17

Happy Easter Billy Bilby!

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We’d like to introduce you to a special animal, the Easter Bilby. He’s a celebrity in Australia although he may be less known by some of you. The Easter Bilby is busy this time of year, so we’re going to talk to a close friend.

Billy Bilby, welcome to Cheeseland. Thank you for taking the time to introduce us to the Easter Bilby.

No worries, I’m happy to be here and spread the word about the Easter Bilby. After all, we bilbies are having a problem with our population declining and want people to be aware that we even exist.

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On that note, can you tell us a little bit about bilbies?

We’re small, furry marsupials who live in the desert. Our bodies are about 55 cm/22 inches long and our tails about 29 cm/11.5 inches. We weigh about 2.5 kg/5.5 pounds. We have long noses (excellent sense of smell) and large ears (excellent sense of hearing and help keep us cool). The ladies are about half the size of the gents.

We have extremely soft fur that is mainly blue-grey with white tummies. Bilbies live in fancy burrows. We only come out and night and will eat anything.

Two fun facts about bilbies?

The word bilby is from the Aboriginal Yuwaalaraay language. (I wouldn’t try to pronounce it unless you belong to the group.)

We don’t drink water. We get all we need from what we eat.  (Like koalas)

So how did the Easter Bilby replace the Easter Rabbit in Australia?

Unfortunately, rabbits are not very popular in Australia. They were brought in by the Brits in the 19th century and reproduced until they had taken over the country. Rabbits drove some of the native animals and plants to extinction.

In the 1990’s, the humans decided that the rabbit had to go as the symbol of Easter. They wanted something native to replace it. Since we look something like a rabbit (ears only), we got the job. We’ve been around Australia for a very long time.

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And the tradition has stuck.

Yes, but we’ve lost the association with the anti-rabbit people. Now it’s more of a survival issue. You see, we’re endangered in some parts of Australia and vulnerable in others.

That’s awful. What happened?

The usual: loss of habitat, hunting. I am actually a Greater Bilby. There used to be Lesser Bilbies, but they died out about 70 years ago. (Unless the humans lost them.)

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Is the Easter Bilby tradition working?

It seems to be. There is much greater awareness of who we are and why we are important residents of Australia. In fact, The Commonwealth of Australian Endangered Species Program has chosen us as a mascot, so we’re becoming famous.

They have even started to introduce populations of us into places that haven’t seen bilbies in a very long time. Did you know that we once populated 70% of Australia? And that’s a big place!

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What does the Easter Bilby do?

Pretty much what the Easter Bunny does. Except he delivers chocolate bilbies instead of chocolate rabbits. And he runs rather than hops.

Do you think the idea of the Easter Bilby will spread?

Probably not. The rabbits pretty much have a lock on the market. But that’s OK. We only live in Australia and want to continue living here for a very long time. We have no plans to invade Britain.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

I’m happy to share.

Image result for easter bilbies

Trivia – In March 1968, 9-year-old Rose-Marie Dusting wrote “Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby.” She published it 11 years later.

Sales Pitch: Chocolate bilbies are produced by Pink Lady and Haigh’s Chocolates. (Cadbury pulled out of the market shortly before Easter.) The companies give a percentage of sales to conservation efforts. Pink Lady parent company, Fyna Foods manufactures chocolate bilbies as part of the Australian Bush Friends Easter chocolates. A percentage of the Bush Friends sales is also donated to the Save the Bilby Fund.

 

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8

Why We Don’t See the Easter Bunny – Part 2

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Previously – Gunnar, a current descendant of the original Easter Bunny (a real bunny), has decided to see what was happening with Easter now that the family has outsourced most of it to the humans. So far, he is not happy. He is going to see the Easter Bunny at the mall for an explanation.

Gunnar arrived at the mall. He had never seen such a thing. The mall was huge. And full of humans. Rather scary for a small rabbit. He hopped past all the signs for Easter sales. They were on almost every window: clothing stores, technology stores, mattress stores, perfume shops. Do people really give each other mattresses for Easter?

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He finally found a sign for the Easter Bunny. He saw a large group of people lined up before a throne. On the throne was a creature in some kind of costume with large ears and fake whiskers. There was a sign next to him that said “Easter Bunny”.

“Oh my carrots, is that what the humans think the Easter Bunny looks like?” wondered Gunnar. “That’s not even a rabbit.” He got as close to the line as he could without being seen. He wanted to hear what the humans thought of the fake rabbit.

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“Mommy, is that the real Easter Bunny?”

“Of course he is.”

“Is he going to bring me a basket with toys?”

