Mum stunned after spotting wallaby

STUNNED mum Deborah Hannon thought she was going hopping mad when she looked up from her gardening to see a wallaby staring back at her.Mrs Hannon spotted the wallaby - more at home in the islands of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and New Guinea - in a field near her home.

WHERE'S wally? Is he back in the neighbourhood?

It has been a few years since The Evening Star launched its search for Wally the Wallaby who was causing a stir in Tuddenham St Martin, but now it seems he or one of his relatives could be back.

Stunned mum Deborah Hannon thought she was going hopping mad when she looked up from her gardening to see a wallaby staring back at her.

Mrs Hannon spotted the wallaby - more at home in the islands of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and New Guinea - in a field near her home.

She was in her garden at Station Road, Wetheringsett near Stowmarket, with her two-year-old son Reilly and her two pet dogs English Bull Terrier Alfie and Jack Russell Duffy at the time.

Mrs Hannon, 42, said: “I was so stunned, I honestly was. No-one believes me, even though I got a picture.

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“I have never seen one before in the wild.

“I have lived here for ten years and the most we have seen are common deers in this lovely area. It was just grazing, close enough to see him.”

In 2005 there were a spate of sightings in the Tuddenham St Martin area, so much so that The Evening Star launched its Where's Wally? campaign and sent Australian reporter Grant Sherlock on the trail - but to no avail.

Concerned the animal may have escaped from a wildlife park or zoo Mrs Hannon contacted the RSPCA and was stunned to learn a small number of wallabies are running amok in the British countryside.

Introduced from Tasmania more than 100 years ago, the red-necked wallaby is the only known marsupial at large in the British countryside.

Small colonies of wallabies are known to roam the Lake District and around Loch Lomond in Scotland.

In 2005, it was estimated that there were less than 50 living in the wild in the whole of Britain.

Previous sightings of wallabies have been reported in Suffolk - along with the rumours of a panther who would find the furry creature a tasty morsel!

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said: “It's fairly common and there are colonies of them. Quite often people mistake them for Muntjac deer.

“Usually they have escaped from private collections or wildlife parks.”

The Aussie species are listed on Schedule Nine of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which means that it is an offence to release any or allow any to escape into the wild, except under licence.

The Mammal Society is asking people to report mammals they have spotted in the wild during their National Mammal Week in July - and extra points are given if you spot a wallaby.

For more information, visit http://www.abdn.ac.uk/mammal/its_national_mammal_week_pr.shtml

n. Have you spotted a wallaby? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

The facts: Red-necked wallaby.

nRed-necked wallabies inhabit the coastal forests of eastern and southeastern Australia and are especially common in Queensland, northeastern New South Wales and Tasmania.

?The wallabies are named for the reddish fur on their napes and shoulders. Most of their bodies are fawny grey.

?Red-necked wallabies are grazers and consume largely grasses and herbs. Juicy roots during dry spells supply red-necked wallabies with water.

?A red-necked wallaby can bound along at over 64 km per hour.

?They are approximately 92-105cm tall with a tail about 70-75cm long.

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