Tag Archives: echidna

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Mrs. Todd and her Roadrunners are looking at Outback Australia. This is a post about an Outback journey I organised for parents and children from a school back in 1985. It's hard to believe those students would now be about 40 years old.

In this post, some video clips I had taken back in 1985 as my group travelled to Uluru and back have been shared. They have been converted from VHS tapes to digital and are being shared for the first time. 

The Australian Outback

I don't know exactly where The Outback is said to start but I've always understood it to be the more isolated, arid (desert-like) areas across the centre of Australia. Most Australians live in coastal areas although there are larger communities in some Outback areas including traditional land owners, miners and graziers (cattle ranchers).

Let's look at a satellite photo of Australia Wikimedia lists as NASA sourced and in the public domain...

This image was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it has bee sourced from NASA and is listed in the public domain. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Australia_satellite_plane.jpg

This image was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it has bee sourced from NASA and is listed in the public domain. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Australia_satellite_plane.jpg

If you look at this photo you can see green areas are mostly coastal whereas from the west (left on the photo) to most of the way east you see reds, browns and even white. The white areas, especially the very white areas are not snow. They tend to be salt lakes and high salt areas only filling with water when there are very heavy rains in Queensland. Once the water reaches the lakes, it has nowhere to go as the lakes lie below sea level. The water evaporates and leaves the salt behind.

Let's look at the journey my group took back in 1985. I was the tour organiser and minibus driver on our two week, 7000+km (4350+mi) journey into The Outback and back .

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We started out in Sydney, the capital of the state on New South Wales and headed west then turned north to spend our first night in an isolated school where I had worked in the early 80s.

The school, Marra Creek Public School, is about 670km (415mi) from Sydney and lies 100km (62mi) from the nearest town of Nyngan. It served children from local sheep and cattle properties. I stayed at a neighbouring shearer's house about 20km (13mi) from the school.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Was the school in The Outback? It was isolated, used water from tanks, had a phone where you had to talk to an operator to be connected, and only sometimes could pick up one television station if the conditions were good. I sometimes had to chase emus and kangaroos or even wild pigs out of the playground.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

A video clip of emus in an animal sanctuary close to my home.

 

And some kangaroos from the same sanctuary.

 

When I first started there we had been in drought and the water tanks were low, temperatures at times reached 47C (116F). With rains, the clay pans turned green with grass and roads became muddy. We didn't have snow days but we did have mud days when half of the students couldn't make it along the dirt roads. We didn't build mud men. Snow seems to work better and is cleaner.

Heading across country, we visited the town of Bourke most would consider an outback town. It lies along the Darling River, a river sometimes drying out if rains don't fall in Queensland and can also flood when heavy rainfall comes. On our trip, rainfall in the outback had been unusually good but still low compared to coastal.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Not too far north of Bourke, we crossed into the state of Queensland. You can see in the photo below just how flat and semi-arid (almost desert) much of inland Australia can be.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Heading north, we were heading towards the town of Longreach. The landscape had dried out.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Stopping for the night, we were entertained by brolgas, the only cranes native to Australia. While at Marra Creek Public School, I had watched brolgas "dancing" their mating dance as they made jumps into the air.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The video clip below isn't one of mine but shows the dance of the brolgas.

Just north of Longreach, we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. This means we were now in the tropical region of the world.

Near Longreach we saw an echidna on the side of the road. Echidnas and the platypus are the world's only living mammals that lay eggs but, as they are mammals, the mothers can give milk to their young. Echidnas are also found around my town and have sometimes visited my garden in search of ants.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Below is a video of an echidna taken at an animal sanctuary near my home.

Our next major settlement was Mount Isa (pictured below), a mining town in western Queensland. Lead, silver, copper and zinc are mined in the Mount Isa area.

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You can easily see the red of the soil, a soil colour so common in The Outback.

From Mt. Isa, we head west to the border with Northern Territory. The photo below was taken standing in the state of Northern Territory looking into Queensland.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Reaching the Stuart Highway, a highway running from Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia, in the south to Darwin, Northern Territory's capital, in the north, we took a left turn because we had reached as far north as we were going on this journey.

Passing through the town of Tennant Creek,  our next major attraction was Karlu Karlu (known also as the Devil's Marbles) 105km (65mi) south of Tennant Creek. Here are some photos taken at Karlu Karlu.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

That's not me pretending to hold up the rock.

The video clip below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.

Karlu Karlu is a sacred site to the Alyawarre (Aboriginal) whose country includes the site. It's also sacred to the Kaytetye, Warumungu and Warlpiri people. There are a number of traditional Dreaming stories for the Karlu Karlu area but only a few are able to be shared with uninitiated people such as us.

From Karlu Karlu, we continued south towards Alice Springs. As we travelled, we again crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, this time heading out of the tropics. Someone with a sense of humour had painted words on the road (not us).

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Alice Springs is the largest town in Central Australia and the third largest in Northern Territory. Central Australia is only a name for the area and is not a state. To the local people, the Arrernte, the Alice Springs area is known as Mparntwe.

On our visit, we managed to see a rare rainbow over Alice Springs.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Alice Springs lies within the MacDonnell Ranges. There are so many beautiful places to visit in this arid area. Here are just two...

Standley Chasm

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The video clip of Standley Chasm below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.

 

Simpsons Gap (it was late in the day)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The video clip of Simpsons Gap below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.

The video clip of black-footed rock wallabies below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time. The rock wallabies were our companions as we explored Simpsons Gap.

After leaving Alice Springs, we took time for a camel ride. Camels aren't native to Australia but were brought here by Afghan camel herders in the 1800s. Before roads and railways, all supplies had to be brought in by camel trains. When road and rail arrived, many camels were released into the wild. Australia now is the country with the largest number of wild camels in the world and at times exports camels back to the Middle East.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The video clip of camel riding below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time.

