The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This poor little fellow was on my next door neighbour’s front verandah last summer. We’d had two weeks of plus 40C days and he spent 2 days on their verandah alternating between sipping from the water bowl they put out for him and dipping his hands in the water.
Koalas have soft, thick, grey or brown fur on their backs. The fur on the stomach is white and they have large, hairless noses and round ears. Adult koalas measure between 64 to 76 centimetres in length and weigh between 7 and 14 kilograms.
Koalas have strong, sharp claws and long toes to help them climb. The front paws have two thumbs to help them grip branches strongly. The second and third toes on the back legs are joined together to form a grooming claw.
Koalas are generally quiet animals but communicate with each other through a variety of noises which range from sounds like a loud snore, to a burping sound and even a loud bellow.
This little creature is cute and can be quite sociable with humans. Destruction of natural habitats means these animals have adapted to living closer to people, despite their cute appearance though they can be quite bothersome. They get into peoples roofs and live in the walls of houses where they can cause havoc.
Possums are very agile and like to hang out in trees or other high places they use their long white tipped tails for gripping branches when climbing. They can also use their tail for carrying nesting materials. They have a soft, high pitched twittering call
The average wombat is about 1 metre (40 inches) long and weighs about 25 kg (55 pounds). Their colour varies from a sandy color to brown or black to grey. Their lifespan is anywhere from 5 years to over 30 years.
The freshwater crocodile is found in inland freshwater areas of the Australian tropics and occasionally in the tidal portions of rivers. Male freshwater crocodiles grow up to 3 metres in length, although females are much smaller, rarely growing longer than 2 metres. Both species mature at around 15 years of age.
Freshwater crocodiles eat smaller animals that come to drink at the waters edge where as saltwater crocodiles are capable of ambushing and killing cattle and horses as they come to drink at waterholes. Prey can also include wallabies, pigs, and even other crocodiles.
They are fascinating creatures but are definitely best viewed from behind the safety of a fence or within the safe confines of a boat (which is how we saw them in Darwin)
This snake is found throughout most of the eastern half of Australia. They feed on small creatures, such as mice and rats, small birds, lizards or even other snakes. The Brown Snake has a narrow head in appearance, with a slender body. Their colour may range from beige to silver, cream, brown, light tan to orange, dark brown and some times even black.
Yabbies usually grow to a length of up to 150 mm depending upon conditions. Their eyes are on the end of little stalks and they also have 3 sets of antennae which provide them with the ability to touch things.Yabbies have gills like fish so they can "breathe" under water and like most crayfish they have 2 large "pincer like" claws at the front.
The goanna is about 160 cm long altogether. Its head and body measure about 70 cm. Its body is flattened; it has strong legs with long toes and claws. It has a long neck. It can give a fierce blow with its long tail. It has a tongue rather like a snake's, which it flicks in and out. We had one cross the road behind our car when we were in Kangaroo Island and they’re an awesome sight to see.
I hope you enjoyed meeting some of our Australian animals, next week I’ll introduce you to some of our 'iconic' Australian inventions.
"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys." - Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation