IT was around midnight in January when Mel Tuckey first saw an unusual creature in his backyard,
Mr Tuckey was carrying out his routine activities, attaching a stock of parrot seed to the red flowering gum that regularly attracts red-capped and twenty eight parrots who arrive at dawn to compete for breakfast.
He was astonished to find a quokka-sized animal rummaging around the base of the tree and eating some of the discarded bird seed and vegetable scraps.
“I was able to get quite close to this animal that may have been stunned by my torchlight until he suddenly ran off into the nearby shrubbery,’’ he said.
After a Google search, he decided his night visitor was a southern brown bandicoot or quenda.
“In 27 years in this home I had never seen a bandicoot before in a well-established suburban area less than 500 m from a major shopping centre.
“Then I remembered recent clearing of bushland about half a kilometre away.
“On succeeding nights, I discovered him exploring the undergrowth in my backyard and thought he might have taken up temporary residence on my property which, compared to neighbouring backyards, has a lot more trees, shrubs undergrowth and leaf litter.
“I decided to call him Bandi and looked forward to an almost nightly encounter.
“On several occasions when I was locking my side gate at midnight he appeared out of the nearby fernery and ambled up very close to see what I was doing.
“Once he walked up to have a sniff of my feet (wouldn’t have been very pleasant) before ambling off.”
On only three occasions did Mr Tuckey see Bandi in the daytime, usually before 8.30am but during the two months Bandi was resaident he saw him almost every night.
But sadly one morning his neighbour told him he had found a dead marsupial on the side of the road, obviously hit by a car.
It was definitely Bandi who was confirmed as a male quenda.
Bandi is buried at the base of the red flowering gum where Mr Tuckey first encountered him.
“All in all and as a keen nature lover, I felt privileged Bandi made his home at my home,’’ he said.
“In retrospect, it may have been valuable to capture Bandi and release him in the wild but that is just the wisdom of hindsight.”
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