Wednesday, June 14, 2006
We've had an 'interesting' if costly night, thanks to our old friend, a Tasmanian devil. They may look cute in the picture I used as a logo on this blog, but real-life devils are nothing like that Warner Bros character (photo 5 - file photo, not the devil that came through last night).
The annual migration of devils from King Island in the far northwest of the state to the southwest protected area is a dangerous time but by means of concrete culverts on the beaches the devils are herded down safely fenced lanes and generally don't impact much on property. Occasionally, as happened last night, one will swim too far east. This has happened only 3 times in the 15 years I've had the farm, but its dangerous when it happens. This one came ashore north of us last night, crossing our property on its way inland and leaving a swathe of devastation behind. You can see its very clear trail in the aerial photo 1, taken this morning.
Spinning at speeds up to 120 km/hr, this one churned up a very distinct path where it went. It also ran smack into our bottom barn, and with the friction their rotations cause, the hay caught fire in seconds (photo 3). There was nothing we could do to save the barn even though we were on the scene inside a minute - thanks to the high pitched scream something like a jet turbine on overload we knew he was on the property the second he got in our hearing range.
Leaving our property minus a barn but thankfully missing our house and dairy, he travelled alongside the highway for a bit then headed toward the Kelcey Tier greenbelt, a belt of forest, and one of the local newspapers took a good aerial shot showing his path through the trees (photo 2). From there he went past the outskirts of Sheffille, narrowly missing a house but knocking over a power pole before going straight through the trunk of an old oak near Manchausen's farm, onto the road where some cars were damaged (photo 4). This always happens when a devil gets anywhere near a road, people panic even though they should know they're relatively safe inside their vehicles. The migrating devil may damage or in rare cases tear off panels from a car but they have never been known to tear their way into the cab. Still people panic.
Authorities are out looking for the devil this morning, hoping to herd it westward into the devil lanes which are especially constructed to withstand them and which lead to the southwest conservation area. Personally, I'm down one barn and the insurance companies don't cover Acts of Tasmanian Devils, so I won't mind if some brave truckie sees it and tries to run it down. I'll even buy him a beer if he succeeds.
Fake fact of the day