Monday, 7 January 2013

The tale of Ol' Flop-ears

More or less ever since we have been here we have been seeing a very large - about 1.8m tall - male Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)  around our block and vicinity of our neighbour's house.  He is quite distinctive because of
  • his solitary existence; and
  • his floppy left ear.
I suspect these attributes are linked with the floppy ear coming through a stoush with another 'roo leading to him getting kicked out of the mob.  In the last few months he has added a droopy right shoulder to the lack of delight in his appearance.

His appearance around our neighbour's house is a matter of some concern to them as that is an area which they have secured to allow their dog to run around.  Despite his decrepitude the 'roo was managing to jump the fence to get in (possibly the droopy right shoulder is the result of a less than totally succesful attempt to do so).  Apart from not wishing the dog to attack the 'roo as an invading entity they realise that even though the dog is quite large it might well get badly damaged if the roo couldn't get out of the way or otherwise chose to stand its ground.  So each morning they patrolled the area and chased him out before allowing their pooch outside.  On at least one occasion Flop-ears did stand ready to fight either dog or owner.

Soon after that I had a somewhat alarming experience of encountering him on our lawn at night when he panicked and charged straight towards me, thinking that was the way out.  Fortunately I dodged.

Since then he has been hanging out around our house most of the time.  Possibly he can no longer jump their fence.  (On one occasion recently he failed to clear one of our fences and became caught up: I had to cut the fence to get him out of the resultant tangle).  His favourite haunt has been an old rainwater tank which has been used as a firewood store but is now waiting for me to organise myself to sell it to the scrap metal person.
While far from typical 'roo habitat he wasn't causing any trouble there so we let him be.  In the last few days however he has abandoned this area in favour of coming under our deck.
There are a number of problems with this:
  • He often hits his head on joists on the deck and/or snorts, both of which are disconcerting when we are quietly indoors;
  • His scent is interesting to the small dog
    • who as a results runs around in the house demanding to be let out to explore/repel boarders; but
    • we recall, and agree with, our neighbours' view of their big (10x Tammie's size) dog's risk; so
    • we can't let the dog out of the house while he is around.
  • if he should die under there, he would be a real pain (and stench) to remove.

While the situation is annoying, the roo's aggression has not yet reached the point that we can justify getting him killed (let us not mince about with words such as 'euthanased' or 'put to sleep'), so we needed some way of persuading him to remove himself.  
  • On the first day this arose, squirting him with a garden hose was sufficient to winkle him out.  
  • On the second day this didn't bother him at all so I tried poking him with an extendable (5m) pruner.  That just caused grumbling, snorting and swatting at the pruner.
  • So Mr Karcher was called in on the grounds that the resulting jet was a bit stronger and could be directed more accurately.
After several brief squirts on the nose he turned around as though to depart but then stopped and seemed about to move back in.  A couple more squirts at the obvious target and out he went.
Hopefully the chook wire will persuade him to go and find some shade elsewhere ...

... a long way away but he is currently back in the water tank.  Developments will be reported.

He was absent on 130108 but turned up again on the 9th.  The chook wire kept him away from the deck and the sight of an active hosepipe (or an agitated dog) moved him away.

1 comment:

Flabmeister said...

I appear not to have finalised this story. Some time (a few days or weeks, it is close to 5 years from the date of writing this so I can't remember the detail) after the final events described in the post above he was on the lawn one evening and the small dog escaped. Again I can't remember how.

She duly went for him and he ran but kept getting himself boxed in so the dog would dive in and dance back as he tried to retaliate. We were also diving in trying to regather the dog, but in those days she was very quick. As the red veil had descended her brain was not registering us shouting at her: her mental processes were along the lines of 'See fur: attack" and all other input was rejected.

Eventually (I think we did at least three chaotic laps of the lawn) he left the lawn area and the dog calmed down enough to be captured and taken indoors.

We never saw him again. My conclusion is that he was in a rather stressed state anyway - old, injured, probably starving - and he went off into the bush and quietly died. We never found, nor smelt the corpse.)