We were heading to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Along the arid way, we saw Mount Conner standing high above the desert.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Tourists to Central Australia shouldn't miss a chance to see  Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Here are some photos I had taken.

Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) at sunset

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) at sunset

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) up close

You can get an idea of its size by looking at the people climbing it.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

And a view from almost the top of Uluru

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Since my visit 30 years ago, visitors have become much more aware of the importance of Uluru to the local people. While they don't stop visitors climbing the rock, many visitors now choose not to climb in respect for the beliefs of the local people.

The video clip of an Uluru sunset below was taken on the 1985 trip and has been converted to digital and shared for the first time. It is running at 20x normal speed.

Around the base of Uluru, there are many sacred sites we are asked to respect. Some are sacred men's sites and some sacred women's sites.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

However, there are sites visitors can see. Here is a photo taken at one such site, Mutitjula (Maggie Springs). You can see some of the rock paintings.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

From Uluru, it is possible to see the distant Kata Tjuta rising from the desert plain.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Back in our mini-bus, we headed along the dirt road to Kata Tjuta.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

On leaving Uluru and Kata Tjuta, we rejoined the Stuart Highway and again headed south crossing the state border into South Australia.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Our next stop would be Coober Pedy, famous for its opal mined in the area. Because of the high temperatures on summer days, some homes in Coober Pedy have been built underground.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Heading further south, we started to see salt lakes near the road. As they are lower than the distant sea, water entering can't flow out. The water evaporates and leaves the salt behind. You can see a late afternoon photo of a salt lake.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

There were many kilometres of flat roads as we continued south.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

On reaching Port Augusta in South Australia, we headed east and back to Sydney. We had travelled over 7000+km (4350+mi) in our journey through The Outback.

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To see the Battalion Bloggers post...

A Surprise Package Inspires Action!

Hello Battalion Bloggers,

I am sorry I have been mostly off line since the beginning of the year. The New Year is normally slow for me but this year has been very busy. I am trying to catch up a little now in between tasks.

One of Australia’s two major supermarket chains had a promotional idea. They decided to release animal cards children (including big ones like me) could collect. With the success of the first series on “grown up” animals, they ran a new very cute series on baby animals. I set to work and managed to collect three sets with the help of local staff and then had to decide where they should go. Australian children didn’t need them because they could get their own so two sets headed to Canada and one to USA.

I can see by your bar graph, some animals caught your interest more than others. I know I have favourites I like to photograph but my favourites are usually what I am photographing at that time.

Your comments…

TREE ANIMALS

Ethan – Flying foxes are very common in many areas of Australia (click Australia to see a map) and Asia. Sometimes at night I have been in my backyard and heard the flying foxes squabbling in a neighbour’s fruit tree. They are also found in cities. I know of colonies in Sydney. Bats are fascinating. I have even encountered bats (not fruit bats) when I tried some spelunking (cave exploring).

Now a less pleasant fact...

Some wild flying foxes and other bats have been found to have a problem for humans. They can carry a virus known as lyssavirus and so shouldn’t be handled as infection could be fatal if untreated. Lyssavirus is closely related to the rabies virus. I always find it safer not to handle wild animals.

Of course, human activity can be a problem for bats through habitat destruction or, in the case of what I think is a dead little broad nosed bat, collisions with cars.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Melvin – The grey-headed flying fox is the bat I most commonly see at night around my home. Their squawks as they feed and squabble are easy to hear. Pteropus poliocephalus – my Latin isn’t great but I think the scientific name stands for wing (ptero), work (opus), greyish (polio), head (cephalus) so pteropus poliocephalus probably means grey-headed working wing.

According to Wikipedia, there are 60 species of flying fox bats in the world of which I think Australia has four, the little red, spectacled, black and grey-headed flying fox.

Catherine, Hilary, Aya and Jenna – Koalas are certainly picky eaters. Eucalypt trees (we also call them gum trees) are common and have a number of species in Australia but koalas won’t eat the leaves of all kinds. If we were to eat the leaves, we would become very sick because of the eucalyptus oil in the leaves but koalas are adapted to digesting the leaves. This can take some time. This is part of the reason koalas spend so much time sleeping. It saves energy so, rather than being lazy, they are being energy efficient. Would that make the “green” koalas?
Koalas don’t normally need to find and drink water because they take it in with the leaves but I have seen video of koalas after a fire has come through. If they survive, they can be very thirsty. Firefighters and animal rescue people have poured water in their hands and wild koalas they find have drunk from their hands. They are amazing little animals.

Jenna, a little extra information – A number of animals are known to swallow rocks or gravel to help digest plant foods. Such stones are known as gastroliths (mean stomach stone) and were even used by some dinosaurs. Many birds also use them for the same reason, they help digest food. As you know, chickens don’t have teeth to help chew food.

 

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

LAND ANIMALS

Kennedy – I have seen mobs (the name for a group of kangaroos) of red kangaroos bounding across drier areas of Australia. The males can be around my height and are very strong. Did you know the males fight using their strong legs? Until I was able to deliver it to a zoo, I had a young, orphaned red kangaroo. When it saw me, it would hop up and kick me but was too small to cause any damage. It was calm when it got into a sack. For the young roo, it was like being in its mother’s pouch. There are no red kangaroos near where I live now. We mainly have eastern-grey kangaroos and wallabies. Kangaroos are only native to Australia.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

eastern grey kangaroos

Kelly – Joey is a term we Aussies use for the young of most marsupials. So kangaroo and koala babies are joeys. My favourite name for a baby animal goes to the young of the echidna and platypus. Echidnas and platypuses aren’t marsupials (pouched animals). They are monotremes, egg-laying mammals. Monotreme young are known as puggles.
Only responding to movement might seem odd but it appears in other animals. I think I read t-rex dinosaurs probably only responded to movement so, if you ever face one, stay still. 🙂 It wouldn’t work with lions.
Here’s a puzzle for you, if red kangaroos only detect motion, does the world disappear if the kangaroos are still and no wind moves grass and trees? I suspect there is some vision at all times but kangaroos only respond to movement because the signal is stronger.

