Raquel Stevens

Renowned nature historian Sir David Attenborough once said, “It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement, the greatest source of visual beauty, and the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”

Daylesford’s very own naturalist Tanya Loos agrees with her childhood hero. She’s been poking around Wombat Forest and writing about our magnificent surroundings for years.  The self-confessed ‘poo’ lady believes nothing is more important than co-existing with nature.

How did your love affair with nature start?

When I was 5 years old, living in London in 1980 with my family. My mum’s friend, Jill, gave me a book on Pond Life – I was hooked!

What brought you to Daylesford? 

We always wanted to live in a forested area and we loved the diverse community flavours here – from Chillout Festival to the Theosophical Society. We came here from Melbourne in 2002 and then my mum and sister also moved here.

What’s a fun fact about you?

My favourite kinds of music are baroque classical music, progressive death metal and the Beastie Boys.

What’s your favourite fun fact about a species?

I love that grey-headed flying foxes have special fur that helps collect a lot of pollen – so they are like giant furry honeyeaters on their nightly forays around our eucalypt forests.

What’s your secret spot around the Hepburn Shire?

I love walking all the Wombat Forest and Hepburn Regional Park, but a spot I regularly visit is Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens.

Describe your favourite species. 

The gang-gang cockatoo is so endearing, with big eyes and cheeky expression. I adore their soft calls and their friendly family habits. And so pretty!

What’s the strangest thing you have observed in nature?

Possibly the sound of a parent powerful owl braying like a sheep. They do this call near the nest. There was a nest tree, and I could see and hear their big baby trilling, and the huge mother or father owl going “baaaa-aa”!

What species is underrated and why?

The eastern grey kangaroo is underrated. They are so beautiful and intelligent, with complex social systems and friendships.

If you could have a superhero power, what would it be and why?

I would like to reverse the Earth’s orbit and turn back time Superman style and make sure agriculture and subsequent population rise of humans never happened.

Ghost bat.

Describe your most interesting life experience thus far.

Sitting outside an abandoned gold mine at Pine Creek, with dozens of other bat enthusiasts at dusk, watching hundreds of amazing, rare, and precious Ghost bats emerging to feed. That was on a Darwin bat trip in 2011 – best trip ever!

What would the title of your biography be?

Bat lady, plant lady, poo lady, lizard lady, bird lady. The poo lady is because I can identify scats of local animals such as koalas, possums, bats, mice….

What are you reading or streaming?

We are watching Our Flag Means Death, as well as Arrested Development, the Green Wing – yes we watch shows years later after they come out! Reading – I am reading the pdf proofs of my forthcoming book!

Describe yourself in a sentence. 

Bursting with love for nature and animals – and I like people too!

What’s on your fridge?

Dozens of magnets from places I have visited, Pine Creek NT, Cassowary Coast, Qld, and a picture of Chris and I when we were first together – age 25 (me) and 23 (Chris).

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self? 

Yes, you are enough, you are doing enough.

Stuck in Wombat Forest for the rest of your life, what three items would you take?

My Swarovski binoculars, a couch, and the Magic Pudding.

What do you wish you had more time to do?

Spend time with my friends.

Tanya’s new book is under wraps.

What lesson in life should be passed on? 

Try to do unto others as you would have them do unto you – an old classic.

What ‘s next for Tanya Loos?

Thrilled to say I have a book called Living with Wildlife: a guide for our homes and backyards, by CSIRO Publishing coming out in early 2025!

If you were a hashtag#?


We could all learn to co-exist more with nature, wouldn’t that be a nicer place indeed.  Tanya Loos will be a special guest at the upcoming ‘Words In Winter’ Festival on August 23-25. www.wordsinwinter.com

You can read more about Tanya’s tales in nature at www.tanyaloos.com


Raquel Stevens is a former Network Ten News Journalist. She has been a part time local for more than 25 years, and one day hopes to be a full time local.