Grey nomads set to stare down food-stealing wildlife

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Grey nomads look to stop food thieves
Flying food thieves can be a problem. PIC: BBC

When you’re travelling on a budget, food theft is no laughing matter. From goannas lumbering through campsites, to possums rummaging around in annexes, to kookaburras swooping to snatch sizzling snags, grey nomads across the country are counting the cost of the hungry wildlife ‘situation’.

It’s no wonder then that an increasing number of travellers are asking ‘what else can we do to safeguard our tucker?’

Well, science suggests an unlikely solution … outstare the scavengers.

A new study conducted by researchers at England’s University of Exeter in England has found that seagulls are less likely to steal chips when they are being looked at.

The academics put a bag of chips on the ground and timed how long gulls took to approach when they were being watched. They compared this to how long it took for the gulls to strike when the chip guardian looked away.

The gulls took 21 seconds longer on average when they were being looked at.

“I had a bit of a chip theft catastrophe in Tumby Bay one year, so I’m definitely ready to give staring at seagulls and kookaburras a go,” said traveller Paul Jones. “Maybe not with dingoes and crocs though.”

  • Have you been the victim of a creeping, crawling or flying food thief? Comment below.
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3 Responses to Grey nomads set to stare down food-stealing wildlife

  1. Recently was told of an encounter with seagull where half a chip was taken and the other half kept and eaten and person got ecoli. Also a friend barbecuing at bagara where the seagulls poop on bbq plates got ecoli. Both spent time in hospital. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-10/seagulls-carrying-drug-resistant-ecoli-bacteria-like-superbugs/11280148

    • Just wanted to add to my comment. Whenever we use outside public bbq’s we place heavy duty foil on plate and punch a hole in the middle for the fat and cook on top of foil. Easy cleanup, just roll up and toss.

  2. It’s simple. Don’t feed the wild life. Don’t leave food out. People feeding wild life just cause problems for everybody else. Recent examples. Numerous people becoming ill from bird poo. Normal shy Dingos on Fraser island attacking a child. People hospitalised due to incidents with goannas at Airlie beach and Whitehaven beach.

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