This is a public domain image sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This is a public domain image sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

Daniel – As you would have place names and other words taken from native languages, many names in Australia come from local Aboriginal names. Sometimes, names might be exactly native because early European settlers misunderstood.
For emu, we aren’t certain where the name originated. Wikipedia states it may have come from the Arabic for large bird and be used by early Portuguese explorers.
When checking on the world’s largest living birds, the emu may be second in height but I suspect the cassowary (found in Australia and New Guinea) is heavier and the Australian southern cassowary might grow slightly taller. The tallest bird know to have existed was probably the giant moa (Dinornis) originally found in New Zealand. They are thought to have become extinct mainly because of hunting by early Polynesian settlers (Maoris).

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Here are just a few Aboriginal names for emu from the very many languages…
Ngurruy (Ngiyampaa people of N.S.W.)
Kalthi (Paakantyi people of N.S.W.)
Dhinawan (Wiradjuri people of N.S.W.)
Kawir – (Wembawemba people of N.S.W.)
Warrhukaathi – (Diyori people of S.A.)

These words are taken from “Macquarie Aboriginal Words” – ISBN 97809497571

Sam – While I have seen bilbies in zoos, I haven’t seen them in the wild where they are endangered.  There is a national plan trying to help the bilby numbers grow again.

It may interest you to know something about Easter in Australia. You probably know about chocolate Easter eggs and Easter bunnies but, here in Australia, you can also buy Easter bilbies. Money raised from their sales helps to save the bilby through donation to conservation programs

This picture is in the public domain because its copyright has expired and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This picture is in the public domain because its copyright has expired and was sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

Alex – Bearded dragons are interesting and I have held the spiky little guys and have seen them in the wild. They can be bought as pets here but you must be licenced in my state because all native reptiles are protected. They are not allowed to be collected from the wild.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Isaac – Tasmanian devils are interesting carnivorous marsupials (pouched animals). Early European settlers in Tasmania would hear the sounds of the devils and feared evil spirits might be at work.
I have seen devils in zoos but didn’t see them in the wild when I was in Tasmania. Despite their snarls and strong jaws, they are cute little guys but I wouldn’t place a finger near their mouths.
Wombats are very strong diggers. I often come across their burrows when hiking. I suspect the Tasmanian devils find it much easier to use an empty wombat burrow than digging their own.

Click the link below to hear Tasmanian devil sounds.

TasmanianDevilSounds

This audio file was sourced through "Community Audio" where it was listed without a creator or any copyright instructions. I assume it is in the public domain.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

I didn't have a Tasmanian devil photo in my collection but did have this drawing of mine.

Kate – I have not only seen many eastern blue-tongued lizards (skinks) in the wild, I have found them visiting my yard as they search for bugs or delicious snails (not the French escargot type). They are docile (not aggressive) but I tend to leave them alone unless they’re injured. I did once find one seriously hurt little guy in my yard and had to take it to a local vet but he didn’t survive the injury. I think perhaps a dog had attacked him. Dogs and cats can be dangerous for many small native animals. The video below is a northern blue tongue giving birth…

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Noam – Short-beaked echidnas are native to most areas of Australia, including around my home. I have had one exploring my yard and seen them in parks in my town as well as in the wild. They’re aren’t aggressive and can’t bite but, being monotremes (egg laying mammals), they are fascinating little guys. When threatened, they use their strong claws to hold on to the ground while they show their spines.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Peng Peng – I have seen dolphins off our coast a number of times, including bottlenose dolphins. They are beautiful animals and seem curious when they see humans in our waters. Bulls, cows and calves are good names although people often only think of cattle but the titles are used for other mammals including elephants.
Dolphins are part of the Order Cetacea of animals. Cetacea include whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

I photographed these dolphins as they swam near the shore.

Claire – Bottlenose dolphins can be found in oceans around the world but I don’t think they tend to reach Canadian waters because of cooler temperatures.
Did you know some sharks like bottlenose dolphins, especially the calves? The problem for sharks is the dolphins can often protect themselves. Dolphins turn and charge the shark. Sometimes groups attack and have been know to kill a shark.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

I believe this is a common dolphin. I photographed it while on a whale watching cruise off our coast.

Cohen – Port Jackson sharks can be found in Australian coastal waters but don’t tend to be along the most tropical areas. As the name suggests, they are also found in Port Jackson waters. You may not have heard of Port Jackson but it is the bay around which Sydney has been built.
As their diet includes mostly molluscs and similar creatures, they aren’t seen as dangerous to humans. Their egg cases are sometimes washed up on beaches and are easy to recognise.

This photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

This photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain.

Hannah – Black swans can be found on our saltwater lake or in large ponds. There is one area in a town only 35km from my home that can fill with water in wetter times. I once stopped to watch numerous black swans wandering along grassy areas near the water then realised all of the adults were being followed by cygnets. They can be aggressive if they think they or their babies are threatened.

Blac Swan pair

Amy – Turtles can be fascinating animals. My two nieces grew up in a Queensland town named Bundaberg. While Bundaberg is know for its fields of sugarcane, the coast east of the town is know for Mon Repos Conservation Park. Between November and March each year loggerhead, flatback and green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in the beach sand.
Nightly tours during that period of the year allow visitors to see they turtles laying eggs or, 6 to 8 weeks later, see hatchlings emerging from the sand and heading to the water.
We all know humans are either male or female as they develop before birth but turtles are different. The temperature of the sand makes the difference for turtles. Higher temperatures help turtles hatch sooner and emerge as females. Cooler temperatures tend to result in males.

 

This photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain

This photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it is listed as in the public domain

Martin – Australian sea lions can be seen around southern and south-western areas of Australia but not normally near where I live. We are more likely to find Australian fur seals in our waters. One old male was an annual visitor to a favourite rock in our town’s lake.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

These are New Zealand fur seals. They have also been found along Australia's coastline.

