Dawn, 26 December; Boxing Day… The Sydney to Hobart yacht race, the only sport I like. What a brilliant Christmas Day, cool to cold with an inch of rain in a thunder storm… we even had the lights on all day it was so dark; we needed the rain the tanks were just about empty.
We have an elephant in the house, we call them Hoppy-Mice.
Antechinus, or as most people in the country call them; Hoppy-Mice. They look a bit like a European mouse or small rat, but in reality they are nothing like them. For starters they are brilliant climbers, they can just about walk up glass. They sort of hop, they don’t scuttle like mice… and they are noisy. They eat moths and cockroaches in fact anything that moves, they love a bit of mince-meat or dog biscuits.
They would be easy pry for Cats; Cats and foxes are the worst thing to happen to Australian wild life. We have a Hoppy-mouse in the house right now, I’ll have to trap it and take it far away into the bush for release. There’re just so noisy and they get into everything, mischievous is the word that springs to mind. There’re very clean, mostly ‘pooping’ in the one spot; if you put some paper down you can empty the ‘poop’ out every day… but that doesn’t stop them getting into everything.
The young Hoppy’s sort of cling to the mother, and this is the time of year when they have babies. So don’t kill the hoppy’s… and those holes you have in your fly screen, it’s the Hoppy’s getting out of your house, not getting in; they go out of the house at night to hunt and come back in the morning to sleep. They never creep along the side of a room, they hop down the middle and when they’re climb ing they move in bursts. They are a beautiful creature, friendly and funny, they do such strange things; I watched one in the bathroom sliding down the bathtub for the fun of it, it did it several times. Another time I watched one doing back flips, it was crazy to watch. So remember, don’t have cats in the country and don’t kill the Hoppy… the Elephant in your house.