David Rabbitborough's A to Z of Australian Species



Every ecological system has its predators that control the population and so in Australia we have the police. No one is sure of how police evolved, though they appear to have descended from a four footed ancestor called a trooper.

A uniform blue in colour, police are usually seen walking slowly around in pairs. The effect of police on a herd of humans is remarkable. Noisy species fall silent, and normally aggressive individuals become quite docile. Like seagulls police often flock around football grounds looking for scraps, which they break up.

They also hide beside the long migratory paths called highways waiting to spring out and intercept the various species as they pass along. They have been seen to intercept falcons, bluebirds and colts and even to bring down a Jaguar.

However, the fear which police induce in other species seems to be mainly due to their appearance, which is unusual. The male is distinguished by the growth of hair on the upper lip - though not as distinguished as he would like to be. The female's hair grows into a sort of knot on the back of the head and while no one has ever seen under the white cap they wear from its shape it has been deduced that their heads are flat on top.

Despite their fearsome appearance, police are nervous creatures and often carry small black idols with long tails that they whisper into for reassurance as they walk around.

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