The Western Swamp Tortoise is Australia’s most endangered reptile. It has an ancestry that dates back 15-20 million years, but for 113 years this tortoise was thought to be extinct.
This month not for profit organisation Earthwatch are busy chasing volunteers for their expeditions to discover more about the unique and fascinating wildlife of our Cloud Forests here in Queensland…
Escape the sounds of the bustling city as you step into the lush and tranquil tropics on Earthwatch’s Wildlife of the Cloud Forests expedition. The sounds of a bird chorus at dawn and trickling waters of nearby creeks and streams will be your new home, as you immerse yourself in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
An interesting news story caught my eye this week – a group of kids were found playing in a suburban Sydney street with a Red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans). Luckily, a passer by recognised the turtle for what it was, and reported it to NSW DPI.
Having lived in Queensland’s south east for 17 years and providing snake relocation services I’ve heard more than my fair share of supposed ‘taipan’ sightings in properties throughout Brisbane’s western suburbs and Ipswich. Amongst the hundreds of suspected taipans none have ever eventuated in this highly overstated species…until now.
The arrival of spring is not the only reason to celebrate in September, it’s also national biodiversity month.
It provides a chance to celebrate Australia’s magnificent flora, fauna and landscapes; and to promote the conservation of our unique native wildlife.
To wrap up NBM 2011, I thought we’d reflect a bit on what “biodiversity” means in Australia.
Far north QLD never fails to deliver awesome wildlife encounters at any time of the day or night. While spotlighting recently on Cape York I half tripped over a small log while navigating a particularly dense patch of woodland. I shone my torch to the ground to avoid a face plant and realised my ‘log’ had two eyes and an unimpressed look on his face. I had accidently stumbled over Australia’s largest snake, the Scrub Python (Morelia kinghorni).
Dave has come to expect the nightly back and forth of chuk-chuk-chuks as his resident Asian House Geckos (AHG) bark away. And each morning, the light of day reveals their ubiquitous calling card on skirting boards, walls, lampshades and outdoor settings. But as Dave has noticed, there seem to be a few different species at his place. Depending on where you live in the country you are likely to have a mixture of native and introduced gecko housemates.
As an avid gardener Kerry observes many wildlife visitors in her backyard. She often admires the colourful and raucous Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus) bathing and preening in her gutters after rain (which, in Ingham, is a regular occurrence). While Kerry came to expect their daily presence on her roof, someone else was also keeping a close eye on these birds.
You can almost hear the nearby she-oaks beckoning ‘caretta caretta’ as they shift in the warm summer breeze. Sounds quite lyrical doesn’t it? And if you’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing a Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) lay her eggs on a QLD beach it is indeed like poetry in motion.
A group of herpetological enthusiasts have been scouring the sand dunes of arid SA looking for, quite possibly the cutest creature to grace our continent. Let me introduce you to the Pernatty Knob-tailed Gecko (Nephrurus deleani).