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Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!
Looking For Adventure…Wombat!
June 21, 2010Posted by on
I love road trips. In Australia, this usually means seeing kangaroo’s. I don my roo glasses (sun glasses) and start “roo hunting” immediately. Al being the good sport that he is, stops (when safe to do so) whenever I start my “ROO ROO ROO” rant. I don’t always take pictures of them anymore, but I never grow weary of watching them watch me.
Last Thursday was no different. Al and I had started out on our road trip to Mudgee for an overnight stay, then on to our final destination of Lightening Ridge. It was a great day for a road trip. The sun was shining, the air was warm and the back roads were calling our name. We do take the highways when we are in a hurry, but this road trip was not hurried so we wound our way through rural New South Wales to enjoy the sights and smells of farmland and the quirkyness of the small towns that dot the roadside.
Imagine Al’s surprise when I started yelling “WOMBAT WOMBAT WOMBAT” (not easy to say) instead of “ROO ROO ROO”. Al dutifully pulled over, but said “it will be dead, because that’s the only wombat you will see during the day”.
“No, it’s alive and grazing on the side of the road”, was my reply.
He humoured me and backed up. Sure enough, there was this very rotund wombat grazing in the nice green grass, near a river. I am not sure why he was there, but I was happy and feeling very lucky to be seeing a live wombat during the day. He may have been out because of all the rain we’ve had lately making everything an unnatural green and lush!
I was stoked! We continued on our way seeing some kangaroo’s and believe it or not, camels! Out in the middle of nowhere was a guy and four camels. He seemed to be walking them. These would not be wild camels because camels are not found in New South Wales. It was interesting to see though!
We stopped at a little General Store on the side of the road. While Al went to the toilet (yes, this is what they would say in Australia). I was asking the lady what the population of this little town was, her reply…five! She did mention that about 30 other people lived in the surrounding area!
We had stopped there because they had a sign saying “best coffee in town”. It was the best coffee in town, even if it was the only coffee in town, it was good. I struggle with the term “town” when only five people live there, but who am I to argue!
It was then my turn to go to the toilet, which was situated out back! As I rounded the building I noticed a woman just closing the back gate after having driven through. She had five dogs with her who were obviously not counted as residents!
Me, being the animal person I am, immediately struck up a conversation with this woman. I had to pet the dogs and chat with her about the beautiful area she lived in. Of course, the conversation finally got around to me saying “I saw a wombat on the side of the road this morning”!
Her reply was expected, “Yes we get lots of dead wombats on the side of the road”.
“No, this one wasn’t roadkill, it was alive, well and grazing on the side of the road”.
She was surprised! Then to my surprise she leaned forward over the fence and whispered to me, ” I have one”.
“I have a wombat”.
I was shocked. Did I just hear her right? How could this woman HAVE a wombat?
She walked over to a big basket that was sitting on her back porch and started pulling blankets and cushions out of the basket. “That little rotter, she has gone in through the cat door again and will be curled up behind the stove. Go to the toilet, I will go find her and meet you out front to show you”.
I was back in a flash, but she had still beat me to the front. She was waiting in the coffee shop with a very excited Al gazing out the window watching for my return. When the lady had walked into the coffee shop with the wombat, Al had got all excited and said, “You have to wait until my Canadian girlfriend comes back, she will go nuts”.
“I know, I am waiting for her”, was her reply.
I got to meet and hold Mia. It was magical.
The story behind Mia… friends of the people who are raising her had come up from Sydney for a visit. On the way, they hit a wombat. Being animal lovers, they had stopped to make sure it was dead. When feeling for it to see if it was still breathing, they noticed a movement in the pouch. They put their hand in and pulled out Mia. She was about three weeks old. They took her back to Sydney and nursed her for a week, but then quickly realized that Sydney is no place for a wombat, so brought her back to their friends in the country.
Mia is registered and will be released back into the wild when she is old enough. She is only eight weeks old right now. I am not going to say which town or which General Store, or I suspect these two very nice ladies would be swamped with visitors wanting to hold Mia. I do appreciate their kindness in allowing me to hold Mia. This is something that most Australians will never have the chance to do in their lifetime, I cherish the opportunity given to me. It was a moment I will remember forever.
Mia was beautiful, soft and cuddly. She is a typical baby and likes to be cuddled. She has huge buck teeth, really long claws that will one day be able to dig burrows for her to live in. She also has a little backwards pouch. Being backwards, this will allow her to dig without the pouch filling up with dirt. Most surprising is that most of her back is made of cartilage acting as a natural armour for protection. Isn’t nature amazing?
Mia will be raised in this home for about one year before being released back into the wild. Her carers are hoping that Mia will one day build her burrow on their large farm and remain nearby. Mia is one lucky wombat to have been saved and then have such incredible people take her in. I am one lucky person for having met Mia and her carers to whom I am thankful for helping to create a lifelong memory for me.
But, alas, we could stay no longer and it was back out on the highway, looking for adventure or whatever came our way!