Well, what started out with an intention to write a short comment seems to have blown out into something a little longer. It’s like much in life, we start with some knowledge and seem to collect more as life moves along. We learn. We share. We are all both teachers and students in life.

Learning is a lifelong journey we all travel. When we travel it with others our journey is all the richer.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes. This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.
This graphic should not be used without written permission from me.

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In the comments of their poster entitled “Welcome to Grade THREE!”, the Battalion Bloggers asked some questions. Posts lead to questions and questions to a search for answers. Below is the next part of our shared learning journey as I attempt to find answers and learn more along the way.

For their original post…

Welcome to Grade THREE!

For the related preceding post on this blog...

The Outback and Other Information

Hello Battalion Bloggers,

I know you're having are busy in school at this time and I have been very busy with DVD/CD work for schools and community groups so it seems it can take us some time to reply to each other but our contacts are always interesting.

I thought I would share some ideas I had when thinking about the questions and curiosities in your comment. I know some ideas I share can be a little hard to understand at times but this is what can make learning interesting as we try to discover meaning. To answer you, I always have to research more information, try to understand what I find and then try to explain what I find in in a way you can more easily understand. Our posts and comments means our learning journeys cross for a time. Here's what resulted...

We are glad that the perentie and lace monitors are only slightly venomous and that they are shy and will run away when they see people. Can the perentie and lace monitor venom kill a person if they bite them?

In the original post, I mentioned the monitors are thought to be slightly venemous but I haven't heard of any deaths from monitor bites in Australia. Some of the effects of a monitor bite from lace monitors or Komodos might be (according to Wikipedia's Komodo reference) rapid swelling, localized disruption of blood clotting, and shooting pains, with some symptoms lasting for several hours. The large Komodo has been known to attack and kill animals such as goats and there are reports of human deaths. As with all animals, we should be careful with the biting end and leave wild animals alone.

Perentie

This graphic has been sourced through Wikimedia Commons and is listed as in the public domain.

This graphic has been sourced through Wikimedia Commons and is listed as in the public domain.

Lace Monitor

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We wonder why the komodo dragon is only found in Indonesia now and not in Australia anymore?

Komodo Dragon

The photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it was listed as in the public domain.

The photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it was listed as in the public domain.

Different species of monitor lizards are found in many countries. According to Wikipedia, they are found "through Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, to China, down Southeast Asia to Indonesia, the Philippines, New Guinea, Australia and islands of the Indian Ocean, and the South China Sea. A large concentration of monitor lizards occurs on Tioman Island in the Malaysian state of Pahang." What this suggests is there are many species of monitor lizards. The Komodo, perentie and lace monitors are just three.

HOW could they get to Indonesia when they once roamed Australia?

In my post, I mentioned fossils of Komodo dragons were found in Australia so they had once been here. If you look at the Komodo Dragon Evolutionary History link, it mentions recent fossil finds in Australia suggest it's possible Komodo dragons evolved in Australia and spread to Indonesia when sea levels were much lower during the last glacial period (around 12,000 to 110,000 years back). With the end of the glacial age, they were cut off from Australia by rising waters.  Perhaps a changing environment wasn't suitable for them here in Australia so they died out leaving the Komodo only in Indonesia. We would need more information to be certain but, at this time, an accepted belief is the monitors evolved in Asia perhaps 40 million years back and then spread.

We also have evidence of much a much larger monitor lizard in Australia known as Megalania (Megalania prisca or Varanus priscus). It is thought to have died out 30,000 to 40,000 years back so it's possible the earliest indigenous Australians had seen them. Most recent estimates say they might have grown to 4.5m (15 feet) and weighed up to 331kg (730lb). With the largest wild Komodo measuring 3.13 m (10.3 ft) long and weighing 166 kg (366 lb), the megalania would have been huge. I wouldn't go hiking in our national parks if they were still around.

The photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it was listed as in the public domain.

The photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it was listed as in the public domain.

We wonder if they lived in both places but then they died out in Australia.

I liked your suggestion and suspect there was a time when they were found in both places. Somewhere back in time monitors must have had a common ancestor. The different species evolved when populations were cut off from others. Adapting to the local conditions, in time they developed differences to other populations. When there is enough change so one population is unlikely to breed with another*, they are said to be a new species. Look at the monitor lizard below. It is a varanus salvatorii (Salvatori's monitor) from New Guinea.

Do you notice all of the monitor lizards on this post have similarities? They are all part of the genus varanus (monitor lizards).

Do you see they also all have differences? The differences suggest different species.

Salvatori's Monitor Lizard

The photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it was listed as in the public domain.

The photo was sourced through Wikimedia Commons where it was listed as in the public domain.

New Guinea's Salvadori's Monitor Lizard

* There are examples where animals of different species can interbreed (have babies together) so long as the animals are of the same genus.

horse (equus ferus) + donkey (equus tigris)= mule   

(equus is the genus and ferus/tigris are the species names)

male tiger (panthera tigris) + lioness (panthera leo) = tigon

male lion (panthera leo) + female tiger (panthera tigris) = liger

(panthera is the genus and tigris/leo are the species names)

Why would they die out?

As mentioned above. the Komodo dragons may have died out in Australia because of climate change. As an example, when the first people came to Australia perhaps fifty to sixty thousand years ago, Australia was much wetter with forests and lakes. In time, changes in climate led to Australia drying out leaving desert where once there was forest. There might have been other reasons why they became extinct in Australia but, without evidence, we're only guessing.

Spike is SO cute! We think that the picture of the echidna digging his claws into the grown and curling into a ball to protect himself was SO cute! Do echidnas get frightened easily?

Echidna

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

When I discovered an echidna in my garden, it was probing the soils with its snout in search of food. It didn't take much notice of me and I suspect their eyesight isn't too strong. When I came too close, it dug its claws into the ground and showed its spines. I don't think they are too easily frightened but, just like you, they are careful if danger is near.
Once they feel danger has gone, they go back to their hunt for food.

