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Animals From Down Under October 25, 2006 12:11 PM

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Australia's wildlife is unique, rich and diverse due to the long geological isolation from other continents, which took place over the last 50 million years. Today over 770 species of birds, 283 species of mammals, approximately 750 species of reptiles, over 200 species of frogs and an estimated 225,000 species of invertebrates call Australia home.

About half of the Australian mammals are marsupials. Marsupials are pouched mammals, which are born under-developed and then continue their development in a pouch. Many Australian animals are active at night. This is important as it allows them to conserve water in a country which is hot and dry.

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WOMBATS October 25, 2006 12:07 PM

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? A wombat is a marsupial mammal meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby (which is called a joey) is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch.

 

? Wombats are more closely related to the koala than to any other living marsupial? Both females have pouches that open rearwards (unlike kangaroos) ? Common wombats are solitary and largely nocturnal, sheltering during the day in burrows. Every night, wombats can graze from 3-8 hours and can travel for many kilometres looking for food? Wombats are herbivorous, they mainly eat at night - particularly native grasses and sedges and eating the roots of trees and shrubs? Wombats are large, heavily built marsupials - an adult can weight from 26kg to 40kg. They are usually a metre long from nose to tail and about 35cm high? Wombats live mainly in forest areas but may also be found in woodlands and coastal shrub areas? Wombats are a protected species, there are still some areas particularly in Victoria where they are shot as vermin ? There are three species of Wombats. The most numerous and widespread is the Common Wombat (Vombatus ursinus ). This animal is found from the Queensland/New South Wales border, around the band through to South Australia? The Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus latrifrons) is an dry climate animal and only lives in a few areas of Southern Australia and Western Australia. It is well adapted to it's harsh environment where it must survive without water in high temperatures. The available food tends to be fibrous and low in water and protein. It lives in very large warrens where the atmosphere is cool and humid during the hot daytime. Its body temperature falls to conserve both energy and water? The third species is the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat (Lasiorhinus krefftii) which is considered close to extinction. The fossil record indicates that this animal was once widespread in inland Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. These animals died out in a drought early in the 1900s. This was probably not due to drought alone but to competition from introduced grazing animals such as cattle and sheep. The Wombats have a narrower preference of food species. In 1971 there were only 35 individuals counted, but 1995 there were about 80? Wombats dig very big holes. Their burrows may extend up to 20 or 30m long. They are usually made by digging into a hillside or creek slope. They are dug with the short flattened claws of the strong front legs. The back legs are used to pushed loose earth and rocks out of the way

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WALLAROOS October 25, 2006 12:03 PM

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? The Wallaroo gets it's name because it is half way between a WALLaby and a kangAROO in size? A wallaroo is a marsupial mammal meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby (which is called a joey) is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch. ? The Common Wallaroo has a large black rump it shares in common with all other Wallaroos? The male is distinctly darker in colour in comparison to the female which is very grey in colouration with black markings? Wallaroos graze on grasses, shrubs, chenopods and herbs? A Wallaroo's head and body measure about 55-110cm and their tail is typically 53-90cm? The Wallaroo is a solitary animal, prefering its own company? During the day the Wallaroo sleeps a in shelter, i.e. under a rock on a slope? At night the Wallaroo descends to graze on more level ground? Wallaroos have relatively large ears? In dry spells, the Wallaroo can survive obtaining all necessary water from its food, so long as moisture bearing food is available ? By staying in caves during the day energy is conserved? Wallaroos also breed less when conditions are harsh, and unlike the Kangaroo will stay put and "tough it out" in severe droughts? The infant Wallaroo can stay up to a year in its mothers pouch

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WALLABIES October 25, 2006 12:00 PM

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? Wallabies are marsupials from the islands of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and New GuineaClick here for Wallaby photos!? They are small- to medium-sized kangaroos? There are 30 different types of wallabies that live in many types of habitats, including rocky areas, grasslands, forests and swamps? Wallabies range in size from the size of a rabbit to almost 1.8 m long? The soft, woolly fur can be gray, brown, red or almost black. The belly is lighter? Females (called fliers, or Jill's) have a pouch in which the young live and drink milk? The young is carried in pouch for 37 weeks, then suckled another 9 months? Males (called boomers, or Jack's) are larger than females ? Babies are called joeys ? They have short arms with clawed fingers. strong, legs, and long, four-toed feet with claws ? They can hop and jump with their powerful legs ? These herbivores (plant eaters) eat grass, leaves, and roots ? They swallow their food without chewing it and later regurgitate a cud and chew it? They need very little water; they can go for months without drinking, and they dig their own water wells ? They live in groups of up to 50, each made up of smaller groups of 10 or less

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TASMANIAN DEVILS October 25, 2006 11:57 AM

