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Country Life: The goanna and the hare

Goanna_Hare Paul Oates

I was sauntering to the barn when I heard the mickey birds (you may know them better as noisy minors) going berserk. That’s always a sign of a predator.

Racing to the scene, I saw an adult hare behaving strangely and, even though it saw me, it didn't immediately run away. It was then I heard the sound of a young hare in distress.

Arrk, arrrk, arrk!

I took a closer look, expecting the juvenile had caught its leg in machinery or perhaps a fallen branch. The distressed adult hare was rushing hither and thither. At something. I thought: "Snake!"

But what leapt out of the grass, to scurry up a broad-leafed ironbark, was a large goanna with the young hare in his mouth. He wasn't taking any chances I might rob him of his catch, which he carried clear to the top of the tree.

Ex-Kiap, Cocos Island administrator and all round good bloke, Paul Oates, from time to time brings not so serene visions of reality to these Notes.


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Paul Oates

"For what we are about to receive...." (slow 'airs and graces - just for those like me who like bagpipes). It was hairy around here for a while until the 'Lizard of Oz' arrived on the scene.

Martin Hadlow

And, with Gordon the goanna up the tree with a mouthful of levret, it's a hare-raising story too, Mr Charley.

One question remains. As the goanna broke up the family by taking only the baby and sparing the adult, could it be accused of splitting hares?

Phil Charley

A good, interesting little story -- and I love Martin Hadlow's comment!

Phil Charley

Martin Hadlow

Hare today...goanna tomorrow?

Paul Oates

...and, in answer to the next question: The hare was pretty much full grown and Gordon the Goanna is about 7 foot (2+ metres) long. He tried to come through the wire screen at the back door last year so I suppose you might say he was just trying to be friendly.

The hare died after about five minutes so Gordon's bite is poisonous (due to bacteria I understand) as are most large lizards (e.g. Komodos).

I don't mind having the goannas around as they eat brown snakes. I understand they are immune to the snake's venom. I assume that's because they are reptiles and not mammals. However that's just a guess.

Diane Bohlen

And had a camera with him at the time. Well done Paul.

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