“Yes, dear. On Easter morning.”                                                                           

Gunnar moved along the line.

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“Mama, he looks kind of scary. I didn’t think he’d be so big.”

“That’s OK. He’s actually very friendly.”

“Do I tell him what I want for Easter?”

“I don’t think that’s the way it works. We’re here to have your picture taken with him. Grandma wants to show it to her friends.”

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Gunnar thought about it. People were standing in line to take pictures of their children with a big, scary fake rabbit. Humans were very strange.

Then he heard a grumbling at the front of the line. Hopping up he saw a sign, “The Easter Bunny will be taking a short break. His assistants are available if you have any questions about the photo packages. No personal checks.”

Gunnar went behind the screen to see if he could talk to the “Easter Bunny.” He heard voices from a small room. Gunnar was speechless. The man in the costume had taken off the head. He was unshaven and didn’t even look clean.

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Gunnar wrinkled his nose. The man didn’t smell clean either. And he reeked of cigarettes. Gunnar listened.

“Whoever designed this thing should have to wear it for a while. It’s hot,” smelly and I can’t even see out of the eyes.”

Gunnar wanted to tell the man why the costume smelled, but continued to listen.

“I need to go outside for a cigarette.”

“You know the rules. No leaving this room without the head.”

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“I can’t smoke with the head on.”

“That’s OK. The Easter Bunny doesn’t smoke. Besides, it’s time to go back out.”

“Great. The next kid that tries to rip off my head is going on the floor.”

“Eddie, you can’t do that. No hurting the children.”

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“Fine. But the next one that pees on me is going back to Mom.”

“That’s why we got you the plastic sheet to go under the blanket on your lap.”

“The talent agency never told me what a miserable job this is.”

Gunnar left without talking to the man. How could someone who didn’t like children pretend to be the Easter Bunny? And who would believe that disgusting man was really the Easter Bunny?

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As he was leaving the area, Gunnar noticed a sign, “Brunch with the Easter Bunny.” It had a picture of the same rabbit imposter who was on the throne. “What a disgusting idea,” Gunnar thought.

Depressed, Gunnar returned to the forest. He poured himself a large glass of carrot juice and thought for a while. His relatives had made a huge mistake. The humans had changed the idea of the Easter Bunny almost beyond recognition.

“I wonder who I call to give the humans responsibility for the rest of the Easter goodies.”

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15

Why We Don’t See the Easter Bunny

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At one time, the Easter Bunny roamed freely during the late winter and early spring. He handed out painted eggs and other springtime treats to animals and humans. It was a job taken on by one family and passed on through the generations.

As time went by, the process got combined with Easter. And the baskets began to get more complex. Chocolate eggs and jelly beans were added. Then marshmallow bunnies and chocolate bunnies. Finally, all types of candy went into the basket.

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The bunnies decided to outsource some of the activities to the humans. It was a difficult decision to make, but the process had gotten out of hand. The bunnies handed off everything except the boiled eggs, chocolate eggs, and jelly beans for the humans. They would continue to bring treats to the animals at the beginning of spring.

They also licensed the name “Easter Bunny” to the humans and allowed them to create a more generic representation of it. The bunnies had made the baskets as a gift of friendship and assumed the humans would continue the tradition.

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Gunnar Kani, the current representative of the original bunny family, wasn’t sure he liked the deal his relatives had made. He really didn’t like humans since he had learned that they kill and eat rabbits. Gunnar went on a research trip.

He saw a sign that said “Homemade Easter Baskets.” He went in and looked around. The baskets were woven willow and filled with hand-painted eggs and various types of homemade chocolates. Gunnar thought that maybe he was mistaken about the humans until he saw the price tags on the baskets.

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Gunnar went outside to think. The baskets were very nice and had obviously taken a lot of work. And humans had to pay for the ingredients. He left the shop satisfied that they were properly representing the spirit of the bunnies.

He went further along the road into town and found another shop that said “Easter Baskets for Sale.” Gunnar hopped in and looked around. These baskets were made out of some type of woven reed and were obviously mass-produced.

Gunnar sighed and looked into the baskets. The only eggs in the basket were plastic and filled with some kind of candy Gunnar had never seen before. There were chocolate eggs and various types of candy.

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He expected that these were unfinished baskets that were waiting for additional treats. Then a human came in and told the person behind the counter how nice the baskets were and bought three of them.

Gunnar was appalled. There was a picture of a rabbit on the sign and these people were selling inferior baskets! His family would have been embarrassed to give out something like that. He continued into town.