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? The Tasmanian Devil are large meat-eating marsupials which mainly feeds on carrion and carcasses, including the bones. It also eats small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects - they are often described as scavengers? By 'cleaning up' carcasses, Devils maintain bush and farm which reduces the risk of blowfly strike to sheep by removing food for maggots.? Their large powerful jaws and teeth are noticeable, especially as the jaws have a gape of 120 degrees ? It shelters during the day in hollow logs, crevices and dense vegetation. It is a solitary animal, but not territorial.? The young remain in the pouch for about 15 weeks and continue to suckle until they are about seven months of age? Large males weigh up to 12 kg, and stand about 30 cm high at the shoulder? It looks like a small wolf. Its shape is bear-like with a large powerful head and long bushy tail? Its colour is dark with pale throat, pale patches on sides, and a pale muzzle. Their ears are hairless and pink? It lives in a variety of places such as dense rain forests and open plains. It can live in burrows of dense brush during the day and attack prey at night.? The Tasmanian Devil use to cover all of Australia but now it is limited to the southwest of Tasmania? The Tasmanian Devil is endangered for a number of reasons, one of them is because the farmers believed that it ate large numbers of livestock and poultry. It was exterminated there? Other reasons include that they are often hit by cars as they feed on other road-killed animals. Also the arrival of the Dingo may have caused their extinction on the mainland probably because they would have competed for the same food? Some of the Tasmanian devils have been put in captivity so human and/or other animals can't kill or hurt it? Tasmanian Devils are nocturnal, spending the daytime sleeping in dens made in hollow logs, caves or old burrows made by wombats which they line with grass and leaves? If attacked, adult Tasmanian Devils can use their threatening growls and powerful bite to deter most animals? Young Devils are excellent tree climbers and it is thought that this enables them to escape predators which may include adult Devils? The devil makes a variety of fierce noises, from harsh coughs and snarls to high pitched screeches? The Devil's 'spine-chilling' screeches, black colour, and reputed bad-temper, led the early European settlers to call it The Devil. Despite being a small animal, it can sound and look incredibly fierce? Suprisingly, the screeching gape or yawn that they make is performed more from fear, than from aggression? When distressed, the Tasmanian Devil produced a strong odour

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SUGAR GLIDERS October 25, 2006 11:54 AM

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? The sugar glider is a type of marsupial mammal. This means it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy? Their name came from early bushman who found they liked sweet things like honey and sugar and from their ability to glide between trees? They are silvery blue grey in colour (dark stripe on back)? It is thought that Sugar gliders live for 9 years in their natural habitat, 15 years in captivity? The sugar glider makes a variety of noises ranging from shrill yapping (predator is near), a sharp shriek (when fighting) to a "gurgling chatter" when in their nest? They also have excessive skin (gliding membrane) between the front and rear legs.. By spreading out this membrane they can glide distances of 50 to 100 meters from tree to tree. They use their long bushy tail for stability and steering as well as "tilting" the left or right membrane, and lands successfully on its outstretched feet? Sugar gliders are usually found where there is plenty of rainfall (both cool and tropical climate) in wet and dry forests and woodland, usually with Eucalypt plants surrounding (they feeds on the gum and sap from acacias and eucalyptus as well as eating a range of arboreal insects (insects living off trees))? Sugar Gliders are active at night and during the day sleep in a nest made of leaves in tree-hollows. Usually 7-12 gliders will co-habitat in these nests? Being Marsupials the young remain in a pouch usually for just over 2 months. The pouch is forward facing with two teats, and thus often twins are born. After these first 2 months the young are then left for a further month or so in the nest? They measure about six inches in the body with the same length in the tail? Sugar Gliders are often kept as pets. They adapt well to humans and develop strong relational bonds with their owners. They are communal animals that need and crave attention from you, the owner, or another Sugar Glider? Sugar Gliders have become popular pets in the United States

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SPIDERS (CONTINUED) October 25, 2006 11:46 AM

? They are active hunters, preying upon other types of spiders, and may be found roaming inside houses, especially in warmer weather? Other common spiders include the Common huntsmen, which frequently enter houses at night. They do not build a web, but hunt for insects. They are large, fast moving spiders, but are not considered aggressive? Mouse spiders, which belong to the trapdoor family of spiders, are found throughout mainland Australia. They are aggressive, and will adopt an attacking posture when threatened, rearing up on their hind legs. They have large fangs capable of inflicting a painful and potentially serious bite? The black window spider is usually found building untidy looking webs in the corners of windows, doors and crevices? The brown house spider is a relative of the redback spider, which it resembles in size and body shape, but not in colour. It is often found under furniture or in other dark places inside houses. It is very common in urban gardens? Orb weavers are a diverse group of spiders that build rounded webs, sometimes quite large, to catch nocturnal flying insect prey. Bites may occur when people walk into the webs accidentally? Trapdoor spiders superficially resemble funnel web spiders, but have not been associated with any significant systemic illnesses. The may be bite painful, however, due to the large size of the fangs. Like funnel web spiders, they live in burrows, often with a trapdoor entrance, from which they ambush prey. Also like funnel webs, males leave the burrows to roam in search of a mate, and may enter houses in the autumn for this reason? Wolf spiders do not build webs, but actively hunt their prey of small arthropods. Some live in burrows, while others are free ranging ? Jumping spiders are a diverse group of many different species, some of which may be found in suburban houses and gardens. Their large, forward facing eyes allow them to accurately judge distances as they jump to capture their prey? Bird-eating spiders are amongst the largest spiders found in Australia. These large primitive spiders, native to northern and inland Australia, excavate long burrows from which they emerge at night to ambush prey including spiders, insects, frogs, lizards and sometimes small birds
The White Tailed Spider
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The Red Back Spider
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The Funnel-Web Spider
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The Red Back Spider
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The Funnel-Web Spider
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SPIDERS October 25, 2006 11:41 AM