We wonder if they do much damage to gardens like voles can do?

If I hadn't seen the echidna in my garden, I don't think I would have known it had been there as they leave little trace. It's possible others have been in my garden but I have only ever seen one. I have seen many in the wild. I saw the above echidna waddling its way across a local park. Even though I was close, it either didn't see me or wasn't frightened.

We wonder what they like to eat … besides ants!

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In the wild, the echidnas mostly eat ants and termites. The above photo shows a local termite mound around 1m high although I have seen some termite mounds much higher in other parts of Australia. When hiking, I sometimes see termite mounds where I can tell echidnas have been using their strong claws to dig. Once opened, the echidna can use its long, sticky tongue to catch ants or termites.

My favourite local animal sanctuary, Potoroo Palace , has three echidna. It isn't possible to gather enough ants or termites for them so the keepers mix a special recipe to feed their echidna. The mix includes minced meat, olive oil, raw egg, glucose powder, baby porridge, processed bran, vitamin E powder and calcium powder. In the video below, you will see Spike enjoying a meal as the keeper shares information with tourists.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

We wonder how small an echidna’s egg would be. We STILL think it’s SO cool that they are egg-laying MAMMALS like platypuses!

Echidna eggs are only about 2cm across. The females produce only one small egg about two weeks after mating. It's egg is placed in a backward facing pouch where it hatches about 10 days later. The baby echidna (known as a puggle) stays in the pouch for about two to three months before it's ejected from the pouch. It's spines start to develop in the pouch. Can you imagine a mother with a spiky baby in it's pouch? Perhaps when the puggle gets too spiky, mum thinks it's time for baby to leave the pouch.

How BIG do echidnas grow … we wonder if our Grade Six teacher would be a GOOD referent for measuring an echidna!

Long-beaked echidna can be 45cm to 100cm in length and weigh around 4kg to 9kg. The short-beaked echidna in my area  can be around 30cm to 45cm in length and weigh 2 to 7 kg.

We really enjoyed seeing all the pictures of your fieldtrip to the Outback! It looks like hardly anybody lives there. It would probably be a hard place to live because it looks like there aren’t any stores around to get food or water. It looks SO hot too!

 Summer temperatures in Australia can reach over 40C in summer. There has been a few examples measured up to around 50C. My first full time school wasn't in a desert area but was in a semi-arid (not quite desert) area. I recorded a maximum temperature in the shade of around 45C for two weeks running. As the sun goes down, the temperatures in Australian deserts can normally drop down to around 3C to 6C and there have been recordings of temperatures as low as -7C in Alice Springs in winter.

We loved Ayer’s Rock and the Devil’s Marbles at Karlu Karlu. We wonder how those rocks got stacked like that. They look like they could fall off at any moment! We wonder how long they’ve been stacked like that...

Karlu Karlu

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

In the top photo, you can see Karlu Karlu has many such granite rocks but they haven't been stacked. The second photo gives you an idea of how large they can be. The man in the photo is standing on and leaning against the same rock. Erosion by rain and wind has been at work wearing away the rock at what looks like the base of the upper section. The upper section will eventually break off and fall. Maybe it already has. The photo was taken 28 years back but the erosion is a slow process.

… and also how old Ayer’s Rock is! It just looks like a place where tons of poisonous snakes and spiders would live.

Uluru is known as a monolith (single stone) and is sandstone. The sandstone was thought to have been deposited perhaps 550 million years ago. There are snakes and spiders around Uluru but I think the snake is the woma python. Being a python, it isn't poisonous. There are poisonous species of snakes in my area near the coast. They are the red-bellied black snake, brown snake, tiger snake, and death adder. I have seen the first three in the wild but, as yet, haven't seen a death adder.

Do armadillos live in the outback?

Armadillos aren't native to Australia.

How long and how tall is Ayer’s Rock?

It is really much larger than what you can see in the photos. Most of it is below the surface. If you were to go for a walk around the base of the Uluru you see in the photo, it would be a walk of a little over 9km (~6 miles). The second photo gives you an idea of how high it is. You can see people have climbed to what looks like the top although the real highest point on Uluru is 348m above the base and is to the left and not quite in the photo.

Uluru  (Ayers Rock)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Uluru Climb

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 We LOVED all your pictures of the outback. We loved how you told us that people would build their houses underground to stay cooler. How would they get to their houses?

Coober Pedy

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Coober Pedy's underground homes can be basic but I have been inside one I would consider more luxurious. It included a swimming pool with a walled part built out of the home. Like most homes, it had a front door, rooms, furniture and electricity. While there are no windows in walls, there are vents in the ceilings for light and air.

What would happen if a rainstorm came … would those houses get flooded?

Being in an arid area of Australia, its average yearly rainfall is only about 156mm (about 6") so flooding isn't too much of a problem. The homes also tend to be built into hills and not low where water might be a problem.

Do the houses leak when there is a rainstorm?

Low rainfall means having leaks would be a rare but I guess they would have big problems if climate change brought much higher rainfall. People find being underground is more comfortable where summer temperatures have reached as much as 47C although the average summer temperature is 30-32C. The big attraction for living in Coober Pedy is the opal. Opal is mined and made into jewellery.

Wouldn’t it be hard to dig into the ground to build a house?

Many in Coober Pedy are miners. They can use digging machines to dig mines in search of opals or to dig homes. Early settlers probably used a pick to dig their homes. Imagine, you don't need bricks or timber if you want a new room, you just need a place to dump what you dig. If you're lucky, you might even find opal when digging your house.

I thought I had a photo of a home interior but I haven't as yet located it amongst thousands of old photos so below is a photo I found through Wikimedia Commons.

This photo was sourced through WIkimedia Commons. The information below shows the original author.

