Petrus Spronk

The most frightening moment, that night, came when I had been pushed to the ground by a wombat while he sunk his teeth into my leg. He seemed to have no thoughts of letting go…

For years now I have slept in my tent during the summer months. I do this because I enjoy being close to the night spirit, the various the sounds of the night, plus the fresh air I get to breath. As it was this night. I laid down in my bed enjoying the quietness and magic of the night while I slow- drifted into the land of dreams.

Because it was such a lovely night, with a twist of fresh cool air, I decided to leave the tent open.

I awoke at around 4 a.m. sensing a foreign presence close to the opening of my tent. My first thought, that it was the pony from across the road who occasionally wanders across during the night to steal some chook food. But it wasn’t him. The next thought which came to me, that it must have been a dog. But it wasn’t a dog either, so I decided to flip open my torch to see who was there. When I pointed the torch and turned it on I saw the triangular skull, with the two beady eyes, of a wombat, a foot away, far too close for comfort.

There was nothing friendly about the wombat. He tried to get into the tent which I could not allow because I would be stuck behind him without being able to get out. And he was BIG and SOLID. I made the best growl noises I could. No result. I hit him with my slipper, he wobbled off. I went back to sleep. Sometime later he was back, but now even more determined to enter my tent. Torch on. The time is 4.35 a.m.

He is persistent to get in. I am as persistent to keep him out. I am looking for something hard, but there is nothing here, bar a doona and a couple of pillows. I have to wait to be able to get past him at a moment of opportunity. Grabbing my doona and pillows I get out. However, the wombat has a different idea. He knocks me off my feet and sinks his teeth into my leg which freaks me out no end. I hit him. But it makes no difference. I got about the same result as if I would have hit a brick wall. So in a last attempt I poke my finger into his eye. He lets go. And I get to my feet and stumble away on my bare feet, into the dark, but he is after me and when I fall over some garden seating, hurting my hip, He was onto me and while I defended myself he got my arm and took out another chunk.

By now I am pretty sore but I make it to the veranda with the wombat in hot pursuit and still far to close by. This forbids me to open the fly wire door. I would have my back to him and I didn’t fancy that so, using one of the chairs I hop onto the table. At this moment he stood up and was able to put his huge front claws onto the edge of the table. I am almost too frightened to look. I wait. In time he waddles off and quick as a flash I was inside. The warm feeling of blood running down my leg. It leaves a trail of bright red footsteps everywhere in the house.

Once inside my house I notice that I am bleeding profusely. So, using warm water I wash my wounds, of which there are seven, I wrap them up with some sticky tape and climb into my safe indoor bed. I sleep to 7.30 when I call my friend Ollie to ask him if he could take me to Daylesford Hospital, where, after having the wounds thoroughly washed, I am stitched up. The doctor told me that I should stay in the hospital for two nights in case of infection.

There is a good outcome – two days of being treated to the best of care by a group of fantastic nurses, another first for me. Definitely 5 star service, made me feel like a VIP. Thanks lovely nurses….

p.s. I later heard that a wombat had bitten my friend across the track twice plus he came into his house and terrorised him.

Petrus Spronk is a local artist and sculptor who writes a monthly column for The Wombat Post.

Editor’s note: Petrus was attacked in early February. Three weeks later, the wounds have healed and the dressings have been removed from his leg and arm. For the time being, Petrus has moved inside to sleep in a safe place.