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? Of all the thousands of Australian spiders, only two have bites which alone are capable of causing death: the funnel-web spider and the red-back spider
Click here for Spider photos!
? The Sydney funnel-web (and a few related atrax species) is the most dangerous spider in Australia ? The Sydney funnel-web is about 6-7 cm long? It is a black spider which looks very aggressive mainly because of its massive fangs? These fangs are large and powerful enough to easily penetrate a fingernail ? It is a slow moving spider that does not jump but lunges when disturbed and aggressively exposing the fangs? The spider firmly grips its victim and bites repeatedly; in most cases the experience is horrific - their venom is highly toxic? The venom of the slightly smaller male spider is five times as toxic as the female? It lives in burrows or crevices in rocks or around house foundations, lining the burrows with silk? Colonies of more than 100 spiders may be found? The Australian Redback or Jockey Spider belongs to a group of spiders known throughout the world as Black Widows (genus Latrodectus)? The adult female red-back spider is about 2-3 cm long? Their body is black with a distinctive red stripe on its abdomen ? The male is much smaller and considered harmless? The bite of this spider is immediately painful? Redbacks occur throughout Australia, but are most common where the natural environment has been disturbed, such as settled or urban areas? White tailed spiders are found in most areas of Australia, and are common in urban dwellings? They are readily identifiable by their cylindrical body shape and the presence of a white or grey spot on the end on their abdomen

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SNAKES October 25, 2006 11:30 AM

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? Only around 10% of Australia's snakes are really, poisonous? There are about 140 species of snakes in Australia ? Here is come information about some common and distinct snakes found in Australia? Bandy Bandy snakes are very distinctive. They are named after the black and white bands around their body and are rarely seen. They grow up to about 54cm? Green Tree Snake vary in colour from black, brown to blue or a pale green/grey. Their underside is usually a lemon colour? The Lake Cronin Snake is very rare and only found in the region of Lake Cronin (in Western Australia). They are known to be toxic, although apparently not lethal to people ? The Northern Brown Tree Snake is distinctively marked and grows up to around 200cm. They are found in northern Australia ? The Pygmy Python only grow up to about 61cm - and are Australia's smallest python, and one of the smallest in the world ? The Southern Death Adder is considered to be at risk of extinction. Its bite is potentially fatal to humans although it is not an aggressive snake ? The Taipan is considered to be the most venomous land snake in the world. Fortunately it is not particularly aggressive, preferring to hide or escape rather than attack. A very small amount of its venom is enough to kill a quarter of a million mice ? Tiger snakes, death adders, copperheads, brown snakes, and red-bellied black snakes are all also highly venomous - they usually stay hidden and will usually only try to bite in self-defense

The Bandy Bandy Snake
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The Northern Brown Tree Snake
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The Taipan
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The Green Tree Snake
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POSSUMS October 25, 2006 11:24 AM

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? Possums are marsupials mammals meaning they carry their babies in their pouch on the outside of their tummy. The baby (which is called a joey) is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch

 

? The possum is the only marsupial that doesn't live only in Australia (they also live in New Guinea and nearby islands)? The common possum gets to be about 50 cm. (20 in.) long, plus a long, hairless tail. They can weigh up to 6.5 kg and have 50 teeth (with very large mouth!)? They are omnivores, eating mostly fruit and insects? Possums move at night and sleep during the day? Possums are a diverse group of mammals (there are 40 species of possums), ranging from tiny gliding possums to large agile climbing brushtails ? The Brushtail Possum is the most familiar of all the Australian possums. They are found in most areas where there are trees, especially open forests and woodlands ? The Brushtail has also adapted to living in urban areas, often making their homes in any dark area, often the space between a ceiling and roof of many buildings, particularly family homes? The Brushtail Possum ranges in colour from dark brown to silver-grey on the back and cream to pale grey on its underside. It has long oval ears, a pink nose and a big bushy tail, brown-black in colour ? The young can spend up to 4-5 months in the mother's pouch, attached to one of the two teats, where it develops quite quickly. 1-2 months are then spent suckling and riding about on the mother's back? Usually after this weaning period, it leaves the mother and makes its own way into the world. Even though possums are at the mercy of being killed by foxes, dogs, humans and bushfires, they are still large in numbers and they are amongst the most familiar and popular Australian mammals

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NUMBATS October 25, 2006 11:21 AM

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? Numbats are pouchless marsupials? Numbats or marsupial anteaters live in Australian forests and deserts ? They are the only living species of the family Myrmecobiidae? They can grow up to 27.5 cm long, plus a 17 cm (7 in.) tail ? They can weigh up to 45 kg.? They have gray, brown, or dull red backs which are crossed by six or seven white stripes? Each animal has unique, individual markings? They have a long, bushy tail which is often carried erect? They have 52 small teeth? Numbats have a pointed snout with a small mouth and a long, sticky tongue that can reach as far as 100mm from the mouth opening? The tongue is used to pick up ants and termites (they are insectivores)? An adult numbat eats about 20,000 termites each day!? Numbats are one of the few marsupials that are diurnal (most active during the day)? At night, they take shelter in hollow logs ? The numbat is hunted by foxes, feral cats (cats that have reverted to the wild), dogs, and birds of prey. The numbat will retreat to a hollow log when a predator threatens ? These solitary, long-tailed termite-eaters are in danger of extinction; very few remain in the wild ? The numbat has a life span of 5-6 years in captivity

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NATIVE CATS October 25, 2006 11:14 AM

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? Native cats are small, furry marsupials that live in the forests of Australia and Tasmania? There are four species of native cats: the chuditch, the quoll, the satanellus, and the tiger cat? All have brown or black fur with white spots? They may weigh more than 4 pounds? Native cats eat insects but also feed on birds, mice, and small lizards? The female native cat normally has five to eight young, which attach themselves firmly to teats within a pouch on her abdomen. The young stay in the pouch for the first seven weeks. The tiger cat is a endangered species ? The chuditch (also known as the Western Quoll) is Western Australia's largest carnivorous marsupial? It feeds mostly on ground-dwelling insects and other invertebrates but will also eat small lizards, birds and mammals ? Its pattern of spots helps to break up its outline in the moonlight ? It's nocturnal - during daytime, it sleeps in a burrow or hollow log ? The quoll is a spectacular example of a large carnivorous marsupial that has declined in numbers whenever it has encountered humans

? The tiger cat, the largest meat-eating marsupial on Australia, grows up to 4 feet long, including tail ? The tiger cat is the second largest of the world's surviving carnivorous marsupials ? Tiger cats live in the forests, woodlands and rainforests of Australia and Tasmania, where there is dense underbrush ? They can be seen searching for food on the beach and occasionally basking in the sun during the day ? Tiger cats shelter in hollow logs, tree limbs, rock crevices and also burrows? The tiger cat eats insects, birds, mice, small reptiles, bandicoots, possums, rats, flying foxes, rabbits, and also fish

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MARSUPAL MOLES October 25, 2006 11:10 AM

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? Marsupial moles are similar in appearance to normal moles, they carry their babies in their pouch on the outside of their tummy. The baby is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch? Marsupial moles are small, burrowing mammals with sensitive snouts, nearly blind eyes (only one mm in diameter), ears hidden under their skin and large claws that they use for digging? Its nose was always held downward? They have fine, velvety fur that can be white or golden red? They range in length from 6-21 cm. and in weight from 10-170 g? In good soil, they can dig as fast as 5.5 m. per hour ? The marsupial mole inhabits the deserts of Australia, particularly in sand-dunes, interdunal flats and sandy soils along river flats? They dig deeper for living quarters. Its sharp feet shovel through the sand and it's head pushes the sand. As soon as they dig these tunnel, they collapse behind the mole ? The mole often feeds while above ground and then retires below to sleep ? Mating occurs during spring. The young are born in 4-6 weeks with 2-5 young in a litter? They usually live about two to four years? They eat insects and worms, eating their own body weight in food every day. They sometimes starve if they go 12 hours without eating? They also never have to drink? Marsupial moles are seldom seen and wildlife biologists are concerned that this species may be seriously declining across its former range

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LYREBIRDS October 25, 2006 11:07 AM

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? The lyrebird is one of the largest perching bird and got its name from the lyre, a musical instrument? They have a small head, long neck, long legs, large feet with long powerful claws and a long tail? Both male and females have brown plumage (feathers)? Females have a long tail, but they barely show signs of the developments found in males? The male is larger than the female and has also a longer tail. The tail consists of 16 lacy plumes, brown above and white below and 2 banded, curved, outer plumes? When the tail of the male is raised during courtship and expanded during display, it gives the appearance of a lyre with the gracefully curved outer plumes forming the framework. This dance is accompanied by elaborate vocalising? Although the bird can fly, it seldom does, as it can run quite quickly? The lyrebird inhabits forests and scrublands, where it feeds on small land animals, mainly insects, worms and crustaceans ? There are two species of lyrebird. The superb lyrebird, about the size of a rooster, is brown above and ash below. It has a long, pointed bill, a longish neck, and large, strong legs and feet with which it runs swiftly. The Albert's lyrebird is smaller ? They are shy and hard to see in their habitat, but have a loud penetrating song and are very good at mimicking the songs of others birds and also the human voice ? The female lays her purplish-grey blotched single egg in a bulky domed nest, usually built on the ground by the female who gets no help from the male ? During the 1800's many lyrebirds were killed for their splendid tail plumes, now however, they are protected by law ? The lyrebird appears on many Australian government seals and on certain stamps

