wrapped around the chain.

I think it was a tiger she found wrapped around the eggs in the chook shed once too.

Tiger snakes are more aggressive than browns, and they apparently jump and can bite you around the throat. I've always believed that, though I've never seen it! They have a bigger head and thicker body, faintly striped. The stripes are stronger when they're dead.

Edited: Jan 18, 2012, 8:14am Top

While I'm on a roll, one more story! This one's a kind of legend of my childhood that I've grown up with.

We'd moved out to that same hobby farm as above (all these encounters happened there) and hadn't been there long. Dad was an owner-builder, so he was building the house around us as we lived in it. I was about five, my sister about nine. We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Dad had got the outside walls done and the roof on, but there weren't many inside walls, just those metal frames that are like rectangular prisms with the top edge removed. So one night, my sister and I were asleep on the floor, and my parents saw a tiger snake, inside the house, slithering along the floor. Naturally in sheer panic, Dad grabbed a shovel and took off after it, but it was too quick for him - it slithered into the hollow part of the metal frames, where Dad couldn't get at it with the shovel. He banged at it (dangerous, it could easy have struck him), but there's no point trying to kill the thing with the shovel turned longways, you need to get it across-wise to break its back. Smart snake must have somehow known that inside the frame it was quite safe. Away it slithered, and Dad said the sound of its scales hissing over the metal frame is enough to give him nightmares at the mere remembrance of it. The legend goes that the snake was inside the house for about three days, and I can't remember if Dad killed it in the end or if it got away. But with us girls asleep on the floor, this story is one of great parental fear. Dad says all that night when he slept at all, which wasn't much, all his dreams were filled with hospitals and ambulances and snakes and fear.

Jan 18, 2012, 8:20am Top

But please don't take all these stories as proof that Australia is filled to bursting point with things that kill you! These stories are the sum total of my 27 years in this country, they are not an everyday occurance! And besides if you live in a city the worst you get is a redback spider, or maybe a funnelweb spider if you're unlucky. I don't have to watch my feet wherever I walk! It's quite a nice place! Much safer than Africa - have you ever read Roald Dahl's Going Solo? Now that's a place for scary wild animals.

Oh, one more - the time when my parents were in a car and ran over a snake - they thought that was that until they stopped and got out - and took off in a hurry, as it had wrapped itself around the axle and was alive and angry. That's why I never run over a snake if I see one on the road - which doesn't happen often, I hasten to add.

Jan 18, 2012, 8:27am Top

And here, just for fun, is a kangaroo not unlike Big Max. This fella is definitely a male, and probably fairly big:

Jan 18, 2012, 8:29am Top

Look how much you've made me talk about myself, Rick. I've become verbose.

Jan 18, 2012, 9:52am Top

I hope never to truck with such snakes! But really nice to hear so much from you Rena.

Jan 18, 2012, 10:01am Top

I have seen some wolves yesterday. They passed me only 2 meters away, but there was a fence between us. Nevertheless it was very impressing. Never saw wild animals from this near.


Jan 18, 2012, 10:44am Top

Those are wonderful stories, Choc. I think I could read your stories about life on the hobby farm all day.

I wasn't able to get the pic of the Big Max lookalike. Awesome story btw. Can you put the link up again, or something?

Jan 18, 2012, 12:41pm Top


Where wolf?

Choco: great stuff. Sure they are not EVERYWHERE, but I've spent countless hours of my life searching for poisonous snakes and had very poor luck. I won't be too specific because my book is being discussed next month and it is much about snakes, but I would love a snake tour of Australia, Africa, too, for that matter.

I've spent most of my time looking in the southwest of the US and in India.

Jan 18, 2012, 3:17pm Top

>73 RickHarsch:-81 I loved every minute of that.

Jan 18, 2012, 6:33pm Top

Thanks for the appreciation.

Rick, probably you couldn't find them because you were looking for them. I've never gone looking for snakes meself, but on a normal day back on the hobby farm, kangaroos were everywhere. Except, on the two days we had visitors from the States, there was not hide or hair of the maddening things, though we roamed the paddocks sedulously.

