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Fauna

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Introduction

Dingo on the road.jpg
Dingo
Latin: Canis familiaris dingo
Family: Wild Dog
Occurrence: Everywhere in Australia without Tasmanien
Surroundings: Forest and Veld
Notes: Famous wild dog imported by the Indigenous People.

In the course of time I learned something about animals living in Australia. Some of them I will introduce here.

Mammals

Dingo

Flinders Ranges

The Dingo is a wild dog. Scientists think that this dog was imported 10000 years ago by the Indigenous People via the southeastern of Asia. Consequently the Dingo is not an original animal in this country. It is interesting that the Dingo only lives in the mainland. At Tasmania - an island in the southeast - you cannot find him. At the mainland he allmost lives everywhere but far away of humans, cities and agriculture. With a length of 1 meter and a weight of 20 kilogramms he is relatively big.

He is shy. On my journey in 1997 I could see one of them a few secods 50 meters away of our car in the Flinders Ranges. A meaningful picture was not possible. Be aware of camping: If you leave your shoes outside the tent during the night they may be solen by the Dingos.

Camel

Kamelherde.jpg
Feral Camel
Latin: Camelus dromedarius
Family: Dromedar
Occurrence: Dry inland
Surroundings: Desert/Veld
Notes: Imported by the europeans, now savaged.
Camel at work (1)
Camel at work (2)

The dromedary - a camel with only one bump - was imported by the europeans. In 1840 the first 10 camels arrived from Afghanistan in the Melbourne harbour. With their help the dry inland should be explored. The camels were excellent pack animal in the heat, the dryness and the great fluctuation of temperature. They only need less to eat and they can store 200 litres of water in their body. Also they can walk 70km of distance at only one day. At the building of the (first) Ghan-Railway (Text only available in German!) their help was strongly recommended in the desert. The dromedary only eats plants and they like the foliage of trees. This is a problem because they damage the limbs of the trees. The camels lives in a crows and they can be up to 40 years old. In the 1950s they had a population of 15000 animals. In 2007 700000 animals were counted. Up to 2020 a population of 1.5 Mio animals is expected. There are lots of interests to protect or to kill this camels. Today all camels are living in the wild.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2006 (Translation in English)

In the beginning of the exploration or the north-south-crossing a lot of people died or had other problems because of all the difficulties in the outback. Horses were not the solution. But camels were the solution. Most of the camels came from Pakistan, a former colony as a part of Britisch India. At first they worked for the explorers. Later they also carried settlers and miners following the explorers. The camles and their cameleer - mostly Afghans - were not accepted by the community. But everyone needed them. The term "Afghan" was to long for the Aussies, so they called them "Ghan".

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2006 (Original in German)

Am Anfang der Erschließung oder Durchquerung der Nord- Süd- Passage sind viele Forscher, viele Reisende durch die unsagbaren Schwierigkeiten des Outbacks zum Teil sogar dort gestorben. Pferde halfen bei der Überwindung der Strecke nur wenig. Deshalb wurden die Kamele benötigt. Die meisten kamen von Pakistan, damals eine „Kolonie“, ein Teil von Britisch Indien. Zunächst bewährten sie sich beim Transport der Forscher, später arbeiteten sie für die Siedler und die Miner, die den Entdeckern folgten. Die Kamele und ihre Treiber, meist Afghanen, waren gesellschaftlich nicht anerkannt. Obwohl man sie so sehr brauchte. Da die Aussprache „Afghane“ für die Aussies zu lang war, riefen sie diese Kamelkarawanen einfach „Ghan“.


Short-beaked Echidna

Echidna.jpg
Short-beaked Echidna
Latin: Tachyglossus aculeatus
Family: Echidna
Occurrence: All Australia
Surroundings: moderate climate, tropics and deserts
Notes: Mammal that lays eggs.
Remarkable Rocks at Kangaroo Island in South Australia in the background

The Short-beaked Echidna is a loner mammal. It is known as the Short-beaked Echidna but also as Spiny Anteater. It belongs to the family of the Echidnas and is relatied to the Platypus.

Amazingly is is a mammal that lays eggs. The egg is put into the "bag" to mature. There the offspring eclose later and stay in that "bag" for additional three months. They grow up tp 45cm lenthe and up to 7kg weight. In some cases they reach an age of 50 years. On the other hand is is also remarkable that the are all in Australia at the complete continent in all climate zones. You find them in the tropics and deserts. The norhtern border are the southern parts of New Guinea. The southern border is Tasmania.

The Short-beaked Echidna has strong digging-claws. They are uses to find something to eat in the termite hills. The clammy tongue in the mouth helps to pull the termites out of their building.

