There was an article recently in our local free newspaper with the title ‘Plea to steer clear of roadside pademelons‘. For some people this headline probably raises a couple of questions; like ‘What is a pademelon?‘ or even ‘How do you pronounce pademelon?‘
Let’s cover the second question first…
There, that was easy, but what are they?
What is a pademelon?
Here’s one, he is having a bit of a chillout moment, maybe reflecting a bit on life…
Well, this is Australia, so it won’t surprise you to hear that it is a marsupial. A very small marsupial. Marsupial, of course, means, more or less, a mammal that carries its young in a pouch. Just like bandicoots, wombats, kangaroos, possums, the bilby, wallabies, koalas, oh I could go on, we have lots of marsupials here in Australia.
When I say very small, these things grow to about 50 cm tall and weigh between about 5 and 7 kilograms. Compared to say, a fully grown red kangaroo which can grow to 1.6 metres (over 5 feet tall) and weigh in at up to 90 kilograms; you can see that by that comparison that pademelons are very small.
They are cute to look at though, as you would expect, but don’t let their diminutive size and cuddly appearance fool you, they are still wild animals. And when these things get angry, it’s scary stuff. Check out these two pademelons having a go at each other…
If they’d have carried on much longer I reckon one of those little critters might have got hurt.
Road sense of a pademelon
They don’t have any.
According to that article in our local paper, Mount Glorious resident Gary Rogers has asked passing cars in the area to slow down for pademelons. He says that the pademelon population has been substantially reduced over the last 12 years and passing cars are the main cause.
He readily admits though that these pademelons have no road sense at all; as he puts it “They’ll just hear a noise and they leap out there and generally it’s in front of a car.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pademelon in the wild, let alone run one over. Here’s a short film about a Tasmanian baby pademelon whose mother didn’t look left and right before crossing the road.
So if you find yourself driving around Mount Glorious, please try to remember to slow down for the pademelons or ‘paddies’ as they are sometimes called. Australia has some wonderful and unique wildlife, it would be great to keep it.