He found something called a mega-store. There were signs advertising all kinds of Easter sales. He found a lot of clothes with sale signs. He hopped past these racks. He didn’t understand why humans didn’t just grow fur like animals.

Next Gunnar found piles of factory-made candy for do-it-yourself baskets. That wasn’t too bad. He also found dyes for coloring eggs. Not what he would do, but humans lacked the bunnies’ skills and traditions.

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Then Gunnar saw something that made him stop in his tracks. They were pre-made baskets. They weren’t the lovely ones he had seen at the first shop. They weren’t even the rather pathetic ones he had seen at the second shop.

These baskets were made of plastic made to look like reeds. Inside was cheap “chocolate-type” candy. But the worst was on the top. It was some type of cheap toy. What did that have to do with Easter baskets? It wasn’t even related to spring!

Gunnar was getting a headache. He left the baskets and looked around the store. There were stuffed animals for Easter. Some of the rabbits were rather handsome. But then there were bears, dogs, and even a dinosaur.

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He found door hangings and other decorations. He found signs for the front yard. There were even lighted plastic eggs to hang from a tree outside. And a few he thought were rather clever.

At the back of the store he found computer games and toys being sold as Easter presents. Easter presents! What was going on?

Gunnar could barely find his way out of the store. He sat on a bench in a daze.

Next week – Gunnar goes to the mall to meet the “Easter Bunny”.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

Ed. Note – Twitchy Twilight, who was interviewed last week, is moving to a new site. He is currently unavailable. We will let you know when he is all settled.

2

The Easter Bunny Explains All

Hello, I am the Easter Bunny; the animal you see every spring. I would like to thank Cat for the opportunity to clear up a few things before Easter this year. I would also like to thank Kommando Kitty for giving up her spot as this week’s guest writer.

I am a rabbit; a real rabbit.

I look like this:

rabbits are everywhere don t worry i don t mean that literally they ... (not a photo of me)

Not like this:

The Easter Bunny Shoplifter Due In Court The Day After Easter [Video]

I understand that children like to see who brings them candy. However, I think it is important for adults to understand that I do not walk on two feet or have plastic eyes.

I use magic to deliver eggs.

If your children wonder how one rabbit can get eggs to everyone within 24 hours, tell them they don’t have to worry that I will get tired before I get to your house. I do pretty much the whole thing from home.

I used to be a regular rabbit. One day I was running from a small child and jumped down a hole. But it wasn’t a rabbit hole. The place was full of faeries. One of them flew over to me and said, “Thank goodness you made it! We were almost finished.”

I tried to tell her that I wasn’t her rabbit. But before I knew what was happening, she turned me into the Easter Bunny. My job was to find a band of bunnies from everywhere they celebrate Easter.

Those bunnies tell me how many children there are in their neighborhood who will be receiving treats. (Here’s where the magic comes in.)

I conjure enough treats for each bunny to deliver and make sure they get there in plenty of time to be sorted and tagged. (It’s a trade secret how the baskets actually get to the children.)

I don’t know Santa Claus.

I’m hibernating when Santa visits down here. I would never visit a place with that much ice and snow. Rumor has it he has a private island for his down time in the spring and summer.

I don’t have the same job as Santa Claus.

I understand where this idea came from. The Germans were the ones who dreamed up both Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They decided that we would each decide who was naughty or nice. Then we would bring all kinds of goodies to the nice children.

They got Santa’s job right, but were way off on mine (rather surprising considering how precise they usually are). I originally was responsible for coloring (hen’s) eggs and distributing them. More recently, they added chocolate eggs and jelly beans.

Modern baskets are a combined effort.

Sometimes the parents help me by adding other types of candy to the basket. The home-made cookies and candies are particularly nice.

Any brand-name candy is not from us. I would never buy commercial candy to hand out. My bunnies are busy enough as it is. However, it is very kind of people to buy this candy for children (particularly someone else’s).

And a word about chocolate rabbits. We work hard to get the eggs and candy out. I really don’t appreciate people putting chocolate rabbits in the baskets to be gobbled up. Perhaps you could replace them with dogs or hawks, or something else that harasses rabbits.

Those pre-filled baskets that have been appearing in stores the last few years? An abomination! Not the pretty chocolate ones filled with chocolates. The big ones filled with ugly toys. No child should ever believe that the Easter Bunny is responsible for something that commercial.

If you want your child to have a toy for Easter, buy your child a toy for Easter. Let them appreciate that we both care for them.

Thank you for your time. If you know a rabbit who might be interested in joining my network, please pass their name along to Cat. We’re always looking for good help.

And of course:

Happy Easter Bunny Images Background HD Wallpaper Happy Easter Bunny ...