Mole emerging from its hole
Spare a thought for the mouldywarp – a truly great dirt-tosser. Photo: Shutterstock

A lame tribute to genius

When a reminder arrived the other day that April was Safe Digging Month (SDM) in North America, I immediately thought of my long-departed Gobi Desert Canoe Club t-shirt!

The connection? Absurdity.

The SDM campaign is the brainchild of the ambiguously named Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and embraces all forms of digging.

Ah, but does it consider the special needs of armadillos, badgers, meerkats, goannas, moles and other non-human burrowers and excavators?

Camp nurses

And to continue this frivolous muse, I’m wondering if the CGA is affiliated to the Roadkill Hospice Advocacy Society, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, or the Association of Camp Nurses?

It is not beyond the realms of possibility, you realise, that this plethora of weird, mostly US-based, lobby groups has sprung up since the arrival of President Donald Trump. Here are a few more (mostly factual) outfits to consider joining:

Meerkat lying on its back, resting
Meerkats dig to live – most of the time. Photo: ©Tony Neilson

Association of Pet Obesity Prevention

National Association of Self-Esteem

Association for the Working Samoyed

Egoists Anonymous

Obedient Wives Club (women only)

Association of Reptile Keepers

Cigar Rights of America

US Dehydrated Onion Ass’n

But the major prize for the downright whacky goes to the Prince Philip Movement – a religious sect in Vanuatu that apparently believes Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is a divine being.

Champion dirt-tossers

With ANZAC Day approaching, the ‘Diggers’ of WWI and later will rightly be remembered with due ceremony. But also spare a thought for champion tunnelers like the mouldywarp – a dirt-tosser of exceptional skill, aka the mole. (Wikipedia says the star-nosed mole can catch and eat prey faster than the human eye can see.)

(The above is my lame tribute to the satirical brilliance of John Clarke – the Australasian comic genius who died this month (April) while out bird watching. – Tony Neilson.)


©2018 TONY NEILSON All Rights Reserved. All images are protected by Australian copyright law and cannot be downloaded or reproduced without my permission. Please contact me.



  • David April 21, 2017 at 1:15 PM Reply

    Love the Meerkat shot. Brilliant !

    • Tony Neilson April 21, 2017 at 1:39 PM Reply

      Thanks David, always good to receive expert opinion.

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