Australia is home to some really wondrous beasties, so much so that they tend to put us on the map and over the years have had an influence in determining who we are as a people. I have put together a little collection of photographs culled from my adventures round the Net. Some of them are common to my area, some of them are here because they are too unique to be left out. Either way, sod off now and make a cuppa or grab a beer or go weed the garden.....come back in 5 minutes when they have loaded, they are worth it.
Clint Eastwood gave
us 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' I give you the (in the zoological
vernacular) 'The Good and The Approach with Caution Wearing Thick Gloves,
Stout Boots and While Carrying a Very Long Stick'..
The critters in the genus 'Good' are those which, while bearing fur feather or scales, incite us to make 'ooh, aaah' noises and feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. They are generally spectacular, unique or even worse....cute. Don't look for the KKK (koalas, kookaburras or kangaroos) here, this page is all about avoiding stereotypes like the plague !!
This is a monotreme, a marsupial which lays eggs and then, after
hatching (naturally) suckle their young. There are only two
species of monotreme in the world. This one is called a Platypus.
Platypussies er pusses er pusi...whatever, have a duck bill, webbed feet,
a flat, beaver like tail and waterproof fur. They live
in burrows on river banks and are pretty elusive so you don't get
to see them in the wild all that often.
male (don't quote me on that) has a poisonous spur on the hind foot.
Foxes and wild dogs make a mess of the platypus population, but being an
Aussie, he is a tough little bugger and is so far surviving.
He was once hunted for his pelt but is now protected. I dream
that one day I will see one in the wild, but for now I just make a beeline
for the platypus tank at Taronga Park Zoo whenever I visit.
the platypus, there a lots of these red wattled birds in my area.
I have lots of these raucous little sods in my garden where they feed on
the native plants around my pool. They are getting quite tame
and do not let the fact of me skinny dipping put them off.
They have a loud and varied call which varies from a squawk to a pleasant
warble and they visit mornings and late afternoons. I enjoy
is a Carpet Snake. He is a python so he will not give you a
poisonous bite. At the very worse you will get a long hug from one,
long enough for him to eventually realize you are not prey and slither
off dignity intact. Snakes are protected creatures in Australia
and just about the coolest critter I can think of outside of Dragons.
is the other monotreme. Yep, Australia is host to both species.
This is the Echidna or Spiny Ant Eater. Handsome isn't he.
Again the female lays eggs. These hatch after about two weeks
at which time the young can enjoy milk, distilled from mum's diet
of ants. Hmmmn sounds tasty doesn't it. The male has
a penis worth mentioning in that it is shaped like a shower head with multiple
(seven I think) outlets. An Echidna penis is the most non erotic
thing I have ever seen !!! It was on a bloody documentary,
no I do not go round inspecting monotreme genitalia ..... well OK sometimes,
but only the cute ones !!
is a place on the Great barrier Reef where you can go to hand feed these
magnificent potato cod. If you go to my
Links Page you will be able to visit a site put together by a very interesting guy who (for a fee) will take you there. Even if you can't visit the reef, go have a look it is a good site with many interesting and beautiful underwater photos (some of which I 'borrowed').
Lessee, we have had swimmers with fur, swimmers without fur, slitherers, walkers and flyers..... time for a hopper. Yeah, but I did say no kangaroos right ? Well, this is a Wallaby, a pretty faced Wallaby to be precise and definitely not a stereotype !!
Like kangaroos, the
female wallaby keeps it's young in a pouch on the front of her belly while
the male just lays back and lights up!! Or something like that.
Wallabies are generally smaller than most varieties of kangaroos and when
they have a few beers we call them wobblies. (or was that after I
have had a few beers ??) There are a hell of a lot of varieties of
roo and wobbly out here, we even have ones that climb trees.
don't know about this Rainbow Lorikeet, it is the clearest pic of one I
could find on the net, but to me it looks like a victim of a Taxidermist
(don't get me started on that subject !). We may not have kangaroos hopping
down George Street Sydney but these beautifully coloured squawkers fly
around in our parks. Some people in Sydney are lucky enough
to have Rainbows visit them every day. The birds are attracted
to balconies which offer pieces of fruit, usually apples and pears.
They can become quite tame and close up, they are unbelievably gaudy.
They give a nasty bite too.
Here are some critters from the Approach with Caution (etc) Genus, of which we have a surfeit. Some of these live near me and some are justy out there waiting. The basic rule of thumb to be applied to all critters with a capability of ruining your day is 'dont mess with them'..... There is a certain measure of respect due here as is the case with most of Australia itself, because just when you relax and think nothing is watching you ..... things can go horribly wrong.
of the deadliest spiders in the world, the Funnel Web Spider is native
to my area. Not good news for me. They inhabit
a thin coastal strip of NSW encompassing Newcastle and Sydney and yet I
have never ever put my hand in the wrong place and pulled it out covered
in angry spider, let alone seen on live. This is good because
the venom can stop you breathing in around 15 minutes. A few
people have been bitten by funnel webs, none have been killed since an
anti venene was developed ummmmm .... in the past (don't know when).
Blue Ringed Octopus can be found in rockpools all around our coastline.
They are prettiest when they are agitated, changing to a more vivid colour
if they feel threatened. They are not an agressive beastie
but tend to get cranky if handled, hassled or bored at dinner parties.
There have not been that many fatalities caused by the blue ring
in fact I am pretty sure only two people have been killed by bites.
Like so many highly venomous creatures, this little Octopus is only dangerous
when not approached with caution.
Who does not remember those underwater shots in Jaws ? Remember when the shark attacked the cage ?? Those were filmed at Elizabeth Reef in South Australia. No, this is not Bruce on the Universal Studios tour .... this is real ... a Great White Shark. Approach him with caution only if you must..... find consolation in the fact he has mistaken you for a seal, just before he bites you in half. On a lighter note you will be relieved to know that Great Whites do not frequent my neighbourhood (nor me theirs). Photo courtesy (whether he knows it or not) of Mike Ball's dive page.
Red Bellied Black Snake frequents my neighbourhood. These guys
are venomous but their method of delivering venom is by way of dribbling
it down external grooves on their fangs. This way, not a lot
of venom gets into the bite. The really dangerous snakes have
hollow fangs like hypodermic needles. I nearly stepped on one
about six monts ago. Knowing how inefficient his fangs are
didn't make me feel any less shit scared. I stepped back and
walked away. He slithered off. We had a mutual agreement
thing going. I didn't try and hit him with a stick, he didn't
bite me on the hand. (most snakebite victims get bitten this way).
Later I was glad I saw him..... much later.
Well, thats the Critters
page. We do have others, these are just a sample.
I hope you enjoyed them. Now, please leave via the exits in
a calm, ordered fashion.
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