The New Lodger

In a few days time I am going to have a lodger staying for an unknown length of time at the homestead.  I have lived alone for about 16 years and rather got used to it, and come to rather like it, not having to take anyone else’s opinions into consideration and having the luxury of living in my own batchelor squalour.  I wonder how I will take to having to cater to an other’s needs.  The arrangement isn’t for financial gain, after all tree kangaroos don’t have credit cards, but to relieve a ‘situation’ for a nearby wildlife carer, Margit, who specialises in caring for tree roos.  The ‘situation’ is that this 2 year old male tree roo is flat out bent on killing a baby roo already in her care.  Margit’s reading is that the baby roo is the offspring of a tree roo that traumatised the 2yo in his infancy, but the smell reveals the parentage and cross generational feuds are settled in blood.  Anyone with a Walt Disney view of animals is advised to stop reading now.  Tree roos are capable of infanticide.  The males have a particularly hard time, having to fight for territory and being aggressively attacked for trespassing even inadvertently.  This particular roo was found alone when very young and only 800 grams.  All skin and bone (I saw a pic) and would not have lasted another night or two.  Now two years old and a healthy 5.5 kgs.  He also has mental problems with OCD and spends many hours of the day just grooming his feet as a calming strategy.   

So I met this handsome youngster today at Margit’s house, going from floor to kitchen counter, to perching on Margit’s shoulder, as we discussed the feasibility of him staying at PV.  Margit is totally satisfied with the location of PV being far from roads and rainforest as far as the eye can see, my lifestyle can accommodate the needs of a young roo, and I have a spare bedroom that can be furnished suitably.    Although he has lived for 2 years with humans roaming in the forest and coming back for the scary nights, he may do a runner on the first time I let him out.  I think I will be equipped with a radio collar to be able to find him, as long as he doesn’t stray more than about 200m or dive into a gully.  The idea is for him, like any human kid, to be able work from a safe place and eventually establish a place for himself in the wild driven by his own instincts.  The possibilities include him becoming ‘institutionalised’ and deciding it’s just too wild out there, bolting and coming to an early death due to inexperience from not being raised by parents, or finding his mojo and establishing a territory and harem.  I would like the latter on a time frame of say 6 months.

Not the roo but another taken at PV

Not the roo but another taken at PV

I have run the idea by my darling daughter Alice, as I also serve as babysitter to her two little kids.  In  case you didn’t know, tree roos have a powerful bite and long, sharp hooked claws.  I have first hand experience being severely lacerated when a tree roo ran over my foot. It wasn’t even trying to hurt me.  I will have to introduce them carefully, ensuring that they have mutual respect.  Actually Alice has more experience tree roo wrangling than I have, as during her senior school years she used to babysit Margit’s tree roos when Margit had to go away.  Alice is OK with the idea with careful introductions.  The roo didn’t seem at all wary of me and I could stroke him and he jumped on my shoulders as a way of getting to another piece of furniture.  They can’t be trained much at all, including house training, but I’m assured that the pee isn’t offensive like a possum’s and the poo is hard pellets much like a possum’s.  It is fortunate I don’t go for rugs or carpets.  

So on saturday Margit will come over to PV with roo and starter pack of food such as glycine and privit, a bag of almonds and some other nutrients.  She will stay a while giving me further briefing, helpline numbers and settling the roo in.  Then she buggers off to Germany and I find out what it’s like living with a tree roo.  


  1. Raewyn Belson says:

    Good on you Paul,I think he will fit in well, as Possum Valley is a perfect place for him.
    You are the perfect care giver with lots of experience. Keep us posted.

  2. You never were a dog kinda guy 🙂
    Which room is he having? I suggest Alice’s!
    Good luck!

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