CG, here's the link where the pic above is from: http://birdway.com.au/macropodidae/eastern_grey_kangaroo/source/east_grey_kangar...

Jan 18, 2012, 7:11pm Top

Just thought I should mention that "some" 'Roo stories (as told to "foreigners") should be taken with a grain of salt :-)

Many years ago a friend toured the USA with the "Juniour Australian Rugby team", he was about 16 yo. at the time.

Welll... he managed to convince his enraptured audience that he had a "pet" kangaroo (on his farm") who would carry his school books (to and from school) in its pouch. :-)

This was in the 1970's before wiki and Utube.

Edited: Jan 19, 2012, 4:31am Top

I knew a tour guide who used to convince tourists from the US that the sounds they heard when the bus stopped on a bridge over a river in Montenegro were made by Montenegrin crocodiles.

Edited: Jan 18, 2012, 10:13pm Top

I've known tourists to be scared to death of 'drop bears' - heard of them guido? Scary koala-type things that drop from trees when you least expect it and savage you to death. lol - if someone tries to tell any of you that, don't believe em.

Edited: Jan 18, 2012, 10:09pm Top

Oh dear, you've started me thinking about the snakes I've seen. My funniest was when I was in the Army (conscript)
in the Northen Territory (NT)
One night we were having our 2 allowed beers when someone rushed in and said, "hey there's a snake in our tent". Now these tents were 2 regular ones joined together and housed about 8. About 20 soldiers rushed into the tent, led by (who else but "stretch - all 6 foot 6 of him wielding a machette) I was too slow and watched the episode from outside.
Suddenly someone said " its moving" and the whole tent erupted with troops trying to exit in a hurry. Not in an orderly manner.
It really was like watching a cartoon :-)

Unfortunately the snake (a 7 foot brown) was killed.

Next day I decided to "make" a snake skeleton.
I carefully "pegged" it out over a "bull ant nest".

As soon as I walked away an Eagle (?) swooped
and got an easy breakfast.

Jan 18, 2012, 10:16pm Top

>89 RickHarsch: - Rick, I would have believed it!

>91 guido47: - the skeleton thing was a good idea, pity it didn't work. That would have been a king brown, I guess. I never want to see one of those, I'll leave it to you and Rick.

Jan 18, 2012, 10:26pm Top

If the "drop bears" don't get you, the bunyips will.
Yep, a scary place is the Aussi bush :-)

Jan 18, 2012, 10:51pm Top

love this thread ! Go on Go on

Jan 18, 2012, 11:24pm Top

OK, starting to remember my Army days (43+ years ago)
I was lucky, I ended up in the "Royal Australian Army Survey Corps". And spent (in total) over a year in the "bush".
Two field trips to the NT and one to Indonesian Borneo.

Once in the NT we were swimming in the river when a very "laconic" local said "I wouldn't swim there boys"
when questioned he just said, "come with me tonight"
end of story.
That night we arrived at the spot where we had been swimming and he just swung his tourch over the banks. Dozens (maybe even hudreds) of red eyes stared at us. Yep crocodiles.

On my first field trip, I was a bit slack in rigging my mosquito
net. The experienced surveyors (who had done many a trip)
built quite magnificent structures for theitr beds - 3 feet of the ground, and tight nets. One siesta I awoke (maybe was woken on purpose?) to find a HUGH Black ugly squat spider
(not pretty like the huntsmans) on my netting which had sagged (been sagged?) a fraction from my nose.

At least I didn't squeel like a little girl and just inched away from that spot and glared at my comrads who were trying to suppress smirks. My mosquito net became very military
after that.

Jan 19, 2012, 12:20am Top

My favourite recent wildlife story is that my nephews were watching Tv in one room, and they had newish kittens in the next room, and they heard them start mewling loudly, but didn't think anything of it, just thought the mum cat had left them for a bit.
When the program was finished, Oliver went to the bedroom only to find a sleepy over fed carpet snake and one less kitten. "Oh well, one less to house I guess".

