Ah, now here's our lovely wombat. He's hunted for days in the bush and appears to have tracked down a nice pile of shredded lettuce which he has dragged back to the Aborigine-sculpted bowl in his lair.

What? You thought they let these things run loose in the wild? Have ya gone mad? They've got sharp, sharp teeth. Look at the bones! I snapped this photo and the ones below at the Tasmanian Devil Park and Wildlife Rescue Center in Taranna in Tasmania, Australia. FYI, people from Tasmania consider themselves Tasmanians first and Australians a very, very distant second. Lovely people, though. Just a bit off.


And here's one of his good buddies, the Tasmanian Devil. Note the striking resemblance to the creature with the same name appearing in Warner Brothers cartoons and video games and advertising dreck. Yes, yes, both appear to have fur of some sort. A virtual doppelganger. Thank goodness we can depend on the Entertainment Industrial Complex to properly educate someone's children.

It may be difficult to judge the scale of the beast from this picture, but trust me, this full grown devil is a bit under two feet long, nose to rump. Yessiree, this little fella could knock back an elephant or two before it's even lunchtime, assuming he could find some elephant roadkill.

Tasmanian Devil

Check out this interactive tour of Tasmania which has some fascinating info about Tasmania and Tasmanian devils, including a QuickTime movie of five Tasmanian Devils being fed Wallaby roadkill. This movie is not for the squeamish, or for ordinary humans, for that matter. It gives a whole new meaning to pulling on the wishbone at Thanksgiving here in the States. I watched a devil chow down on some wallaby roadkill at the Tasmanian Devil Park and Wildlife Rescue Center, and it was quite the spectacle.

Here's a sleepy devil! He must be watching Larry King.

sleeping Tasmanian Devil

Just for good measure, here's a koala and her cub. If you want to annoy an Australian or any other educated, upstanding member of the world community, be sure to loudly say in her presence "Ohh, look at the cute widdle koala bear." When she says, "It's not a bear, it's a marsupial, you wanker" say "Whatever" and go back to drinking your Budweiser and shoving twinkies down your gullet. Koala and cub

Now, I'm sure you've heard about the dangerous wildlife in Australia. Yes, you have a greater chance of being offed by the flora and fauna of Australia than anywhere else on our planet. True fact. I read it on a bottlecap or in a fortune cookie or maybe I just made it up. But, I swear, a really large number of poisonous creatures have established permanent residence on that continent. Read In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson if you don't believe me. Read it even if you do believe me.

cockatoo attacking shoelace Here you see the dreaded Australian cockatoo attempting to swallow me whole, starting with the shoelace. Steve Irwin never experienced such danger.