WILD beasts are hopping through the woods and farmland of Wiltshire while other creatures a wandering the sweeping landscape of the county in search of food.

Or so it may seem after footage emerged this weekend of a wallaby bounding across the road near Chippenham.

The report from ITV South West featured an image of the Australian marsupial crossing a road in front of commuter Danielle Mewis on her way to work.

The startled motorists said she saw the animal in the same place last year so clearly the wallaby has made its home in woodland between Somerford Common and Brinkworth.

Smaller than kangaroos although similar wallabies are native to the eastern area of Australia but through escapes from zoos have established small colonies in Britain.

The largest one is on the Isle of Man, while others include Scotland and also the Welsh Marches and now of course Wiltshire.

Rather like very small deer wallabies are harmless if confronted and live on leaves and vegetation.

However, they are not alone in being the county’s only exotic creature. The wild boar were all but extinct in this country from the 18th century but remained common on the Continent.

Originally kept by farmers in the 1970s for meat production inevitably some escaped creating colonies in The Forest of Dean and East Sussex.

As these early escapees bred and fled they moved into new areas in Devon, Dorset and now Wiltshire where they have been spotted in the west of the county on the Somerset border.

If approached they usually run away but can be spooked by dogs and will defend themselves if attacked.

Other exotic creatures on the loose in this country include Mink – again escapees from fur farms. Coypu are large water loving rodents that were common in Norfolk but slowly spread along waterways. The Government carried out an extermination campaign and it is believe they are all but extinct.

Skunks have built colonies in Gloucestershire and beavers in Devon while chipmunks are another zoo animal that have spread across the country. A type of raccoon has built a colony in Cumbria while in London parakeets are a familiar sight.

Thankfully no big cats have been spotted in the county for a while although just over the border in Somerset there have been occasional claims of a panther roaming the Mendips.

Out very own Great Bustard has been reintroduced with some success to Wiltshire – the large bird has not only managed to breed and escape the clutches of foxes but has become something of an icon for the county. Perhaps it will eventually be joined by the Wiltshire wallaby.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: