Is it possible to make friends with a bandicoot? Well, to my surprise the answer is ……yes!
Lorraine Tongs Clifford spent her early years on a farm at North Motton, on the north-west coast of Tasmania.
It was an idyllic childhood, as her recently completed memoirs reveal. I feel privileged to have been able to read them, especially as they mirror my own experiences growing up on a farm a few miles away outside Ulverstone. Like most country kids, Lorraine had many pets over the years; cats, dogs, rabbits and lambs. In the following photo she is dressed as a flowergirl for a relative’s wedding. She reminds me of Little Bo-Peep.
However, one of Lorraine’s pets was a bit (OK a lot) different.
Among her memories is a friendship with a little Australian native animal…a bandicoot! These marsupials are extremely shy creatures and mainly nocturnal, so the level of trust involved is amazing. Over to Lorraine….😍
MY BOND WITH A BANDICOOT
In my early teens we discovered a frequent visitor to the yard. A Bandicoot. This little fellow became tame enough to hand feed and would love drinking milk from a saucer. Our cats never worried about him, so he was never afraid of the cats. In the photo below you can see my old grey and white cat sitting on my knee while the little fellow is at my feet.
Lorraine says the bandicoot lived in the woodheap shown behind her, but would pop out in broad daylight for a treat.
Here he is, happily sipping from a saucer! 😛
The milk was fresh every day from the farm’s dairy. No doubt the bandicoot supplemented his diet with worms and other creatures, found as he burrowed into the soil with that pointy nose.
It seems that Lorraine’s bond with animals was passed down from her father, Des Tongs.
I still recall my Dad telling me about a cow that took him as her calf. When he went to milk her or bring her into the milking shed she would ‘protect him’. Wouldn’t let any of the farm dogs near him at all. If they were in the same yard or paddock and one of the dogs came up to Dad she (the cow) would chase it away and come up and nuzzle Dad. He always had an affinity with animals…..Dad also had a pet eel. Every day he would go down to the edge of the swamp and the eel would roll over for Dad to scratch his tummy.
Wow, that’s even more unusual than a bandicoot! Sadly, the eel was eventually killed by a water rat.
I’m sure you can understand why I am so enjoying Lorraine’s memoirs.
FOR ANOTHER STORY ON BANDICOOTS, CLICK HERE.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS INTERESTING MARSUPIAL