Apart from the usual Australian fair, roos, wallabies, echidnas, platypus, emus, nightjars, goannas, kookaburras, apostle birds, we have here bustards (love them), sugar gliders (five types - the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen), powerful owls ("I looked around and it was like an emu up a tree"), and micro bats. Wild pigs are scary. It's very uncanny to hear dogs barking at night in the national park, not cozy and domestic at all. And not being from around here, I couldn't work out why their budgerigars had blown up to three times the usual size. But they are actually grass parrots. You can make a great arthritis oil from emu, goanna, and echidna oil, in a special Bidjara recipe. You probably need to get to know a Bidjara elder, but it sure works, even for mysterious knee complaints like my husband gets.

We have green tree frogs in the toilet every night. They like it under the lip of the bowl. I go down to melbourne and see in the reptile shops that they are $500 a piece there. What a rip off. And we call our huntsmen "cockroach eating spiders" so as not to alarm guests. Huntsmen have a bad name, especially when they drop down from the bathroom light. And we have caught a few bird eating spiders in the house. You need the largest mixing bowl and a serving platter to get those babies out of the house. Green tree snakes used to take over my keyboard if I left it when I was working at home on the farm.

Regarding aggressive snakes, we had one lunge at our open window once, we were in a four wheel drive, but it could easily reach.

Jan 19, 2012, 12:39am Top

OK CF, you are clearly not at the Captains Flat that's near Canberra. I thought you probably were, which is not far from my (now legendary?) hobby farm. But it's too much of a cold-weather rocky windy hill for such fauna as you get.

I'm inclined to think a bird-eating spider would move ME out of the house, not vice versa.

BTW, I think you win. The drink's on me :)

Jan 19, 2012, 1:33am Top

I was just thinking that you should never encourage Australians to yarn! But I couldn't help myself. I love wildlife stories.

I was in that very Captains Flat when I first joined LT, but have moved a few times since. Not as much fauna, but there were wombats, which we don't get here. I love wombats. And I am surprised that neither you nor guido mentioned that Canberra not only has roos but also has lots of roo roadkill, and driving at night was never a safe proposition. It took me six months to relax when driving at night after moving away, constantly jumping at shadows. You will always come off worse in an encounter between a car and a wombat.

I looked up Nutria - that looks nasty for the environment. Are they related to guinea pigs? I once watched a documentary where a Serb was breeding them for meat in case of the end of the world. He would just stick them in a jaffle maker (do you make jaffles - hot cheese sandwiches - in the US?)

Edited: Jan 19, 2012, 6:40am Top

I'll die for a well told yarn !

Edited: Jan 19, 2012, 7:34am Top

#46 et. al.

I love the "micro bats". One night at my mates place (he of the BIG Koala, near Gisborne) I went to bed and noticed, what I thought was a rather large bug flying around the room. I then noticed there was no sound at all.
It was a micro bat!
Boy are they tiny.
Later we found a dead one and I studied it.
The "echo receptor face" is not ugly. Strange I'll give you...
But NOT ugly.

ETA. I only killed one 'roo in Canberra, and that was on the back road around Black Mountain. I guess I was a "Cityfied
Canberran". Better add a wombat tale as well.

For many years I would camp at "Wilsons Promontory"
The southern most part of mainland Australia, and a long established nature reserve.

One night around our camp fire a rather large and very determined Wombat decided to travel to wherever Wombats travel to.
A straight line. No deviation. through a few legs. Took out a few tent lines and plowed on to his/her destination.

Wombats, in the flesh, are much larger, more solid and determined than I had ever imagined.

I too have a soft spot for wombats, they just ignore me :-)

Jan 19, 2012, 6:25pm Top

>100 guido47: that back road by Black Mountain was where my sister wrote off her car via a kangaroo too, though I think she hit a car who had already hit a roo.

I've never hit one, but I told the story here in the salon once before (am I turning into a club bore?) where I was just learning to drive, driving on a back road at night. I spotted a roo coming, so I slowed down to about 5km/h and then almost to a stop - and the roo hit me, and got under the car, flopped around a bit, backed out, and hopped away. It was like it was pleading to be hit, feeling suicidal.

