LATELY, two young buck wallabies have been sparring on the lawn. They are both around the same size. In human terms I’d call them adolescents. They start by grazing on the grass, apparently minding their own business. Then one lopes quietly towards the other, subtly attracting its attention, slowly manoeuvring into position. Soon they are sitting face to face, propped on their tails ready to begin the battle.
They sit for a little while sizing each other up. Then, as if a gong is sounded to mark the start of round one, they rise up and the fight is on. They throw themselves at each other, straining on their strong hind legs, paws grasping at each other’s necks, nose to nose.
They separate but no time is lost as one leaps up in the air pushing for domination. The other stands his ground then they both drop down and back away, signalling the end of the round.
Moments later, they face off again, each sitting as if on a spring all set to leap into action. They look at each other then look away, playing a game of wits. Their ears are upright, on alert. Who will be the first to make a move?
Round two begins without warning. They rise up in unison, legs fully extended, every muscle taut, balanced by powerful tails. Their claws lash out as they thrash about, then crouch forward grabbing each other and wheeling around, their tails trailing wildly behind. Then they break their grip and split apart, marking the end of another round.
The two young wallabies resume ready position, face to face, sitting strong and straight, perched on their haunches one metre apart. Their legs are spread wide for maximum balance and their paws are poised in front of their chests. They hold each other’s gaze then one looks away, pretending not to be interested.
The other bends down in a sign of submission but it’s a trick to outwit his rival. He springs up and catches his opponent off guard and almost knocks him off his feet. Surprised but not overpowered, the other wallaby quickly recovers and, with all the power in his legs and his tail as a lever, he soars towards his foe. His sparring partner arches his back, draws his head away and holds up his paws in defence.
Round three is over and it’s time for a break. The two adversaries graze on the grass several metres apart. The light of day is beginning to fade but the match is not over yet.
Rounds four, five and six unfold in much the same way but there never seems any deadly intent. It’s a game for now, merely practice for when the stakes are high and the prize is the prettiest doe in the paddock.
By the time they are done, more than an hour has gone and neither has won or lost. After ten rounds, they call it a day and the sun slips below the horizon.
November 24, 2014
This afternoon as I welcomed the sound of the rain falling on our roof, I logged on to your Post. I would like to thank both Linda Cuttriss for her stories and taking me away from everyday life, and also Simon Chipper for his wonderful photos and again taking me to another place that I thought I knew so well.
It was a wonderful escape, I look forward to more.
Glenda Salter, Smiths Beach
November 16, 2014
Great photos and a well written piece. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Typical males – all that for nothing!!!