This photo was sourced through WIkimedia Commons. The information below shows the original author.

Description: Coober Pedy, South Australia - underground house display.        Date: 26 August 2003     Author: Nachoman-au

Couldn’t it cave in?

The home I visited looked very solid. Experienced miners would know the danger of cave-ins if they weren't careful. You would probably find the town has rules on how dugout homes should be built. I suppose a serious earthquake might cause problems but serious earthquakes are rare in Australia.

We wonder, if they go out, how do they find their houses again, if they are underground. Do they mark an x on the roof?

Like you finding your home, they know where their homes are in town so they wouldn't need to mark their homes. They might simply remember it's on the north side of the third hill from the local shop.

We wonder what kinds of animals live in the outback.

That is a big topic so let's look at the area around Uluru. Go to the Wikipedia reference on Uluru and scroll down for some details.

There are known to have been 46 mammal species found around although there are currently only 27 including bats. There are also birds, reptiles, insects and frogs. Frogs in the desert? There are four known species of frogs found around the base of Uluru where you also find waterholes. There can also be introduced animals such as mice, camels, dogs, foxes, cats and rabbits.

emus

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

camels

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

2 Comments

For part 1 of this post...

http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/22/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-1-Koa-to-Jorja

For Part 3 of this post...

 http://rossmannellcomments.edublogs.org/2013/06/23/skyping-with-k123-from-canada-part-3-linden-to-the-end/

Part 2

Do I know about an Australian tree which has black hair on it?

This one need a little research because I didn't know what type of tree it might be. Here is a link I found that has some "hairy" trees. They might help you know what tree you mean. 🙂

Australian Tree Images

What types of animals are found in Australia?

 Australia has a large range of animals but some of our most famous are our marsupial (pouched) and monotreme (egg laying) mammals and our birds. In Part 1 of this post, I have shown some of our reptiles I have photographed so I will only show some mammals and birds.

Here are some of the birds I have seen visiting my home.

Kookaburra

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Magpie

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Australian Wood Duck

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Corella

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Crimson Rosella

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

King Parrot (male)

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Rainbow Lorikeet

This is the crazy type of bird I mentioned enjoyed a diet of sugary flower nectar. One of these birds flew between another person and me when we were talking.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Monotremes (egg laying) Mammals

The most ancient type of mammals are the monotremes. The females lay leathery eggs. On hatching, the young take milk from their mother like all mammals.

The only monotremes known to exist in our world today are the echidna and platypus. The platypus is only found in Australia. Echidnas are found in Australia and New Guinea.

The platypus is hard to photograph in the wild. While I have seen them, they are more like a ripple as they surface in creeks after searching for food. Not having a photo, here is my drawing of a platypus.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

The echidna (or spiny anteater) is a harmless animal whose only defence when attacked is to dig it's strong claws into the ground and show its spines. I have found one wandering in my garden. The photo is of a short beaked echidna. The long beaked echidna is found in New Guinea.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Marsupial (pouched) Mammals

Marsupial or pouched animals are born very tiny. They make their way up their mothers fur and into the pouch where they can attach to a nipple. When they grow too large, they start to come out of the mother's pouch and eventually stay out. Here are some photos and drawings.

Brushtail Possum

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Wombat - This joey (young marsupial) lost his mother on the road.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Tiger Quoll

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Koala - Sapphire is the baby of Blinky and Suzie

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Red Kangaroo - the largest of the kangaroos

This is a public domain image sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

This is a public domain image sourced through Wikimedia Commons.

Tasmanian Devil

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo mob - groups of kangaroos are called mobs.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

 Diprotodon (extinct) - When the first native Australians arrived, these huge marsupials still roamed the land.

Wikimedia Commons graphic created by Dmitry Bogdanov

Wikimedia Commons graphic created by Dmitry Bogdanov

Thylacine - Tasmanian Tiger - hunted to extinction. The last known thylacine died in captivity in the 1930s. Some believe they still exist in isolated areas of Tasmania.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Our animals even feature on the Australian Coat of Arms. Take a kangaroo and an emu...

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Add a little wattle

 

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Show the seven pointed Federation Star and the emblems of each state and you have the Australian Coat of Arms.

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Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

What did I teach when I was a teacher?

When I was at university, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree. This meant if I taught high school (Grades 7 to 12) I would have taught science and possibly maths. Instead, I chose to gain a Diploma of Education in primary (Kindergarten to Grade 6) education. By teaching primary students I could teach English, Science, Maths, Social Studies, Music, Art, and Craft.

When computers came along, I was able to teach computer skills to classes and teachers. I first used computers back in 1975 and in class in 1981. Because I have many interests, I thought primary school would allow me to share much more than high school. Now, I share many of my interests online with classes around the world.

 For a class looking at Australia -

Australian Flag

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Aboriginal Flag

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Torres Strait Islander Flag

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Some Audio Files

Australia's National Anthem - as sung by a combined choir in a performance I filmed...

 Advanced Australia Fair

Many official functions start with an Acknowledgement of Country in order to recognise the traditional owners of the land...

Acknowledgement of Country

The didjeridoo was made from a hollowed branch and was part of many ceremonies. The hitting of sticks or boomerangs together often accompanied them.

Sticks and Didjeridoo

Below are links to Australian related posts on my blogs including links to others. I hope they are of some help...

HMB Endeavour at Eden - Replica of Captain James Cook's HMS Endeavour visited  in 2012. James Cook was the first explorer from Europe/UK known to have sailed along Australia's east cost.

My Region of Australia - A general look at my area of Australia featuring the old family dairy farm, scenic photos, beach activities, and Australian animals.

Tasmania – Sharing old photos - Looks at the Australian island state of Tasmania and a little of our convict heritage.

Older Australian Currency - Australia uses dollars and cents these days but before 1966 used pounds, shillings and pence.

Aboriginal Cultural Resource Links for the Roadrunners - Information about the Aboriginal people of Australia and their traditional culture. Check the "Twelve Canoes" link in particular.