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KUTARDS October 25, 2006 11:03 AM

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? Kultarrs are marsupials meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch

? A kultarr's head and body length ranges from 8 to 11 cm, and the tail is quite long at 10 to 14 cm? Males tend to be larger than females? Their fur is long, soft, grey on top, and white on their stomachs? They have a large number of whiskers on their faces, and some on their wrists as well? Their nose is pointed and their ears are large and oval shaped? They are often nicknamed 'Jumping Pouched Mice' ? Kultarrs like to jump? The kultarr is carnivorous, eating insects, spiders, and lizards? This Jumping Pouched Mouse has about 4 babies at a time? The mother continues to feed her babies until they are about three months old? Kultarrs are terrestrial and nocturnal. They nest in logs, vegetation, or in burrows dug by other animals? They are fast runners, with elongated hind feet that have a large cushioned pad

? They live in a variety of arid habitats, including savannah, grassland, and desert

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KOOKABURRAS October 25, 2006 11:00 AM

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? The kookaburra is the name for four species of birds that live in Australia

? The laughing kookaburra is the largest member of its family and is a stocky bird about 46cm long, weighing approximately 5 kg? They have a big square head and really huge beak? The bird rarely catches fish, living mainly on large insects, lizards, mice, small birds, and an occasional snake? Kookaburras get all the moisture they need from their food; therefore drinking is unnecessary. They build nests in hollow trees or a termite mound, which protects the nest from predators? 2 - 4 pure white eggs are laid in the hollow of a tree. The eggs are laid a day apart, and the incubation time is anywhere from 24 to 26 days ? The young may stay in the family for several years, helping to raise and protect new members to the family ? Kookaburras can live 20 years or more? They live in forests, woodlands and many suburban areas ? The kookaburra has dull plumage (feathers) ? The Kookaburra has a very strange voice. It almost sounds like a person laughing. That's why it is sometimes called a Laughing Kookaburra. They can get really noisy when arguing with each other about who is in someone else's territory

? Kookaburras have an unusual method of parenting. When the young are reared, they tend to stay around the nest and help out the parents with the next clutch. This is unusual, as most birds leave the nest in search of mates and territory at this stage

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KOALAS October 25, 2006 10:55 AM

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? Koalas are often called "koala bears", this is an incorrect term as the koala is not bear, but a marsupial? Being a marsupial mammal means it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy? Koalas are very picky eaters. Their diet consists of leaves of certain eucalyptus trees. They have a special preference for certain species of gum within certain regions? In Australia there are over 600 types of eucalyptus trees? The koala rarely drinks due to the high water content in Eucalyptus leaves ? Koalas were once common in eastern Australia, however the koala population has been severely reduced by hunting and loss of habitat and they are now completely protected ? Koalas have two thumbs on their front paws - to help them climb, to hold onto the tree and to grip their food.? Koalas also communicate with each other by making a noise like a snore and then a belch, known as a "bellow" ? Koala fur is thick and wooly. The colour and pattern of the fur varies between individuals and age? With their fluffy fur and their fluffy ears and general shape, they resemble a cuddly toy ? The life span of a koala is typically between 13-18 years? The closest relative to the koala, is the wombat - which shares some common anatomical features. It is believed that the koala and the wombat shared a common ancestor some 25 million years ago!? Koalas do not have much energy - approximately 20% of their time is spent feeding, and the remaining 80% is spent sleeping!? The female usually produces one young every one to two years, twins are rare? Baby koalas, joeys, are born at less than 2 cm long! They spend their first 5 - 7 months in their mothers pouch? After being nurtured in the pouch, the small koala is then carried on the mothers back for several more months? The joey is usually fully independent at a year old but has the potential to stay with its mother for two to three years. They are fully grown by their third of fourth year? The biggest problem for koalas is that their bushland ( or "habitat" ) is being cut down to make way for houses. Eucalypts ( gumtrees) are both food and homes for the koalas. Although, koalas are protected by law, their homes and food aren't

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KANGAROOS October 25, 2006 10:50 AM

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? A male kangaroo is called a boomer

? A female kangaroo is called a flyer? A baby kangaroo is called a joey ? A kangaroo is a marsupial mammal meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch

? The joey emerges from its mother's pouch after six months, and stays with her for about another three? There are over 40 different types of Kangaroo? The smaller ones are usually called Wallabies? The largest is the Red Kangaroo. It stands taller than a human and can weigh 85 kgs. It is the largest marsupial in the world.

