- Travel and Places
Cuddly and Creepy Australians
Up close and personal with Australian Wildlife
Have you ever cuddled a koala?
They're warm, furry and they smell beautiful!
Plenty of other animals can be cuddly too, or at least look cuddly, like this Tasmanian Devil who, besides being a bit on the nose, has extremely strong teeth and jaws.
Australian animals have spent a long, long time separated from the rest of the world - on a life raft as it were - evolving in isolation for roughly 45 million years. Being so long separated from the rest of the large land masses allowed different evolutionary paths, and the Marsupials took the front seat.
There are all sorts of creatures in Australia, like mammals which lay eggs.
Some are cuddly and some are creepy. Come and meet a few.
Wombling Wombat - Definitely Cuddly
Wombats spend between three and eight hours each night grazing on their favourite food like this little fellow.
They feed on native grasses such as wallaby, and kangaroo, grasses and also eat sedges, and the roots of shrubs and trees. They can wonble around for about 3 km a night looking for dinner.
They chomp through their food with sharp, chisel-like front teeth which grow continuously.
Wombats have been pushed into the scrub, into the rugged hills and mountains, far away from pesky people. They're endangered now, and are protected. I had a wombat living up at the back of my house some years ago but we lost her to bushfire.
Georgina the Wombat
A little Soft Toy Wombat friend from Australia. She's much happier in cooler weather and a real snuggler, very lifelike and a wonderful addition to any collection of international animal toys.
Angelic Tasmanian Devil - Almost cuddly
Curious and energetic, Tasmanian devils travel up to 16 km - 10 miles looking for food. They are carrion eaters, scavenging anything that comes their way, plus hunting any small mammals and birds. They are nocturnal hunters, with a keen sense of smell and hearing.
By day they shelter in caves, bushes, old wombat burrows, or hollow logs. As they amble along with their stocky bodies and large heads, Tasmanian devils look slow and awkward in their movements, but they'e the top carnivore in Tasmania!
- Save the Tasmanian Devil
There has been a 64 per cent decline in Devil sightings since a dreadful disease, Devil Facial Tumour Disease, appeared a few years back. Foxes (an introduced species) are also multiplying rapidly and the poor little Devil faces a very uncertain futu
- Taz the Tasmanian Devil
Taz, from Looney Tunes shares the voracious appetite and 'crazy' behaviour of the real marsupial - but that's all!
Din of the Devils
If you think Tasmanian Devils look weird, just wait till you hear the noises they make!
Definitely creepy in the night!
Playing Possum - Cuddly to be sure
Their names may sound similar but the 60+ "Opossums" from South America and the 20+ "Possums" from Australia are very different. They aren't closely related biologically. Australian possums have been separated by more than 70 million years.
In Australia, possums are almost a national treasure. They'e protected under the provisions of various State laws.
It's quite common to have a possum or two hanging out in your backyard. I live backing onto a creek and any night of the week when I turn on my outside light, lots of little eyes blink at me. My only anxiety is that they will chew my computer cable!
Possums on Video
Dot and the Kangaroo - A Classic for Children
It's hard to remember that Ethel Pedley wrote this book in 1889 and began it with this preface
To the children of Australia
in the hope of enlisting their sympathies
for the many beautiful, amiable, and frolicsome creatures
of their fair land,
whose extinction, through ruthless destruction,
is being surely accomplished
A very enjoyable story about friendship, and the fascinating cuddly creatures of Australia.
It teaches us that if we take the time to listen, animals speak and share their wisdom, a lovely movie to watch with your children.
Charming songs and cute animals, a little girl lost who is rescued by a kangaroo, an irate platypus, a kookaburra , dancing brolgas and some mean dingoes.
Sleepy Koala - Another Cuddly
Once numbering in the millions, koalas suffered major declines in population during the 1920s when they were hunted for their fur. Today, habitat destruction, traffic deaths, and attacks by dogs kill an estimated 4,000 koalas yearly.
Poll : Pick a Pet - What's your choice?
If you could have one of these little creatures for a pet, which one would you prefer?
Which pet for you?
Crocodile Smile - Definitely Creepy
The Saltwater Crocodile is the world's largest reptile.
These amazing creatures are found on the northern coast of Australia and inland for up to 100 kms or more. You see plenty of big crocs in Kakadu where some have been measured as long as 7 metres but the average size of a Saltie is 4 metres long.
The crocodile is now a protected species in Australia, however if human danger is a factor, the crocodile will be moved away from possible contact.
Creepy Carpet Python
Carpet pythons are found in New Guinea as well as northwestern Western Australia and in the Northern Territory
They aren't venomous, they kill by constriction many different birds and mammals including brush-tailed possums. They eat vermin too.
Another definitely creepy
Great White Shark - Very, very, creepy
The Great White is found in temperate waters throughout the world's oceans. In Australia, many shark species are listed as threatened and the Great White is listed as "vulnerable".
Shark attacks on people are rare, but if a shark takes a bite at you, it's pretty sure to be fatal.
Avoid attacks by
* Not swimming or surfing where sharks are known to congregate.
* Always swimming or surfing with other people.
* Not swimming with pets and domestic animals
If schooling fish start to behave erratically or congregate in large numbers, get out of the water!