Reform group issues 10-point program
PNGAA committee opts for some change

Country Life: Where's the antechinus?

And now a change of pace. PAUL OATES in rural south-east Queensland writes of some native Australian animals you may never have encountered.

Arnold_Oates_280109 Arriving home after Rotary there was a bettong calmly feeding near the front gate and three hares gambolling in the distance. As I write this, I can hear the metallic 'chink' of a black breasted quail out there in the darkness along with the usual insect noise and night birds.

Occasionally a spur-winged plover's alarm call rings out through the night. Probably a hunting fox or a dingo has disturbed them as they search for nesting ducks down around the large dam.

I helped unload a hay wagon this morning and have to admit I'm not as young as I used to be. We have been receiving welcome light rain and the country is green again. Happy cows and full watertanks.

The phascogales are scooting around outside the windows catching insects attracted by the lights.

Last night my better half spotted a mouse in the kitchen (a big fat one, I was informed). The hunt was then on ... but when 'the mouse' finally emerged from beneath the refrigerator and I’d had a good look, I saw it was an antechinus.

"Oh!" she said, after I explained, "you can't harm it, it’s a native animal."

Antechinus "Yes," I said, knowing that antechinus eat insects and small lizards and frogs, “and the good news is it won't eat any of our food so there's nothing to worry about. It's just one of our native carnivores."

For some reason, my dear wife didn't seem to be quite so reassured as she went to bed. Probably lost something in translation.

Photo: Top - Dick Arnold with Paul Oates, holding a native beerbi schoonerus. Whistlestop Bar, Brisbane, January 2009 [Diane Bohlen]. Bottom - An antechinus searches for a way through the window [Paul Oates]


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Paul Oates

More depth and colour, courtesy of our local newspaper ‘The Fassifern Guardian’.

‘Free to Good Home - One Border Collie, wonderful with children, useless with cattle.’

‘Quarter Horse mare - just returned from maternity leave owner willing to accept offers.’

‘Wanted. Horse suitable for adult pleasure Phone 5463 xxxx’

And the gem from yesteryear's ‘Hoofs and Horns’ .....

‘For Sale - Good working dog. Works sheep and cattle. (Bit rough on sheep).’

Diane Bohlen

That is the second time today I have heard that word "phascolgalis" and I have never heard it before. It's funny how that happens.Now I have to find out what they are.

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