? The Kangaroo moves by hopping on its powerful hind legs. It uses its thick long tail to balance its body while hopping. A kangaroo can hop at up to (40mph). It can also leap over obstacles up to 3m high ? Kangaroos have short front legs and long, powerful hind legs with tendons that act like springs for energy-efficient hopping.

? The long, muscular tail is used as a support when the animal sits or walks, and for balance when it leaps? Because of the unusual shape of its legs and its bulky tail a kangaroo can't walk or move backwards very easily? The kangaroo usually rests in the shade during the day and comes out to eat in the late afternoon and night when its much cooler? They mainly eat grass? It needs very little water to survive. It can survive without drinking for months

? The kangaroo fights by attacking its opponent with its front paws (which have sharp claws) or by kicking them with its powerful hind legs. (Like a boxer)

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FRILLED LIZARDS October 25, 2006 10:45 AM

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? Frilled lizards inhabit Northern Australia

? The frill is also believed to aid in the regulation of body temperature? Frilled lizards are arboreal, spending 90% of their time in trees

? They're about 30 cm, plus the tail (which is around 40cm long) ? They live in tropical to warm temperate dry forests, woodland and savanna woodland ? Land clearing is reducing the area where this reptile is found ? The colour of the lizard matches the land on which it lives, so their colour may differ from region to region ? It is a very difficult animal to see when its frill is completely folded back ? The male is more colourful than the female ? They eat with their frilled back and hunts mostly in trees for insects, but it also descends on the ground to catch other insects and small rodents ? They are not poisonous ? Individual lizards' scales are different colors, depending on where they live ? They reproduce by laying eggs - 8-12 soft-shelled eggs are laid in a clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time) ? The young are left to fend for themselves

? This sun-loving lizard is the reptile emblem of Australia - it used to appear on the two-cent coin

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EMUS October 25, 2006 10:40 AM

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D? An emu is a large, flightless bird which is related to the cassowary and the ostrich ? Other than the ostrich, it is the laragest of all birds, reaching a height of up to 1.8m and weight as much as 60kg? Their plumage (feathers) is dull brown, tending to darken on the head, neck and lighter on the undersides? Their heads though have shorter "downy" feathers, pointy beak, large bright looking eyes and often a blue throat? Emus have extremely long legs with 3 toed feet

? The emu lives on the open plains and bush area. It feeds mainly on roots, fruits and herbs ? It is a peaceful, timid bird that can run at great speed to escape any predators

? The female lays 8-10 dark green eggs, which are sometimes incubated by the male. The eggs will hatch within 60days? There is only one living species of emu: the Dromiceius novaehollandiae ? If endangered, they can defend themselves by kicking and although they can't fly, they can run as fast as 30 miles per hour and they are good swimmers ? Emus are generally nomadic, with some emus roaming over hundreds of miles? Male and females emus look similar, though the female is usually larger, and both have a lifespan up to 6 year? Female Emus make a deep-throated drumming sound using air sacs in their throats whilst the male sound is generally more harsher and "throatier"

? Emus are found throughout Australia from Woods to scrubland to grassland to desert areas but not in Rainforests ? Emus are most vulnerable as eggs or as hatchlings (young). Lizards eat Emu eggs and young emus are hunted by dingoes, eagles, non-native foxes, dogs and cats

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ECHIDNAS October 25, 2006 10:37 AM

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J? Echidnas are also known as spiny ant eaters and are found throughout Australia and New Guinea ? Their strong bodies are covered with a browny/blacky coat which is covered with light colour, coarse, hairy spines? They also have short legs, but long, heavy claws which are used to dig up ants, termites and worms (they are carnivores) ? Echidna tongues are 15-18 centimeteres long. They can shoot out of the tiny mouth with lightening speed and be bent in U-shapes to follow ant tunnels. The Echidna has no teeth, food is ground up with special hard pads on the pack of the tongue and top of the mouth ? Echidnas live in some areas where there is no water available at least part of the year, and it is a mystery how they get their water! It has been calculated that it might be possible for echidnas to get the minimum water they need from their food. Echidnas have also been observed to use a common trick of desert animals, namely licking the early morning dew from plants? They have small ears and have long snouts, which are used for poking into holes and turning over rocks to search for termites and ants. They use their long and sticky tongues to gather up their prey ? Echidnas can get to be 50 cm. and can weigh 6.5 kg ? Like the platypus, an echidna is a monotreme (i.e. an egg laying mammal). The female lays a single egg, which is deposited into a pouch on the mothers belly ? The egg hatchs within ten days and for the next six weeks, the newborn is fed on the mother's milk. Shortly after, the young echidna leaves the pouch, but the mother watches over it, until it can look after itself and develops a spine? The average life span for an echidna is over 50 years. Humans are the only longer living mammal

? Echidnas are famous for their method of escaping danger. While echidnas do not build borrows to live in (except for the raising of young), they are excellent diggers. If caught in an exposed position, an echdinas will dig very rapidly straight down. In seconds, all that is showing is a small tuft of spines along the back

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DUNNARTS October 25, 2006 10:33 AM

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? Dunnarts are a marsupial mammal meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch? There are ten species of dunnart, including the common dunnart, white-footed dunnart, the Darling Downs dunnart and the fat-tailed dunnart ? They are called the marsupial mouse and are usually 10 to 16 cm. long ? Dunnarts are fearless and will protect themselves if they are scared or threatened ? They all have litters of up to 10 babies about 3 to 4 times a year. Four to ten little young are carried in their mothers pouch for about five weeks ? They live in Australia and New Guinea

? These marsupial mice live in deserts and rainforests and eat grasshopppers, spiders, lizards, mice and small animals

? The fat-tailed dunnart is the smallest and has soft, fine, gray or black fur. They also have large ears and thick tails with short, stiff hairs ? The dunnart stores all its fat in its tail ? They usually move about by running smoothly on all four legs sometimes with sudden short stops, during which they often squat with the forebody slightly elevated ? They nest in hollows in the sand, between rocks and stones, or in tree trunks

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PLATYPUS October 25, 2006 10:29 AM

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? The duckbill platypus is a semi aquatic egg-laying mammal native to Tasmania and southern and eastern Australia ? The animal belong to the order Monotremata, the most primitive group of living mammals. The only other member of this group is the echidna, or spiny anteater ? The animal has a bill that resembles a duck bill but is actually an elongated snout covered with soft moist leathery skin and sensitive nerve endings? The bill is used for detecting prey and stirring up mud at the bottom of rivers in order to uncover the insects, worms, and shellfish which it eats. Duckbills have no teeth? Prey is taken up by the beak and transferred to the cheek pouches ? They may eat half its own body-weight of food in the course of a single night!? The body of the platypus is 30 to 45cm long, the flattened tail measures 10 to 15cm in length? Their five-toed feet are webbed ? The heel of the male bears a hollow spur connected to a poison-secreting gland; this can be injected into other animals by erection of the spur. In man the venom only causes agonizing pain, but it can be deadly to a smaller animal ? The body and tail are covered with thick soft wooly layer of fur from which long flat hairs protrude? The platypus eyes are small, and it has no external ears, but it has keen senses of sight and hearing ? They are shy animals and are seldom seen, even in areas where they live ? Platypus's have been recorded making noises ranging from "a growl of a puppy to the noise of a broody hen." ? They are active only during the early morning and late evening ? They live in long winding burrows that are usually dug by the females in the banks of rivers or streams. At the end of the burrow, which may be from about 9 to 18m in length, the female constructs a bed of weeds, leaves and grass, which it uses as a nest for the eggs and young? The female lays usually two but sometimes as many as four white eggs in a clutch ? They hatch in about eight to ten days and nurse for about 5 months ? The young animals have no fur when they hatch ? The female uses it's tail to grab the young to its abdomen enabling them to nurse ? The average life span in about 10 - 17 years

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DINGOS October 25, 2006 10:23 AM

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The Dingo evolved from the wolf around 6,000 years ago. They are not truly native to Australia but are thought to have arrived between 3500 - 4000 years ago Click here for Dingo photos!? The Dingo is a member of a group of primitive dogs characterised by short coats, erect ears, characteristic skull shape and teeth and, most importantly an annual breeding cycle. It is a medium built, elegant and active dog of great nimbleness and agility ? It is usually ginger in colour with white points, but can be black with tan points or even white ? Unlike domestic dogs, which breed twice a year the dingo only breeds once a year? Pure dingoes are becoming rare in some areas due to interbreeding with domestic dogs

? The Dingo is commonly found throughout Australia in all habitats, but is not found in Tasmania? Dingoes are mainly carnivorous, but will eat a wide variety of foods including plant material and insects? They are highly intelligent, strong and affectionate? They are strongly territorial and form lifetime bonds with family, either Dingo or human? Cat-like in their agility, Dingoes use their paws like hands, and like to survey their surroundings from a height

? Although they seldom bark, Dingoes have a wide variety of vocalisations from melodious singing (howling), to the high pitched yodel, yelp, crow and purr

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CUSCUS October 25, 2006 10:17 AM

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? The cuscus is a marsupial meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch

 

? The cuscus ranges from about 6 to 26 inches long? They weigh around 1-4 kilograms? Cuscuses have dense, woolly fur and long tails, which are 17 to 24 inches long? They are arboreal animals. This means that they are adapted for living or moving around in trees ? Their dense fur is usually shades of orange, brown, and white? The cuscus will eat fruit, leaves, nectar, insects, and sometimes small birds

They live in hollow trees ? The cuscus lives in extreme northern Australia? They are nocturnal animals? Cuscus have very small ears but very big eyes ? Their diet is made up of primarily leaves and fruit? They have five toes on each foot, four of which have large claws ? Their life span ranges from 3-11 years ? Although the cuscus have few enemies, if it does fight, it will attack using its front paws. It can scare an unwanted visitor away with its loud bark? The spotted cuscus is the most popular species of cuscus. They are mostly white with dark brown or black shades towards the back, with mahogany-like colored legs L  [ send green star]
 
CASSPWARIES October 25, 2006 10:10 AM

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F? Cassowaries are a large flightless bird belonging to the "Ratite" family ? There are 3 species of which the "Southern Cassowary" is found in North Queensland Australia? Normally Cassowaries are very shy but when cornered can lash out dangerously with their claws? There are thought to be around 1500-3000 individuals, though some sources claim up to 10,000. About 40 Cassowaries are kept in captivity in Australia? In Australia this large ratite is confined to rainforests and associated habitats in northern Queensland? The main reason for decline in the southern Cassowary population has been clearance of the rainforests. Clearance for agriculture has virtually ceased but continues for residential and tourist development? Adult Cassowaries are occasionally shot, though this is illegal? The skin on their heads are pale blue, becoming darker down neck. There is also some red skin on the neck too? Their body is black and is covered with coarse, hair-like feathers

D? The cassowary is the only bird in the world to have any type of protective armour: they bare a grey, helmet which protects the birds head as it makes its swift way through the thich undergrowth of the rainforest? The female Cassowary slightly larger and more brightly coloured and more dominate (up to 1.75 m in length)? Although the Cassowary is a flightless bird, it is a very good swimmer? The Cassowary eats fleshy fruit, most of which is picked up from the ground? High variation in fruit production both between seasons and between years appears to cause movements of parts of the Cassowary population? The seeds of the fruit that they eat is secreted undamaged thus the bird has an important role in the dispersal of rainforest seeds? They can also eat small dead marsupials and birds? The female Cassowary lays 3 to 6 large pale green eggs on forest litter and may be served by a number of males during the breeding season? Egg are laid, which the male Cassowary incubates the Eggs for about 2 months then takes care of the young until they reach the age of 9 months  [ send green star]
 
BROLGAS October 25, 2006 10:05 AM

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? A brolga is an Australian crane, also known as "Native Companions"? It is one of two types of cranes found in Australia, the other being the Sarus Crane? The Brolga is a tall and slender bird. They have very long legs and a slender neck, both of which are mainly grey? Their heads are bare with a red patch of skin behind the eye running around the back of the head? Once fully grown, their feathers are also grey? They grow to around 1 meter tall and their wingspan is 2 meters? Brolgas are normally found in large noisy flocks (sometimes 1,000 or more). These flocks meet in fresh water swampy grasslands? The Brolga is found mostly in the tropical north or in the east of AustraliaF? It is hard to estimate numbers in Australia but it is said to range between 20,000 and 100,000? Brolgas eat grass, roots, insects, frogs, and lizards - the Brolga looks for food during daylight hours? Brolgas are most famous for their elegant, graceful mating dance. A couple will spread their large wings whilst facing each other and jump, dance and shake their heads!! At the same time they will often make loud trumpeting calls? The young when born are active within 2 - 3 hours. They will remain with their parents for about a year? Many brolgas are lost due to the following main threats: loss of wetland habitats, red foxes and incidental poisoning? There is an Aboriginal legend that says girls who do too much dancing and not enough working, are changed into brolgas. (Since brolgas are like to dance a lot!)? The Aborigines copied the brolgas' dance and did it themselves

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Animals From Down Under October 25, 2006 10:00 AM

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z? Bandicoots are marsupials meaning it carries its baby in its pouch on the outside of its tummy. The baby is born really tiny and crawls into its mother's pouch. The joey lives in its mother's pouch till its quite large. Even when it's quite large it still drinks milk from a teat in its mother's pouch? They live primarily in Australia and New Guinea, but are also native to Papua, Indonesia and Tasmania? The bandicoot ranges from about 15 to 56 centimeters long and weigh under 9 kilograms? Most species of bandicoot have long noses? Bandicoots fight with their hind legs and only bite if they have to (they have sharp teeth)? Bandicoots are very territorial and will attack other bandicoots that intrude on their territory

? They use their clawed hind legs for hopping and grooming. Their second and third toes are attached together.

d? Bandicoots have humped backs and thin tails ? When moving fast, the bandicoot bounds and gallops? Bandicoots' fur is orange, gray, brown, and sometimes striped? Many species of bandicoot are either rare or extinct? They live in forests and other areas densely populated with plants. This marsupial is usually nocturnal and hides in hollow logs, nests or crevices? They eat insects, small animals, and plants? Bandicoots are noted for their remarkable breeding biology. They have one of the highest breeding rates of any animal of their size. Their gestation period (the time from conception to birth) is the shortest recorded for any mammal -- 12 days!? Up to six babies are carried in a rear opening pouch, then weaned at around 9 months

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