We are fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful wildlife here in McDowall and northern Brisbane and often have wildlife patients brought to us for care. Several of our nurses have an interest in wildlife. Nurse Ashlee has compiled a few interesting wildlife facts for you to enjoy!
– You are very unlikely to see a wild Common Wombat in QLD
Everybody knows and loves our cuddly wombats; but did you know their habitat does not really extend up to Queensland? Apart from maybe a few small populations of Common Wombat near the NSW border, the only wombats present in QLD are the northern hairy-nosed wombats. These guys are a critically endangered species. Did you also know that wombats have cube-shaped poo?
– Australia is the only place where all subclasses of mammal can be found – marsupials, placental mammals and monotremes
Monotremes lay eggs, marsupials are born in an embryonic form and spend time developing in a pouch, and placental mammals are born fully formed. However, all of them have hair and produce milk to feed their young, making them all a type of mammal.
– Most Australian mammals are nocturnal or crepuscular – meaning most are active during dawn and dusk.
– Bats are important pollinators
We have both megabats and microbats in Australia. You may be more familiar with the megabats – also known as flying foxes or fruit bats. These animals play an important ecological role in dispersing the pollen and fruit of native trees. This makes bats very important part of the survival of our native species that rely on these trees, such as Koalas.
– Marsupials have double claws on their hind feet
Also known as syndactyly, the second and third digits of the hind foot of many of our marsupials are fused. This adaptation helps them with climbing and grooming.
– Dugongs are the only herbivorous marine mammal If you’re very lucky you may have seen some of these around the Queensland coastline, feeding on seagrass. Did you know they may live for up to 73 years?
– Bird feathers are modified scales
Birds are more closely related to reptiles than to mammals. They lay eggs and their feathers are made of the same material that scales are made from. This is why some people refer to them as tiny dinosaurs! One difference though is their development of thin and hollow bones, which makes them light in weight and this helps them to fly.
– Australia has 8 out of the world’s 10 deadliest snakes
Although we do have an impressive tally of dangerous snakes, most people do not regularly encounter them. To put it in perspective, we have 130 species of snakes in Australia, and most are harmless. Regardless, it is best to assume every snake you see is venomous and leave it alone.
– Male Emu’s incubate the eggs and care for the chicks
The emu is the second largest living bird. The males will incubate the eggs without leaving the nest at all – this means no eating, drinking or defecating for up to 55 days! The babies will stay with dad for 4-6 months and are dark brown with cream stripes.
– Embryonic diapause
Some marsupials such as Kangaroos can ‘pause’ their pregnancy until conditions are more favourable, or until another joey has grown. This makes it possible for a female kangaroo to be pregnant while she still has a baby in the pouch.
We are so lucky to have these wonderful species to share our “backyard” with. Keep an eye out for our beautiful native wildlife and hopefully by learning more about their habitats and behaviours we can help them to flourish.