Wallaby on loose in Ottery area

PUBLISHED: 10:34 15 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:10 20 May 2019

Eyewitness Libby Costa saw the wallaby near Lashbrook, Talaton. Picture: Libby Costa

Eyewitness Libby Costa saw the wallaby near Lashbrook, Talaton. Picture: Libby Costa

Archant

A wallaby is reported to be on the loose in the Ottery St Mary area.

The macropod, which is native to Australia and New Guinea, has been on the hop since 6pm last night (Tuesday, May 14).

A police spokesman said it was spotted outside of a house in Talaton near Ottery before disappearing into a field.

The spokesman added: "The animal then went into a field and we have had no follow up reports in relation to this."

Eyewitness Jude Grigg was in her car when she saw the animal in Lashbrook, Talaton.

She said: "All the cars were stopped in north directions. We tried to catch in the front garden. Two young farmers nearly managed to catch it. Unfortunately it got into a cornfield, where we were unable to see it.

"My husband went out just before dusk. He (the wallaby) must have gone to ground. The wallaby was spotted this morning at 8.45am."

Wildwood Escot tweeted that the animal could be in the Talaton or Ottery area, but did not escape from its park.

The tweet said: "He may well be scared & behave unpredictably posing a hazard for traffic. For his safety and that of road users, please advise police if you see him."

Eyewitness Libby Costa saw the wallaby near Lashbrook, Talaton. Picture: Libby CostaEyewitness Libby Costa saw the wallaby near Lashbrook, Talaton. Picture: Libby Costa

George Hyde, general manager of Wildwood Escot, said: "It was a report from the Escot estate who received a call from a member of the public who called the estate telling them a wallaby had come from here.

"They said they saw it skipping across the field in the Talaton/Ottery St Mary area.

"We do not have a wallaby here. It is likely to have come from a private collection somewhere in the area.

"The key thing is that the wallaby is likely to be scared and could behave unpredictably if he goes anywhere near a road - and we are close to the A30. He could cause problems."

Libby Costa was in the car when she captured this image of the wallaby. Picture: Libby CostaLibby Costa was in the car when she captured this image of the wallaby. Picture: Libby Costa

James Turner, manager of World of Country Life in Exmouth, said the business's seven wallabies were all accounted for.

He added: "I would not approach the wallaby. They have very powerful legs, not as strong as a kangaroos but they could give you a hefty thump if they wanted to. I would not approach it and really the RSPCA needs to be notified to capture it."

Wallabies were accidentally introduced to Britain via escapees from Whipsnade zoo in about 1940.

The RSPCA has not been contacted about the missing animal but has asked anyone who has seen the animal to contact its emergency line on 0300 1234 999.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "Most people may be unaware that wallabies are considered established in the wild in Britain, as a result of escaping from captivity, although they are not a native species to the UK.

"Some people also keep them as pets, so it's possible this wallaby is lost or has escaped from a private property.

"Our advice to people who spot a wallaby in the wild is to watch from afar and don't try to approach them. As these animals are not native to the UK, releasing a wallaby into the wild would be an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

"Anyone who finds a wallaby which is injured or in need of help should monitor the animal from a distance and call the RSPCA emergency line."

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