Although the Short-beaked Echidna lives everywhere in Australia I did not see one of them in 1997. Rüdiger got more luck to watch one in 2008 at Kangaroo Island in South Australia.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Rüdiger Winkelmann, 2010 (Translation in English)

At first our group marveled at the "Remarkable Rocks" and we all took pictures in all angles. Than one of us detected something with spine on the floor under some scrub.

After a short discussion we thought that this animal must be a Short-beaked Echidna. We took some pictures and after all the "klicking" of the cameras it went away. One of my picture you can see here.

I was pleasant because no one of our group tried to become closer to the animal to take a better picture. All the other tourists did not recognize what special kind of anaimal we watched there.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Rüdiger Winkelmann, 2010 (Original in German)

Wir hatten alle zuerst ausgiebig die "Remarkable Rocks" bestaunt und von allen Seiten und Winkeln abgelichtet, bis irgendwann jemand das seltsam stachelige Etwas unter ein paar niedrigen Gestrüppranken entdeckte.

Nach kurzer Diskussion einigten wir uns, dass es sich um einen Ameisenigel handeln müsse. Nachdem diverse von uns schon ein paar Fotos gemacht hatten (und der Igel bei einigen der lauteren "Klicks" immer leicht zusammenzuckte), wurde es ihm wohl schließlich zu bunt und er raffte sich auf und tippelte von Dannen. Dabei entstand das Bild.

Erfreulich fand ich, dass keiner aus unserer Gruppe, um ein besseres Foto zu kriegen, dem Tierchen dichter auf den Pelz gerückt ist. Die anderen Touris, die da rumliefen, haben anscheinend überhaupt nicht kapiert, was wir da überhaupt statt der tollen Felsen komisches auf dem Erdboden fotografierten.


Birds

Lachender Hans.jpg
Laughing Kookaburra
Latin: Dacelo gigas
Family: Kingfisher
Occurrence: Southeastern parts and Tasmania
Surroundings: Forest and Bushland
Notes: Most famous Kookaburra, because of his laughter.
Katherine kookaburra by bjay.jpg
Blue-winged Kookaburra
Latin: Dacelo leachi
Family: Kingfisher
Occurrence: Subtropic northern parts near the coast
Surroundings: Forest
Notes: Rather unknown Kookaburra with unremarkable sounds.

Blue-Winged Kookaburra

The Blue-Winged Kookaburra I saw at my journey in 1997 in the northern part. In the morning we saw two of this bird near the camping side at Ubirr Rock in the Kakadu Nationalpark. Some kilometers south in the Nitmiluk Nationalpark (Katherine Gorge) we watched a third Blue-Winged Kookaburra sitting on an eucalyptus tree. He sat there near the Katherine River. This species of Kookaburras lives in the subtropic northern parts of Australia. South of the Tropic of Capricorn (about Alice Springs) you cannot see him.

Laughing Kookaburra

Rüdiger watched this Laughing Kookaburra on his journey in 2008 in the south of Australia in the Grampians Nationalpark. He is the most famous Kookaburra because his sounds compares whith the laughter of humans. The solution of an adventure of the Three Investigators is this bird. At this story I learned the first things about Australia in the 1980s. This bird reach an age of 20 years and live in families in three or four generations.

It's habitat is in east Australia, that is in eastern Queensland, in eastern New South Wales and in complete Victoria. The Laughing Kookaburra also lives in northern parts of Tasmania.

The europeans brouht the bird to the south western parts of Australia. You can see the bird in the triangle of Perth, Albany and Cape Leeuwin.

Laughing Kookaburra


White-Breasted Sea-Eagle

White-Breasted Sea-Eagle at Yellow Water after sunrise
White Bellied Sea Eagle 070531b.jpg
White-breasted Sea-eagle
Latin: Haliaetus leucogaster
Family: Bird Of Prey
Occurrence: Coasts and lakes
Surroundings: Near water
Notes: Sits on tops of trees.

The White-Breasted Sea-Eagle lives at all Australian coastlines. Also he lives inland at lakes and rivers. To hunt fishes the White-Breasted Sea-Eagle needs clearly arranged waterscapes. Additional to fish he eats vertebrate and tortoise. Allready dead animals he eats, too. Full-grown the bird is 85 cm long. The nests - build high in the trees - reach diameters of great 2 meters.

In the Kakadu Nationalpark I saw a White-Breasted Sea-Eagle in 1997 hight on a tree. We wanted to watch crocodiles at Yellow Water at sunrise. We did not see any crocodile but this nice bird.

