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Rainbow lorikeets are the ‘clowns of the bird world’, and with their bright multi-coloured feathers they are aptly named. They tend to roost in large groups and can be seen just on dusk arriving by the hundreds at their favourite roosting place, usually in tall eucalypts.
These colourful birds can be seen almost anywhere along the east coast of Australia. Unlike most other birds, it doesn’t eat seeds, which can be bad for them. Instead it uses its bristle brush tongue to get sweet sticky nectar and pollen from deep down in the bottom of native flowers.
Rainbow lorikeet behaviour is quite comical at times, especially at mating time, when the male tries to impress the female with a display of bobbing, bowing and prancing.
It would be pretty alarming to wake up to find a fur seal in your backyard, but they are our ocean buddies. The Australian fur seal is the most common seal in Tasmanian waters: however, it is the fourth rarest seal species in the world.
They live around Bass Strait, Tasmania, southern Victoria and southern South Australia but can venture as far north as NSW. They spend most of their time in the sea and come ashore to breed on rocky islands and beaches.
Fur seals are excellent swimmers but they can also get around out of the water by raising the front of their body onto their front flippers. The males and females are physically quite different although they all have big heads, pointy faces with big eyes and long whiskers and very sharp teeth, like a dogs. A thick layer of fat helps them keep warm in the frigid ocean.
The males are larger than the females and can weigh up to 350kg. Males are usually brown or dark grey and have a coarse mane on their neck and shoulders. Females weigh up to 120kg and are more slender and a slivery grey colour with a brown underside.
Fur seals have a dense coat of two layers – a wool-like underfur and long, coarse outer hairs. This double layer traps air which waterproofs and insulates the seal. All seals moult each year, replacing their old fur with new growth.
After rain on a hot day, the Green Tree Frog will emerge. You may find them in your house, your water tank, your drainpipe, toilet, pool, or even mail box, in search of a cool moist spot.
The rain brings Australian native frog species out in droves - and if you don't see a Green Tree Frog, you may hear them. Green Tree Frogs love to get into downpipes and tanks during the mating season in spring and summer. These locations act like a microphone to increase the volume of their low, slow 'brawk, brawk, brawk' call.
Your outside lights attract the frog's favourite food - bugs. Green Tree Frogs are a great garden helper. They eat moths and other insects, as well as spiders, mice and other small animals. They catch their food in their strong jaws and use a hand to force it down.
Green Tree Frogs are very docile amphibians that love to climb. They are well equipped for it, using the large gripping pads on their fingers and toes to scale smooth, vertical surfaces. They can even climb directly up glass.
Humpback Whales are highly social and intelligent mammals. At 14 to 18 metres long and nearly 40 tonnes, they are the fifth largest animal on earth. They breathe air, have hair on their bodies,and give birth to live young which suckle from their mothers.
Humpbacks are renowned for long distance travel and are a regular sight close to shore in Australian waters, along the east and west coasts, as they reach their breeding areas from May to August.
Koalas might look like a bear and have the nickname 'Koala bear', but they are marsupials.
The closest living relative to the Koala is the wombat. Newborn Koalas are so little they could fit on your thumbnail. Koala joeys stay in their mother's pouch for about seven months.
Koalas are perfectly built for climbing trees. They have rough paw pads with sharp claws which help them grip tree trunks and branches.
Koalas live in eucalypt forests in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. Koalas are fussy eaters, eating only a few types of eucalypt
leaves. They eat up to one kilogram of leaves each day.
Little Penguins are also called fairy penguins. They are the smallest type of penguin in the world.
They weigh just 1 kg and are only 30–40 cm tall. While excellent swimmers, they cannot fly.
Often they have the same mate for life. Both parents feed and care for the young, who leave the nest at 7–9 weeks and live for up to 7 years.
There is a colony of Little Penguins living in the middle of Sydney – at Manly.
Little Penguins come ashore to breed, raise chicks and moult. They nest in burrows or among rocks on the harbour foreshores at Manly – sometimes even in people’s backyards or under houses.
You can see them from a boat or the Manly ferry as they swim and fish around the harbour. You may even see them at the beach. And, if you’re quiet, you may hear them calling with a short sharp bark – or even making growling noises.
Sugar Gliders live in the trees and glide between them using flaps of skin between their front and back legs. These small marsupials live in eastern and northern Australia and nest in tree hollows or nest boxes. Adults can weigh as little as 150 grams. They are grey to brown with a prominent dark stripe over their foreheads, and have prehensile tails which they use to grip on to branches.
Sugar gliders especially like forests with an understory of acacia, the sap of which they devour. They also eat acacia seeds, nectar, pollen and invertebrates. Unlike some larger gliders, sugar gliders are able to live in relatively small areas of fragmented forest. They may be living in a remnant forest in your area but with the destruction of so many forests, many sugar gliders are losing their homes. Putting up a nest box for them can be a big help.
Tree kangaroos really are kangaroos that live in trees. They are marsupials and macropods and are the largest tree-dwelling mammal in Australia.
In Australia, they live in far north Queensland. Other tree kangaroo species live in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. The two Australian species are the Lumholtz's and the Bennett’s tree kangaroo.
They do look like kangaroos but have shorter legs, strong forearms and very long tails. Their feet have long curved claws and spongy soles for gripping and climbing.
Tree kangaroos generally feed on leaves and foliage but will also eat fruits and flowers from native trees in the rainforest where they live. You will be lucky to spot one in the wild as they spend most of their lives in the high treetops. The best way to spot one is to look up and across the tree canopy in late afternoon after a light rain – they often move to the edges of a branch to catch a drying breeze.
The Quokka is a type of small wallaby. It has thick greyish brown fur with lighter brown under surfaces. It has a brown face, short rounded ears, black
eyes and a black nose. Its feet, paws and short tail are brown. The males are bigger than the females.
The Quokka bounds and hops along the ground although it can climb trees if it needs to. It will sit on its hind legs to look around and will also use its
front paws to search for and pick up food. It is the only mammal which is native to Rottnest Island and can be found almost everywhere on the Island.
It is mainly nocturnal. This means that it is mostly active at night, preferring to rest or sleep in the shade during the day.