It was somewhat of a shock for me to have found out years ago that the Tasmanian Devil was in fact a bona fide living, breathing organism. Popularised and trademarked as the over-exuberant, devious Loony Tunes character, the Tassie Devil is in fact one of the many beautiful oddities that reside on our homeland, and is, now that you can only spot the Tasmanian Tiger on Cascade labels, the only surviving marsupial carnivore on the planet. On top of the many mammalian extinctions on the Australian mainland which has forced the Devil to its corner sanctuary of Tasmania, this fact is doubly disconcerting due to the disarming facial tumor that has rapidly been depleting population numbers for the last 20 years. This belligerent national icon is now very much threatened, and fighting for its life. Luckily, a consortium of people vested in the future survival of the animal is pulling out all stops to prevent its extinction.
At Concord Vet Pet Blog we thought we’d divert our gaze from our domestic critters and instead shine a light on the unique fauna produced by the Australian wilderness. We have all heard of Australia’s internationally prized and protected species, some of which like the koala and platypus are virtually synonymous with Australia. I’m sure many of you have at some point on your travels been asked if you had them as pets. Depending on your penchant for mischief, you may have, like myself, replied in the affirmative, and feigned a call back home to ask your partner how your “pet” was going.
“Dingo ate my baby” is probably the most hackneyed line used in popular culture to spoof Australia and Aussies. It has the honours of being recycled in 3 of the biggest shows of the last 20 years: Seinfeld, The Simpsons and Family Guy. That’s a pretty impressive, inter-generational reverberation. Woe unto Lindy Chamberlain who has been condemned to forever wear that tag and bear the brunt of tacky pub jokes, even though, ironically, she never in fact said it. Yet how many would know that as an apex predator, the dingo’s appetite has a preference for a diet other than your unsuspecting tot?
The news often ends with a feel-good story that tries to ameliorate and soften the blow of the manifold crises it reports on, and one of the most effective ways to do this is by reporting on the odd things that animals get implicated in: a hound becomes best friends with an elephant (true story, stay tuned), a Chihuahua is sent into outer space. OK, I made that last bit up, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Paris Hilton’s favourite accessory is launched into orbit by a flight scheduled by Sir Richard Branson.