Wild creatures are our responsibility 20



View Profile

We were out for a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive from Lithgow to Blackheath when my friend stopped the car and leapt out. He ran back for a few paces then called out, “Get something to pick it up with”.

I happened to have a towel and a carton in my car in case of injured wildlife. I took the towel to the spot where John was standing and found an echidna at the side of the road. We felt that it was urgent to pick it up and place it in the paddock, away from the traffic.

I attempted to pick it up with John’s woollen jumper as protection but this proved impossible. When the creature became aware of us humans it began to burrow. It went straight down, down into the earth. Those spines are like the teeth of a comb, thick at the base and tapering to a sharp point; perfect protection.

I have seen people on television digging their hands deep into the soil under an echidna, and picking it up, but they are trained to do so. We were unable to do this, so regrettably we had to leave our echidna there at the side of the Great Western Highway and hope that it would find its way into the grass, away from the busy road.

I had another brief encounter with an echidna on the road near Oberon some years ago. I was driving along the road with no other traffic in sight when I noticed a small animal beginning to amble across the road onto the opposite lane. On getting closer I realised that it was an echidna and at that moment a bus came from the opposite direction and the echidna had reached the middle of the lane.

I decided the only thing to do was to run onto the road and wave my arms frantically at the bus, trying to get it to stop. I suspect that the bus driver did see the echidna, but showed no sign of slowing down. I had parked my car so I jumped out, shutting the door with a loud bang. The little echidna must have heard it because it did a 180-degree turn and hurried back to the grass at the side of the road. Yes, echidnas do hurry.

The bus continued along the road, the driver showing absolutely no concern. Wild creatures are our responsibility; we have invaded their territory and Australian fauna are not dangerous our predatory. They depend on us for their safety.

Have you rescued a wild animal? What do you do when you see a hurt animal on the road?

Winsome Smith

I am well and truly over sixty. My great passions are reading and writing and I have written twelve books. I have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and two of my books are embarrassing stories about the doings of my grandchildren. Embarrassing to them, but humorous to me. I enjoy the Starts at Sixty website and believe that over sixties have much to say…

  1. I would have done the same thing – but would also have taken the bus rego no and reported to the bus company that I wasn’t impressed with the driver.

  2. Yep the kids and I have rescued numerous animals .in the snowy mountains we rescued an echidna I took of my shoes ,with my hands inside picked him up and placed him back in the bush , that way I didn’t get spiked

  3. I often move shingle backed lizards and blue-tongued lizards off the roads. So many people don’t care and in fact try to run them over. Such a a

  4. I stopped and helped a lady stop traffic while a young lizard meandered slowly across a road locally about two weeks ago. It’s the least we can do.

  5. Why do people moan about wild life don’t they know what they do for the environment. Hedge hogs eat slugs and all the garden insects we complained about, but people seem to take pleasure in hurting them.

  6. Things happen in life that you never forget and this one has stuck with me for 30 years..I am very soft hearted , and I was driving along in the suburbs when I heard a terrible scream and I felt a bump, I panicked I thought I hit a child but when I got out of the car a huge Goanna limped off the road. It was so upsetting for me and I am sure the Goanna was not feeling happy either !!..I called the RSPCA and they came and collected it and took it too a wild life park for treatment. all our animals are precious

  7. In 1959 when we moved into our home in the Sutherland Shire, we often saw echidna & what I think were some kind of bandicoot .. Lots of parrots & small birds like wrens… Not now.. We have cockatoos & possums, both very destructive.

  8. I have picked up a ringtail possum from the side of the road in daylight. I wasn’t sure if he was injured or had had a hard night out. Anyway I took him to my local vet who kindly checked him over at no charge and told me he was OK. I returned him straight away to the same location. He was the cutest little guy and didn’t seem to want to leave the cardboard box and towel that I had picked him up in. I just hope he found his way back to his nest.

  9. I always stop the car as we have a lot of ducks that cross the road.When husband and I were doing pampletts delivery we seen pluvers nesting on eggs in someones yard, thought they might get mowed over, but they survived and we saw chicks a couple of weeks later they survive on their own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *