The house and acreage in Coffs Harbour that I’m lucky to live on at Robert’s Hill, overlooking the Pacific horizon is a wondrous place since I planted it in native flowers and vegetation since I moved here in 2010. As a result, I have prolific birdlife, native animals, reptiles and amphibians in addition to a colony of more than 20 koalas who’ve been roosting and rooting in the eucalypts behind the house going up the hill. I hear their grunts and howls nightly in season.
Aside from my resident Eclectus domestic parrot in his princedom on the inside, a variety of yellow tail black cockatoos scream daily through the air as they nestle into the macadamia tree up front and chew on the pines along the sides.
A school of chatty, noisy rainbow lorikeets has grown from a dozen to more than a hundred flocking twice daily to feed on flowers and fruits planted for them including bottlebrush, grevillea, mulberries, gooseberries and so much more.
I have a family of eight gorgeous King Parrots who are coloured so similarly to Jackson’s grren blue and red that he considers them part of his tribe as they fight the little aggressive lorikeets for food. The family started out with the two parents eight years ago, joined by two fledgling offspring the next year and four more over the subsequent seasons.
Unfortunately they developed a taste for tomatoes which they are smart enough to be able to sneak under the netting I laid over the plants to feed internally.
I have four sets of feeders in trees, the balcony and backyard roof which they merrily chomp through during the early mornings and late afternoons. But danger lurks! There are a number of carpet pythons scattered around the house, the progeny of one I found ten years ago sitting on a nest-clutch of 18 eggs under some cardboard in the garden. I named her Petula (Pet for short) and she’s now grown from the initial 2.5 metres to nearly double that—quite a sight as she stretches down to steps out front sunning herself. This is a smaller one emerging from under the car.
She’s harmless and lives in my attic, taking care of any rats, mice or possums that might try to make a home and she also took a small, old, yappy dog of my former tenants which was too slow to escape her clutches. The other pythons which range from a metre to three metres, lay in wait for their prey which are often birds at the feeder. Though the snakes wrap themselves around parts of or above the feeders, the tweeters are too quick to be captured. Here’s a two metre one looking for breakfast.
The other king and queen reptiles lounging around the house are my lovely Lace Monitor Goannas. The mother is three metres long and her first spawn is now two metres. I know by the tail bands. And I saw her sunning in a tree one day with a fat tummy and a week later, she had slimmed down having dropped her child.
There’s a third one, a little over a metre long now, which is so domesticated that it comes to my front door foyer weekly to feed on raw eggs I leave out. My video camera have captured it seemingly playing soccer with the orbs in the foyer before devouring them.
Kangaroos and wallabies abound and bound about the property, often staring into the house from an elevated mound above the living room. A few times, it’s been a mother with the joey tucked safely into her pouch.
The occasional echidna wanders around along with a thorny water dragon or two.
I’ve caught a couple of bandicoots with their sharp noses in the cat trap by accident when they managed to get in and trip the door shut. As for the feral cats that occasionally get caught, I give them a free swimming lesson in the trap as it’s submerged into a full wheelie bin. Can’t stand them.
Though I do have a few venomous species—Eastern Browns, Red Bellied Blacks, Bandy Bandys and Rough Snakes—they are not as much a worry as the families of Redback Spiders and the occasional Funnel Web we find under things. Other than that, leeches and ticks are the only other biting irritants. Then every once in a while a mantis appears.