Backyard Buddies

Crawlies

Caterpillars

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Photo credit: Christopher Watson

Caterpillars

Love them or hate them, caterpillars are an important part of the Australian environment. They can bring joy in the form of the promise of a beautiful butterfly, despair as they devour tender young broccoli plants, or itching and pain as a spitfire caterpillar brushes against your bare skin. Around August, moths and butterflies are busily searching for a safe place to lay their eggs. Some have already produced eggs, so it's a good time t..

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Earthworms

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Photo credit: Schizoform

Earthworms

There are over 1000 species of native worms in Australia and approximately 80 introduced species that are beneficial as well. Earthworms are excellent buddies to have in your garden. They return nutrients to the soil from organic matter such as fallen leaves, vegetable peelings, fruit scraps, hair clippings, and even old paper. These nutrients are important for plants and will greatly enrich the soil in your backyard. They are not..

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Leopard slugs

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Photo credit: Doug Beckers

Leopard slugs

In February you can witness a spectacular event in your backyard. Mating Leopard Slugs must be one of the most bizarre and fascinating displays of animal behaviour you can ever observe. The male and female become entwined and lower themselves from their branch on a thread of mucus to exchange sperm. Then they return to the branch via the mucous thread, eating it as they go. Like all slugs and snails, they are hermaphrodites - they have b..

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Millipedes

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

Millipedes

Millipedes are myriapods, meaning 'many pairs of legs'. They survive over much of the country and evolved from ancestors that were the first creatures to make the move from water to land millions of years ago. Australia is home to approximately 2000 species, most of which are nocturnal. Millipedes are most common in areas with a milder climate and plenty of moisture. They are common under rocks and logs, in leaf litter and soil and un..

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Slaters

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Photo credit: Franco Folini

Slaters

Have you ever lifted a pot plant or scraped back some mulch and found some curious little 'Roley Poley' bugs underneath? These are slaters, also known as Roley Poleys, Pill Bugs, or Wood Lice. Just like worms, slaters are great for your garden as they eat organic matter and return nutrients to the soil. Having a few slaters around will keep your plants happy and healthy. Slaters need moisture and mostly come out at night when the risk of ..

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Snails

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Photo credit: Doug Beckers

Snails

The leaf litter in your garden is perfect for snails who need a moist atmosphere to survive in. Snails can be infuriating when they graze on your newly planted veggie patch. But they also like to feed on dead plant and animal material and fungi. There are over 1000 species of native Australian snails and slugs but most of the snails and slugs we find in our gardens are not natives. Introduced snail species generally arrived accid..

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