This little piece of fluff should in no way be considered a challenge to the ownership of the characters or intellectual property of J.K. Rowling. I own nothing. Send not thy Lawyers to bedevil me. Please.

Chapter 4

The large crate had been sitting on the ground for several hours. At a number of points around the crate, there were sections of bars to allow air to flow freely.

Inside said crate, a dozen or so dozy looking bundles of fur clung to a number of tree branches, sleeping.

Appearances can be deceptive, however, and they were all watching a rather inquisitive Bowtruckle hovering around the outside of the cage. If there is one thing that can be said about Koala's, and their more voracious cousins, it is that they have brought the art of sitting around doing nothing much at all to a whole new level.

After a time, their patience was handsomely rewarded. The Bowtruckle entered the compartment, coming within reach of one of the dozing bears and SNAP. It was caught in the powerful claws of the most ferocious arboreal predator in the magical world.

For the first time in hours, the Drop Bears began moving. The biggest one took the Bowtruckle and sat considering it, while several others moved to view their surroundings through the barred windows of their crate. A few quiet grunts announced the all clear.

The biggest moved over to the entrance, reached the paw holding the Bowtruckle through it, and began manipulating it in the padlock securing the door.

Twenty minutes, and a lot of pitiful squeaking from the Bowtruckle, later the door was released and a number of dark, furry shapes could barely be seen slipping away into the Forbidden Forest.

School had already been back for almost a week, but it appeared that Dumbledore was putting on another feast to welcome his new guests. Not that the students were complaining, though there were a few mutters about some of the foods that had turned up on the tables.

Hermione figured that the strange foods probably had something to do with the Headmaster's guests, who she could see happily tucking into them.

She was as surprised as the rest of the students, however, when a strange creature appeared in front of the newcomers. It had tan fur, was standing upright on it's hind legs, had a long heavy tail and a small thin head, it's arms were thin and ended in small clawed hands.

"Steve, mate, we've gotta problem. The bloody bears have dunna runna agin." It's thick Australian accent, and habit of running words together made it a little hard to understand. "Picked the bloody lock with a Bowtruckle and pissed off inta the forest."

"No point crying over spilt potion, Sheila. We'll round 'em up later." The man smiled down at the kangaroo. "Go crack a tinny and take the night off."

She nodded, snatched a sausage off his plate, and vanished.

The muttering among the students resumed, though the topic had shifted from the rather odd cuisine, to the possible danger represented by a bunch of runaway bears.

Hermione was more concerned about them having picked the lock, it implied a degree of intelligence and the ability to use tools. Not a good combination in a predatory animal.

As the meal wound down, the Headmaster stood up to speak.

"What a marvellous meal. Yes. Well, I'm quite sure you're all very curious about our guests. This is Professor Erwin, he is visiting us as part of an exchange program, and will be replacing Professor Hagrid for Care of Magical Creatures. To his right is Madam Erwin, and their daughter, Bindi. I know you will all make them feel welcome, thank you." Dumbledore now looked down at the assembled students over the top of his halfmoon glasses. "On a final note, it has just become substantially more dangerous to enter the Forbidden Forest, so I would recommend against entering it." His gaze appeared to have fixed on a certain trio.

The entire room sat quietly for a moment, before wild cheers and applause broke out from the Slytherin table. Shortly followed by polite applause from the other tables, as well as confused looks directed towards the Slytherins. This was very out of character for them, but not really when you thought about it. Hagrid was gone, and had been replaced by a name they knew well.

The teachers, one by one, finished up and left the hall, leaving only Vector and MacGonnegal behind to supervise the students, who were showing no sign of moving anywhere so caught up in discussion of the new professor were they.

Basically, there were three initial reactions to the new Professor.

The muggleborns, and some of the halfbloods, were mildly impressed. They had heard of Steve Erwin, the Crocodile Hunter was a well-known celebrity, even in England. Though they were a little confused since he was obviously not the muggle they had thought he was.

The purebloods, and some of the halfbloods, were swinging between openly impressed and downright terrified. The Dragon Hunter's exploits were a thing of legend, as was his Dangerous Creatures Reserve in the northeast of Australia.

Harry Potter, was clueless. Despite having been raised in the muggle world, he had no idea who Steve Erwin was. Fortunately his companions, pureblooded Ron Weasley to his right, and muggleborn Hermione Granger to his left, were more than happy to enlighten him, and in the doing so, each other.

Ron was highly impressed that a Wizard of Erwin's pureblood lineage had managed to not only function in the muggle world, but achieve fame without straining the secrecy laws.

Hermione was wondering out loud if Professor Erwin wrestled Dragons like he did Crocodiles.

Several people found this idea amusing, though the assembled students began breaking up and heading for the dormitories, her question unanswered.