Tawny Frogmouth

Eulenschwalm.jpg
Tawny Frogmouth
Latin: Podargus strigoides
Family: Bird
Occurrence: All over Australia but not in deserts
Surroundings: Trees
Notes: Sitting camouflaged in trees.

I got to know the Tawny Frogmouth in the Zoo of Wuppertal in Germany. It did not watch it in Australia. This is not easy to watch in nature because the bird is sitting camouflaged without moving in the trees during daylight. The plumage is like barks so you cannot see it. Most of the time the Tawny Frogmouth clodes the eyse to hide itselve from the enemies.

In the night after sunset it hunts large insects, rodents, frogs, snakes or saurian. It is related to the European Nightjar and the Nightjar.

Reptile

Saltwater crocodile on a beach in Darwin, NT.jpg
Estuarine Crocodile
Latin: Crocodylus porosus
Family: Reptile
Occurrence: (Sub-)Tropic north near coastline
Surroundings: Water
Notes: Very big and dangerous crocodile. In norhtern parts at the coast and in lakes.
Australia Cairns 18.jpg
Freshwater Crocodile
Latin: Crocodylus johnstoni
Family: Reptile
Occurrence: (Sub-)Tropic north in lakes
Surroundings: Water
Notes: Small and not dangerous crocodile.

Estuarine Crocodile

The Estuarine Crocodile is one of the the most dangerous animals in the northern Australia. It is lovley called Saltie because it lives mainly in saltwater. But take attention: It swims often into fresh water rivers and lakes. Because of this you can "meet" it everywhere. In the last years the population grows into the south at the coastlines to the Indian an Pacific Ocean. In the Kakadu Nationalpark you can watch it in the early mornung at sunrise at Yellow Water boating tours. In 1997 I did not see any dangerous crocodile.

In general the Salty grows up to a lenght of 5 or 7 meters. Some 10 meteres crocodiles are seen, too. In the 1980s they were hunted and the population was in danger. Since about 1985 the animals are protected by law. Hunting is now illegal and will be punished. Because of this new laws and protection the population could grow again in the last 20 years. The Estuarine Crocodile is no endangered species any more.

The cinema hit Crocodile Dundee of 1986 was a nice publicity.


Spectacular close-up view of a Saltwater Crocodile

Freshwater Crocodile

The Freshwater Crocodile is relatively small with about 3 meters of length. Like the Estuarine Crocodile it mainly lives in the norhern parts of Australia. But in contrast it lives only in lakes and rivers. You cannot find it at the coastline. They eat fish, amphibians and small reptiles and mammals.

Riesenwaran.jpg
Perentie goanna
Latin: Varanus giganteus
Family: Reptile
Occurrence: Dry inland
Surroundings: Desert/Veld
Notes: Biggest goanna in Australia. Likes to live in rocky regions.

Perentie Goanna

The raptorial living Perentie Goanna is the biggest goanna in Australia. The eyeformed blurs of color are distinctive. He lives in the Outback of Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia, in dry and rocky regions. On his journey in 2008 Rüdiger watched this nice animal. The natural habitat of the rocky environments in deserts is confirmed because Rüdiger saw him in the Watarrka Nationalpark at Kings Canyon. Full-grown animals are up to 2 meters long. The Perentie Goanna is bigger than the Lace monitor (Varanus varius) having a length of 2.3 meters. Because of this only the Water monitor (Varanus salvator) and the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) in Indonesia with about 3 meters are the longest ones. In rock shelters there is plenty of food like mammals, snakes and birds.

Amphibians

Rockhole Frogs.jpg
Rockhole Frog
Latin: Litoria meiriana
Family: Amphibian
Occurrence: Northern Western Australia in humid regions
Surroundings: Water
Notes: Thumbnail small frogs, belong to tree frog.

In Australia there is something special: All the amphibians are frogs. There live no other amphibians. Because of this the family of the frogs is listed in this article.

Rockhole Frog

In the Purnululu Nationalpark (Bungle Bungle) at the end of a gorge there is a small billabong called Froghole. Here in the most southern parts of the Kimberley Region is the most southern region where the Rockhole Frogs live. Hundreds of of this thumbnail-small Rockhole Frogs live here. They are an endangered species. They are so small that a rambler me met in 1997 did not see them. You must watch very strong the billabong to see them. This image I took without a tripod takes 10 minutes. With a length of maximal 21mm they are so airy that they can jump at the watrers surface. This ability is the reason for a popular name of Jesus Christ Frog.

If you visit the Purnululu Nationalparks you should take the side trip to the Froghole. It is a very nice walk along the rocks and trees and bushes.

