The Last Place You’d Look For a Wallaby: My Obsessive Quest to Seek Out Alien Species, by Glen Chilton
University of Queensland Press (2013), Paperback, 289 pages.
After looking for the long-deceased Labrador Duck, Canadian ornithologist now settled in Australia Glen Chilton sets off another zoological quest. This time the animals he is seeking are very much alive, although many people wish they weren’t. His quest is for animals (and plants) that are a long way from where they should be. Wallabies in Scotland, Pacific oysters off the Dutch coast, eucalyptus in Ethiopia, American ducks in Spain, and many more. As in his Labrador Duck quest, Chilton again plays the clueless traveller, with another assortment of interesting travelling companions. Only Chilton would go looking for Australian wallabies on a Scottish island accompanied by a Hungarian architect. As usual his travels are made vastly more interesting by the people he meets and the officialdom he has to deal with. His experiences in Ethiopia in particular have to be read to be believed. This book is less emotive than his Labrador Duck quest. Live animals always are a lot more cheerful subject than vanished ones. But it’s no less an entertaining read. Chilton finds that not all invasive animals are a pest or cause damage to their new homes. Some fit in really well, and others are even beneficial. Just the juxtapositions of some of the animals with out of the way places you would never expect them to be is a real eye-opener. Another entertaining and enthralling offering from a very talented and very funny writer.