People who know me well think it is hilarious that I have bought a book called ‘Scats, Tracks and other Traces’ which teaches readers how to identify the various animals which have been active at night, or when they can’t be seen.  As indicated by the title of the book, sometimes this involves looking at animal dung to see where they have been.  Before we moved here, you would never have seen me bent over a pile  of poo trying to work out if it was deposited by a possum or a koala.  Nor would you have found me proudly showing our guests the congregating spot for kangaroos, based on the number of scats surrounding the long green grass growing over the septic tank outlet.

Over Summer, the kangaroos and wallabies have been getting into the garden and destroying our fruit trees.  The cherry tree has been stripped of almost every leaf,  one plum tree is no more than a stick in the ground, and another larger plum tree has many broken limbs as the kangaroos put their weight on the branches to bring them closer to the ground while they feed.  In the last few weeks they have also moved into the orchard and have been stripping back the apple, peach, pear and nectarine trees.

Other than hope for rain and new growth of their natural food supply, I haven’t known what to do.  I absolutely LOVE having the kangaroos here, and I want them to stay, but I just wish they would leave the garden alone.

In the hotter months, it was commonplace to wake up and see kangaroos and wallabies outside the window.  In a mixed blessing, as the days cool, and we get a little more rain, the kangaroos and wallabies are not coming as close to the house as they once were.  I can’t help wondering where they have moved, and if they are still feeding in the bushland on our property.

Armed with my ‘scats’ book, I went kangaroo spotting.  Along with fresh kangaroo poo, I found some lovely large ‘nests’ indented in long, dry, yellow grass.  They had obviously lain down for rest at some point during their feeding.  These were in two locations – along the front fence, and at the back of the dam, just before the bush part of our block thickens with bracken.  Nearby their resting places, I noted patches of new lush green grass shoots, along with more clusters of poo.  So yes, they are still here.

Next Summer we will need to protect the fruit trees with some kind of netting.

Kangaroo damaged branch
Kangaroos break branches while attempting to pull them down to a level they can eat the leaves. This is one of many broken branches on our plum tree.
Kangaroo damaged plant
This was a small plum tree. Kangaroos have stripped every leaf and branch off it.
Kangaroo scats
Fresh kangaroo scats.
Kangaroo camping ground
The swirls and depressions in the grass show where the kangaroos rested.
Kangaroo camping ground
These resting places are usually underneath a shade providing eucalypt tree.
Kangaroo camping ground
The kangaroos also tend to rest in open areas where they can see the terrain.