A debate of the utmost significance has been raging tonight.
It began like many good debates do – around the dinner table and after a delicious evening meal. Conversation amongst a normal Aussie family began, discussing the news, the weather, the sports, and the latest on Home and Away. All important matters, yet they paled into insignificance as conversation grew heated and the topic in question shifted to one young girl’s sanity.
Of course, the catalyst of the issue of concern had taken place some days earlier. At approximately 5:27pm one unidentified weekday afternoon, the young girl was driving home from university and stuck in peak hour traffic. It had been, for the most part, an uneventful journey home. Little did she know she was about to witness a battle of epic proportions.
Other witnesses likened it to the historical tale of David and Goliath. Thousands slowed to a stop to watch the fight unfold. One brave passerby even stopped her car and attempted to break up the pair.
“It was horrible,” the girl recalled.
“I was stuck at the driver’s seat, unable to get out and do something, watching helplessly as the violence played out. I’ve never seen something so dreadful!“
For on the grass, right in front of her, a large, evil black crow was mercilessly attacking an innocent, cute, furry little squirrel.
The girl had told her family that night, but was met with questioning stares and jestful scoffing. They told her squirrels didn’t exist in Australia. They told her it was impossible for a squirrel to have been attacked there on the side of the road. They told her she must be wrong, that her eyes needed checking, that it was probably a possum.
But she ignored their cruel banter, and deep down in the depths of her heart, she knew. Her eyes had not deceived her. She would not give in to their disbelief. She had seen a squirrel and she was sure of it.
And then this evening, at approximately 6:44pm, the girl was out on her regular evening run (just like every night, where she runs 10 km with the utmost of ease and looks like a supermodel while she does it). She passed other runners, a lady with a dog, a plover and its family. She effortless ran up all the hills and down the other side.
It was on one such hill where she heard a noise. She slowed for a moment, glancing side to side. And then, out the corner of her eye, she saw it. Small, rounded back, beady little eyes. The creature tentatively stopped too and stuck its head up just a touch.
“It was at that moment when I knew..” the girl recalled.
“Our eyes locked and I realised I wasn’t looking at any old domesticated animal. Here in front of me was a unique Australian marsupial. My heart skipped a beat, though that could have been due to my breatheless post-running state. Either way, it was evident to all involved that I was standing in the presence of a bilby.”
She returned home and took her seat at the dinner table. The family ate their meal, a tasty plate of green beans, carrots, potato wedges and crispy salmon. Between mouthfuls, they each recounted the activties of their days, their hopes, their fears, their deepest darkest secrets.
Believing she was amongst people who loved and believed in her, she mistakenly assumed she was in a safe place to open up about what had happened only half an hour earlier. So when conversation dipped, she took in a deep breath and announced to her family, “Tonight I was running with a bilby“.
“A bilby?” her sister exclaimed questioningly. Her parents looked at each other, concern written all over their faces. Her brother piped up with…well, you don’t want to know what he said.
Her hopeful heart was injured once more.
But, not one to give in to the critics, she turned to a trusted friend. Google patted her on the back, wiped away her tears and told her reassuringly that squirrels did, indeed, live in Australia.
Sure, they haven’t adapted too well to Australian conditions (with big evil black crows attacking them, I sure we can all understand why), and are thought to be restricted to small regions in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. But relatively speaking, none of those cities are that far away from Brisbane. Especially when Mr. Squirrel originally made his way over from America.
Google also gently consoled her with the fact that bilbies do definitely live in Australia. They are a ‘prized native animal’ that is endangered by pesty rabbit populations. Which obviously explains why the bilby was out at night, operating under the cloak of darkness and all.
Yet despite this undeniable proof, the debate raged on – moving from the confines of the dinner table and out into the world through Facebook.
Here at Laura and Friends, we will do our best to keep you posted on this tragic tale of a misunderstood young girl and her life changing encounters with the wildlife around her.
(P.S. – I had so much fun writing that, especially stumbling upon the ‘Squirrels for Australia’ campaign. Gotta love this…
Australians have a right to have Squirrels!
Many of Australia’s cute and cuddly animals are either shy, nocturnal or endangered, and most Australians do not have the pleasure of being able to watch their antics.
The Fox Squirrel is neither shy nor nocturnal!
Imagine Squirrels romping in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne, or around the shores of Sydney’s Harbor. Squirrels spread peace and harmony where ever they go. They provide companionship to the elderly, comfort to the sick, and peace of mind to the healthy.
Australia NEEDS Squirrels!
And in other news, it really has been an amusing past fortnight. In addition to the squirrel vs. crow saga, I also witnessed an international student try and pat a hostile duck (just as horrific as the forementioned battle). She was, of course, unsuccesful, but that didn’t phase her. Moments later she ambled up to UQ’s two huge resident swans. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty!
I also saw a nun learning to drive. That was truly hilarious.