Saturday, January 2, 2010

Family defends not saving joey from snake

A COOKTOWN family who watched a python eat a young wallaby in their backyard says public backlash for not helping the joey is "water off a duck's back".

The Barton-Ilic family watched from their veranda in far north Queensland as a 4m scrub python ate a young wallaby while its mum kicked and scratched the snake in vain to save the joey.

Judith Barton-Ilic said she felt like she was watching Animal Planet with her kids Braidyn, 13, and Tiarn, 10, when the action unfolded about 4.30pm (AEST) on Monday.

The story gained nationwide interest since being published on cairns.com.au, with more than 140,000 hits on Mrs Barton-Ilic's pictures of the attack.

The family came under fire as online readers posted a barrage of comments, with many attacking the family for not going to the joey's rescue.

"So, in 45 minutes, no supposed top of the chain animal went to the aid of the mother wallaby. Sickening!" wrote Elizabeth of Seddon in Victoria.

But Mrs Barton-Ilic defended the actions of her family, saying the snake had half the wallaby in its mouth by the time they noticed the incident.

She also said the family armed themselves with long broom handles and sticks but gave up after realising the joey was dead.

"By the time we were alerted to the situation, the wallaby was already well wrapped up by the snake," she said.

"We were actually quite upset over the whole incident, that joey we've been looking after and feeding.

"People saying we should have chopped the snake's head off and hit it with a shovel are ridiculous, there are fines up here for that stuff.

"These comments are water off a duck's back."

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