Kangaroo!

We’ve been in Australia a whole month, and so far the only kangaroos we’ve seen have been at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.  Today, however, we break our duck when we visit the Narawntapu National Park, which is somewhat fancifully known as the Serengeti of Tasmania.

We’ve seen so many wallabies on this trip that they’ve become familiar to us.  But would we be able to distinguish the Forester Kangaroo from them when the chips are down?  It’s all very well to say that kangaroos are much bigger animals, but it’s not as simple as it sounds when you get only a fleeting glimpse or when you are some distance away.

As it happens, it isn’t a problem.  We have barely entered the park when I spot an animal that is so much larger than the wallabies we’ve been seeing that it can only be a Forester Kangaroo.  They are BIG animals, nearly half as big again as most of the wallabies we’ve seen.  Also their rear legs are much longer than a wallaby’s, perfectly adapted for high-speed bounding across open country.  And wow do they bound along, springing huge distances apparently without effort:

tasmania-narawntapu-reserve-2016-95

We see several kangaroos during our time at Narawntapu, though mostly only at a distance, and lots wallabies and pademelons too.  We also enjoy this flooded patch of forest, which reminds us of swamplands in the Deep South of the USA and is not at all what we’d expected to find here in Tasmania:

tasmania-narawntapu-reserve-2016-12

The sad news is there has been an outbreak of sarcoptic mange amongst the wombats in the park.  Narawntapu is known as one of those places where wombats are easy to spot, even in broad daylight.  However not today.  The mange that is afflicting them is the same as scabies in humans, caused by parasitic mites that burrow into the skin resulting in hair loss, thickening and cracking of skin, and secondary infections that are usually fatal.  Wombats are endearing animals that we have grown very fond of, and we’re sad to learn that at least 90% of the park’s population has been wiped out.

[30 November]

Author: Platypus Man

"Platypus" is a red herring: I'm English, although my blogging career began in my record of a 2016 road trip to Tasmania. Other blogs followed covering road trips in Newfoundland (2017), the Yellowstone area of the USA (2018) and New Zealand (2019). My current project is "Now I'm 64" , a weekly blog covering UK travel and wildlife, along with bits of history, social commentary and moans about the injustice of aging. I can guarantee a few laughs, and also the occasional rant. Some of it's even quite well written!

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