Another time, my dad was driving, and a roo launched itself off the high bank by the road, onto the bonnet of the ute, and used it like a stepping stone to get back off the road again - all while my dad was still driving. I know this yarn's hard to swallow, but it's true!

I love that womat story, guido. There's something terribly endearing about wombats going about their business, looking neither to the left or right. They just barrel along. I've seen one that got hit by a car, and I bet the car came off nearly worse than it did. That one was about the size of a small pig, and even more solid.

Are there any more yarns out there about close encounters with mooses and squirrels and exotic things like that? This Australian focus seems so odd.

Jan 19, 2012, 9:10pm Top

We have Asian Carp in the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. They are pretty disgusting. Bringing the boat up and sitting in the Peoria Lock we were able to watch them flopping around at the lock gates beating themselves bloody.

I have heard of them jumping right into the cockpits of boats, hitting people and knocking them unconscious, but have never actually witnessed such a thing.

We don't have these interesting things in North America or in most of Europe, so we are fascinated with the Australian tales.

Jan 19, 2012, 10:24pm Top

You Tube brings everything closer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfG4vsJ5_xI

Jan 20, 2012, 12:34am Top

Geez, what's wrong with those carps ?

Jan 20, 2012, 12:38am Top

I was hit once by a flying fish at night while steering a Yacht not far from cabo Frio in Brasil. Didn't knock me out, but gave me the scare of my life. You steer in swimming shorts around cabo frio, even at night.

Jan 20, 2012, 7:52am Top

Yep, those are them! Can't tell how really ugly they are, though. Mac, I have heard it has something to do with the vibration from the engine. I really don't know.

Edited: Jan 20, 2012, 5:57pm Top

About five years ago, my six-months pregnant wife and I stopped at a viewpoint off of a freeway. Far enough off that the viewpoint area is not visible from the road. While we gaze at a waterfall, a tall gentleman with a narrow face, dressed in clothing from a different era, approaches and asks us to come see something really interesting. He smiles eagerly, showing red flecks of what appear to be blood in his teeth. In his hand is a small ice pick. We follow him anyway. He leads us to his car, which is parked hood-up near ours and he asks us to look in - - which would involve turning our backs to him. Uneasily, we do. There is a shiny garter snake laying in the engine area. The man says, excitedly, it must have fallen from a tree or curled up for warmth under the hood after he parked somewhere. He tries to lift the snake out with the ice pick, but it slithers into a slit between the engine firewall and the car body, and vanishes. He tries to rescue it. Is not successful. We return to our car.

What a view!

Jan 21, 2012, 6:45am Top

I wonder what it was about you two that made him decide to let you live.

Jan 21, 2012, 8:09pm Top

This winter we had a Fouine (Stone Martin) take up residence in our attic. My room is sandwiched between our two attics with space above the plaster boarded ceiling. A couple of years ago I had climbed up above the ceiling and insulated it well with some thick glass fibre. It proved to be the perfect home for the fouine. I wasn't too bothered until Freddy (Fouine) took it in his head that a great game would be to push a stone across the top of the ceiling back and forth making a tremendous racket. I could hear the scrabbling and the rock being moved and then a dinging sound as it hit the light fitting.

The best way of getting rid of these animals (assuming you don't want to poison them - which I didn't) is the noise of a radio. I therefore had a transistor radio at full volume playing the very worst sort of French pop music above the ceiling while I sat downstairs with my earplugs tightly fitted. Three nights later and the Fouine had gone.

They look very cute and Freddy would peer out at me when I poked my head up into the attic.

Jan 21, 2012, 8:34pm Top

Dead ringer for the infant newt gingrich.

Jan 22, 2012, 5:45am Top

I love the radio idea! I'll have to suggest that to people with a possum problem.

Jan 22, 2012, 7:08am Top

A opossum would just hide his eyes to block out the music.

That fouine looks suspiciously like what we call a kuna--a kind of polecat.

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