Class 6 – Olympic Countries – Australia - History, the Australian flag, National Anthem, animals, Sydney Harbour Bridge, sport

ANZAC Day for 2/3 Class - Looking at ANZAC Day and its meaning for me.

For Emily from Michigan who was interested in Australia - A collection of photos taken in different parts of Australia (including animals).

More photos and information on Sydney for Emily - Some photos of Sydney past and present.

Spring has Sprung in Australia – for 4KJ and 4KM - Looks at the seasons of the Southern Hemisphere.

 Australian National Parks near me in answer to ♥Ell♥e♥ and ಢAcacia✄ - Information about Australia as well as some national parks in my area.

Australian Birds – Mostly Close to Home…

Some plant photos taken in my area…

The family dairy farm for someone who loves everything farming

Maoris, Volcanoes and Aboriginal Rock Art (some notes) for Roadrunners and their comment. Includes the Aboriginal flags of Australia, information about paintings and engravings

Australian Animals for Mrs. Watson’s K/1/2/3 and “Our World, Our Numbers” - An assortment of photos, drawings and information.

Koalas and Kangaroos - Two video links I prepared for a class

Australia’s Extinct and Endangered Species – for Katey of Techie Kids

Tasmanian Devils for Christian and Techie Kids

Some More Aussie Animals for Alexis & Techie Kids

 

You Tube Video Clips

These are my own video clips uploaded to my You Tube Channel. Some are already embedded into the above posts but can be viewed here as well...

Eastern Grey Kangaroos

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

The life of "Sapphire" the koala

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Echidna (Spiny Anteater)

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

"Bert" the wombat joey (baby)

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Walking koala from a series of photos

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

The Song of the Lyrebird

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

"Lyrebird Story" by Alexandra Seddon

This video clip may not be copied or distributed in any fashion.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Suzie the koala's baby makes an appearance

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Black-Headed Python Experience

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Potoroo "Daniel"

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Koala encounter with "Blinky" and "Suzie"

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Echidna "Spike" Encounter

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Ringtail Possum "Estelle" Encounter

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Swamp Wallaby "Serena" Encounter

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Emus

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Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Many of the above animal video clips were filmed at Potoroo Palace . It is a native animal educational sanctuary operated by volunteers and funded by visitor entry fees and donations. Potoroo Palace is a not-for-profit organisation passionate about caring for the Earth. The aims of Potoroo Palace are...

  • To improve the habitats and wellbeing of the native animals already in our care

  • To promote public awareness of their plight in the wild

  • To educate the community about the importance of the conservation of our unique Australian native animals and plants.

At times I have been invited to film their animals.

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Katey was wondering about extinct species in Australia. I have gathered some references for extinct and endangered animal species in Australia...

 

The First reference is of extinct species as listed on Wikipedia...

List of Extinct Animals of Australia

One of our wonderful Australian magazines, Australian Geographic, has featured extinct and endangered animals. I have been collecting this magazine from it's first issue. Here is a link to their listing of endangered animals...

Latest Endangered Species

 

Looking at Some Animals

Being extinct or endangered, I don't have photos of most mentioned species but I can share some information on related species.

Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat

There are three known species of wombat to be found in Australiia. They are...

Of these wombats, the northern hairy-nosed wombat is listed as critically endangered. There is a protected colony in the state of Queensland where some births have taken place.

I don't have any photos or videos of my  own of the northern or southern hairy-nosed wombats but I do have photos and videos of the common (or smooth-nosed) wombat. Below is a photo of a wombat joey (baby) named Bert. He was orphaned and has been raised in an animal sanctuary known as Potoroo Palace. Potoroo Palace is run by volunteers. They care for injured and sick animals with the hope of returning them to the wild. Donations and entry fees from visitors help fund the animal sanctuary.  This photo and video clip was taken at a visitors' encounter with Bert.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

I uploaded this video clip so you can see this cute little guy.

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

For the general Wikipedia information about wombats...

WOMBATS

Long-Beaked Echidna

The only monotreme (egg laying) mammals we know still to exist in our world are the platypus and echidna. The platypus is only found in Australia but echidna are found in Australia and New Guinea. Australia is home to the short-beaked echidna and New Guinea to the long-beaked echidna. Long-beaked echidna were thought to be extinct in Australia but there is a chance they might still exist. If they are found, they would also be seen as critically endangered. To read about the possible rediscovery of the long-beaked echidna in Australia...

Extinct echidna may be alive and well in Western Australia

The photo and video clip below are of the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus). I have found one wandering in my yard but the below was taken in Potoroo Palace. This is another video clip prepared for you.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Schools and students have permission to use this video clip for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

 Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) are now only found in the wild in Tasmania. The devil has become endangered in the wild due to a facial cancer first identified in 1996. It's thought 85% of wild devils may have died. There are breeding attempts in zoos and sanctuaries. Below is a link to an article on the Tasmanian devil.

Genetic diversity gives hope to Tassie devils

I don't seem to have a photo of a devil in my collection but I prepared the below drawing for another student and thought I would also share it with you.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Here is a link to the Tasmanian devil post I wrote for Christian...

Tasmanian Devil

Some Animals from the Past

When we go back in time, we can find many animal species have become extinct. You have heard of dinosaurs and perhaps the dodo bird and passenger pigeon. Australia has a number of creatures from the past. Let's see what you think of a few extinct species from Australia's past. I will given you links for more information if you are interested...

Diprotodon optatum - This large marsupial looked something like a large bear but, like all marsupials, the females carried young in their pouch. They could grow to nearly 4m (11ft) long from head to toe. They existed when the first Aborigines came to Australia but habitat change brought them to an end. Fossils have been found.

Dromornis stirtoni - What would you think if you saw a 500kg (1100lb) flightless bird about 3m (9ft) tall? Some scientists believe this bird might have been a meat eater.

