Monday, 30 May 2011

Critters



















Something is digging up our back lawn.

It is obviously a smallish critter, and it eats lawn grubs.

It leaves small holes (about 10cm deep and 3cms across). It seems to settle on a particular area, usually about 9 or 10 square metres, and gives it a thorough going-over during the night.

This adds up to Perameles nasuta (Long-nosed Bandicoot), which makes sense based on my memories of catching bandicoots as an eight year old in Central Queensland.

We used to get an old pine box, and a piece of corrugated iron. We’d prop one end of the box up on the iron with a stick. From memory, a school ruler (1 foot then, 30cm now) worked well. We’d tie something to eat to the ruler with a short piece of string, and put the object under the propped-up box, well towards the back.

This usually worked as a trap, because the bandicoot would pull the string as it gobbled up the tucker, the ruler would move, and the box would fall. We learned early to put iron underneath, or the bandicoot would dig his/her way to freedom.

We usually put the bandicoot in a sugar bag, and took it to school for morning talk. The hero was the one who put the bandicoot in the sugar bag. They scratch. It would then be released in the scrub some distance from home.

We knew when there were bandicoots about because we’d see the holes.

OK – some mysteries remain.

If bandicoots - how do they get in?

Our backyard is surrounded by a Colorbond metal fence set in concrete. If it is bandicoots, do they clamber their way in from structures or trees down the back?

I always believed that bandicoots can’t climb.

Maybe they’re possums – but possums don’t dig as far as I know.

Whatever critter it is has a weakness for strawberries. They have nicked some nice ripe ones from my daughter’s garden.

She is not pleased.

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