Lake Macquarie History

Rat Kangaroos

What quaint creatures have we here?

Sitting on the step of the keeper's cottage, just as twilight merges into darkness, one can hear a steady pat pat coming from the bush in the direction of the swamp.

Presently what appears to be a kangaroo in miniature appears with a friendly grunt and rearing to show his whitish undercoat and tiny forelegs, soon settles down to the scattered corn. Followed quickly by others, which the ear detects coming from all directions, the feast is interrupted by an increasing crescendo of grunts.

Some are friendly family greetings, but others are not intended as such, and but for some speedy side-stepping and scamperings, there would be casualties in the camp!

As the corn quickly disappears with loud crackings and crunching, the grunting and spitting becomes more intensified.

Shortly, one bolder than the rest will approach the keeper, and hopping upon his knee,takes a piece of bread between his tiny forepaws and contentedly eats it. Sometimes he hops off at once only to be pursued by one of his team mates trying to gain the wanted morsel. This is often achieved, and then begins a renewed trek to the cottage for another piece.

About the same size and weight as the common 'bunny' but with short ears and a longer face and a rat like tail, surely they are numbered amongst Old Dame Nature's quaintest children.

'Rat' coursing in days gone by and the steady extension of suburban life has sadly thinned their ranks, so that one is glad that there are such sanctuaries as these to help preserve their kind.

Thompson Noble. 16.7.34.

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