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A grim reality

August 20, 2022

After kangaroos, the Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus) is probably the most commonly seen marsupial in this area. Unfortunately that is because they are most often seen dead on the side of the road after having been hit by a vehicle.

Wombats are nocturnal (active at night) and crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) so are not often seen. However evidence of their existence is all around. Wombats build extensive burrow systems that they are continually renovating. Throughout the landscape there are many holes in the ground with fresh piles of dirt outside. They also regularly damage fences by digging under them or pushing through them. Most distinctively wombats have cubic shaped poo.

Their short stature and dark coloured fur make wombats particularly hard to see after dark especially against a dark road surface. Dead animals are often found on bends in the road where the headlights of cars tend to be shining off the side of the road and by the time the wombat is lit up by them it is too late.

And so we come to last night. Driving from Yea to Flowerdale I passed three new carcasses on the road. Such is the rate of wombat deaths in our area that unfortunately I am almost immune to the sight and the carnage hardly registers but last night I came across the scene of a dead adult wombat and several metres up the road a dead joey (baby wombat). It had obviously escaped the pouch and wandered off up the road only to be hit by another car.

I removed the animal from the road and carefully placed it in the roadside bush.

I am happy to say the memory still disturbs me.

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