Locals shocked as wild wallaby is spotted in Devon - thousands of miles from native Australia
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When you think of Wallabies, you tend to imagine the stifling heat of Australia as the small animals run around their native home. However, one corner of Devon has had their very own taste of down under.
John Cook was left baffled after spotting the little marsupial picking around a hedge on the side of a road near the village of Hemyock. A Stunned John, who is 56, was travelling along the lane for work when he spotted the little marsupial.
John was so shocked by what he had just witnessed that he decided to stop and get out his van to get a closer look. He said: “I had to do a double-take, as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing," John, a service driver, said. It stayed visible for the whole time I was there, approximately five minutes. It looked healthy and was eating leaves when I first saw it. It looked straight at me and I was within 8ft of it and didn’t seem alarmed or distressed by me being there.”
The animals are used to the Australian sunshine, but the creature seemed quite happy in the far more frigid Devon climate. John’s friends and family were equally shocked when they heard what had happened.
He added: "Some people thought I was joking. Others were shocked and amazed by what I had seen. I initially thought it might have escaped from somewhere until I did some internet research when I got home and learned that there are a number of wallabies living wild in the UK."
Although wallabies usually live in Australia and Papua New Guinea and although sightings are rare, they have been spotted in the UK before, including in Hemyock, Devon. In 2021, a farmer sighted one hopping across his field and in 2020, another was spotted one hopping down a country lane.
There are about 1,740 wallabies that are believed to be living in the UK This number includes those both wild and those living in captivity.