Muttaburrasaurus langdoni - The muttaburrasaurus was a large plant eating dinosaur.

 

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Hello Again Alexis,

I have sorted through more photos. I don't think I have shared many of these before. Here they are, starting with...

Invertebrates

1. Blue-bottle Jelly fish ( or Portuguese Man-of-war)

These jelly fish are found along our coast. The air sac keeps them on the surface as they drift along. Long tentacles drag behind them trapping small fish. Beaches can close when they are blown towards land. If a tentacle contacts you skin, it can be very painful and can leave a red mark where the tentacle touches. They are sometimes blown onto beaches like this one. As the tentacles can still sting when the blue-bottle is on the beach you still need to take care. This one's air sac would have been about 2 inches (5cm) long and its tentacles two to three feet long.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

2. Sand spider

On the same beach walk I photographed the blue-bottle, I photographed this spider. It's a good example of camouflage. Had I not seen it moving, I might have missed seeing this small spider.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

3. Yellow-Striped Hunter Dragonfly

It took a few attempts to take this photo. Dragonflies can move quickly but it finally settled long enough.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

4. Some Butterflies and Moths

Two butterflies I haven't been able to identify. I must buy a butterfly identification book. 🙂

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Painted Lady Butterfly

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Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Hawk Moth (about 2 inches (5cm) long)

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Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Common Brown

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Yellowpinch, N.S.W., Australia

Vertebrates

1. Reptiles

Lace Goanna (or Lace Monitor) (about a metre long - 3 to 4 feet)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Yellowpinch, N.S.W., Australia

Red-bellied Black Snake (poisonous but not very aggressive)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Wolumla, N.S.W., Australia

2. Birds

White-faced Heron

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Swamphen

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Location: Bega, N.S.W., Australia

Australian Pelican

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Coot

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bega, N.S.W., Australia

Pied Butcher Bird

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Location: Imbil, Queensland, Australia

Brush Turkey (not really a turkey)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Brisbane Hinterland, N.S.W., Australia

Bronzewing Pigeon

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

3. Mammals - Monotreme (Egg Laying Mammals)

The only known monotreme mammals in our world are the platypus (Australia only) and the echidna (Australia and New Guinea). Here is a an echidna (or spiny anteater) I saw while on a hike.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

4. Mammals - Marsupial (Pouched Mammals)

Brushtail Possum

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Eastern Grey Kangaroo joey (This joey is now too big for the pouch.)

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

4. Mammals - Placental

Bottle-nosed dolphins - They were swimming parallel to a beach

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

Dingo - dingoes are our wild dogs. They were thought to have arrived with the first Aboriginal people. This make is named Djingo. He lives at Potoroo Palace. WIld dingoes aren't found in my area. They can't bark like domestic dogs. Like wolves, they can howl.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

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This post was one off my 100th Extended Comment post. As the 99th post, the school will be receiving a copy of “Wombat’s Secret” book, two small souvenirs from Potoroo Palace (where I have taken many animal photos) and some Australian animal postcards.

Dear Riley,

Like you, I love animals and nature. I have many photos from insects and other small creatures up to large animals.

All of the photos appearing on this post were taken by me. Schools and students have permission to use them for non-commercial purposes. This means I am letting schools and students use these photos in their school work.

I have created a post for you so I can re-show a number of animal pictures appearing in assorted posts on this blog...

This is a photo of a female swamp wallaby (marsupial mammal). She thought I might have some food for her. The photo is one of my top favourites because she seems to be smiling at me. 🙂

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Eastern Grey Kangaroo (marsupial mammal). He stood nearly 6 ft (175cm) tall.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

"Blinky" is a male koala (marsupial mammal) living at a local animal sanctuary named Potoroo Palace.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Suzie is Potoroo Palace's female koala (marsupial mammal). You can see females have a much whiter front than males.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Leaf curling spider (arachnid). You can see its legs at one end of the leaf.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

If we take the time to look,  spiders can be beautiful.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

This painted lady butterfly (Lepidoptera) was trying to warm itself one morning.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

The blue-tongued skink (lizard) isn't fast moving. I have found them in my garden.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Bournda National Park, N.S.W., Australia

The kookaburra whose call sounds like it's laughing.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Magpies can sometimes be aggressive. Although most don't, some birds swoop down on people and animals they think are threats. This one didn't seem to mind me taking a photo.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Australian Wood Duck - One of our prettiest native ducks, this is a male

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Corellas - Corellas can arrive in large flocks but in this case three arrived on one of my trees

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Merimbula, N.S.W., Australia

Crimson Rosella - Their call is like a single not from a piccolo

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Emu - not quite as large as an ostrich. Did you know the male ostrich looks after the young, not the female?

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Wombat (marsupial mammal) - They are not normally out in the day. They prefer dusk and night but I saw this guy while hiking one day.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Yellowpinch, N.S.W., Australia

The black-headed python is non-poisonous.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Alexandra, a volunteer at Potoroo Palace, hows visitors "Olivia" the olive python. Being a python, Olivia is non-poisonous. On my hikes, I have seen three very poisonous snake, the red-bellied black snake, the brown snake, and the tiger snake but I don't have any photos at this time.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Rainbow Lorikeet - These birds live on flower nectar. With such a high sugar diet, they are very noisy and a little crazy when they visit my garden.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Echidna or spiny ant eater (Monotreme mammal) - Like the platypus, the females lay eggs from which the young hatch. The mother's have glands on their skin that can secrete milk. Just like all mammals, the young have milk to drink. I once found one of these guys in my garden and have seen them a number of time in the wild.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Location: Potoroo Palace, N.S.W., Australia

Mammals are divided into three groups.

Monotremes - such as echidna and platypus - are egg laying mammals

Marsupials - kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats and many others -  they are the pouched animals. Marsupials are born very small and make their way into the mother's pouch where they feed and grow until large enough to come outside.

Placentals - This group includes animals like cows, goats, horses, pigs, apes, monkeys and humans