Cane toad

Agaa fg02.jpg
Cane toad
Latin: Bufo marinus
Family: Amphibien
Occurrence: Northeastern parts of Australia (northern parts of South-America and Hawaii)
Surroundings: Water
Notes: Imported in 1935 by the white people.
Cane toad on a hand

The only amphibians in Australia are frogs. The Cane toad is no frog but Australia is not the natural hanitat. The original habitat are the northern parts of South-America and Hawaii. There at home the Cane toad has boilogical enemies. But there ara no enemies in Australia. Because of this the population in Australia grows and grows. It was imported in 1935 to fight versus the insects at the sugarcane fields in Australia. This action did not help against the insects. The poison of the Cane toad killed lots of other animals like snakes in the Kakadu Nationalpark. Other animals are threatened with extinction. In 2010 the population was estimated about 92 Million Cane toads.

In August 2010 the hunt of the mayor Graeme Sawyer of Darwin to kill the Cane toad was published in the World Press. Sawyer introduced this problem to the international public. Two times in a week with the help of 20 volunteers he go out to kill about 80 animals in one tour.

Certainly the Cane toad is a plague. But are brutal fights like toad-golf justified? Maybe this plague can be defeated without agony. A solution without agony is very important.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Translation in English)

The discussion about the environmental hazard because of the poison of the Cane toad was intruduces in 1935. Since now the animal has no natural enemies and the populatio grows. Because of its strong legs it can jump about 2.5 meters. Meanwhile the Cane toad reached the Kakadu NP hreaten the local crocodiles. Combating plague did not help until now.

Like a bomb David Tollner indroduced a suggestion (Text only available in German!) in the national news at ABC on radio in 2005. He explained the solution of the plague in a kind of Toad-Golf. Successfully he killed the toads with his Golf club (equipment) since his childhood. Certainly his suggestion was disapproved by animal rights activist.

Within the gala of Own Goals in Fauna and Flora (Text only available in German!) the Cane toad peaked in one of the biggest plague. More bigger than the rabbit plague. And the rabbit plague is still stong enough.

You should understand the the care of the Australians. All fighting measure failed. But killing the toads inhuman like Toad-Golf is not only despiteous. Furthermore this method could injure the people because of the spraying poison.

Up to now the only method to kill the toads is to collect them and to put them into the chest freezer. This is used by lots of Australians in the Northern Territory. Stay tune how this earnest problem will be solved in Australia.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Original in German)

Die Diskussion über die Umweltgefährdung durch die giftige Aga Kröte ist schon kurz nach der Einführung 1935 aufgetreten. Inzwischen hat sich das Tier, da es keine natürlichen Feinde hat, stark vermehrt. Dank seiner kräftigen Hinterbeine kann die Kröte fast 2,5 Meter weit springen. Sie ist mittlerweile im Kakadu NP angekommen und gefährdet sogar Krokodile. Man hat alle möglichen Formen der Bekämpfung ausprobiert.

Wie eine Bombe schlug 2005 der Vorschlag des liberalen Abgeordneten David Tollner bei einem Radiointerview mit ABC ein, die Kröten mit einem Golfschläger oder einem Kricketschläger zu töten. Er hätte das bereits in seiner Kindheit mit großem Erfolg praktiziert. Natürlich musste dieser Vorschlag den Protest der Tierschützer hervorrufen.

Aber in der Gala der Selbsttore in Flora und Fauna (Text only available in German!) entwickelt sich die Aga Kröte zu einer größeren Umweltbelastung als das Kaninchenproblem. Und das hat oder hatte es schon in sich.

Man muß die Sorge der Australier verstehen. Alle bisherigen Bekämpfungsmaßnahmen schlugen fehl. Aber die Tötung der Kröten auf diese bestialische Art ist nicht nur inhuman. Sie birgt auch eine Gefahr. Das bei der Tötung umher spritzende Gift könnte sogar den „Golfspieler“ erheblich gesundheitlich schädigen.

Als einzige erfolgreiche und vertretbare Tötungsmethode hat sich bisher das Einsammeln und Einlegen in eine Tiefkühltruhe bewährt. Eine Methode, die viele Australier, besonders im Northern Territory anwenden. Man kann gespannt sein, wie die Aussies dieses ernsthafte Problem meistern wollen.


Insects

Termite hill in der region of Ant Hills in the Tanami Desert
Spinifextermiten.jpg
Spinifex Termite
Latin: Nasutitermes triodiae
Family: Insects
Occurrence: Halfdry region in all north regions
Surroundings: Bushland and desert
Notes: Build noticeable high buildings.

Spinifex Termite

Termites are not to be confused with ants. Both families live against in war.

You find the Spinifex Termite in all regions in the northern parts. From Western Australia to Queensland. They live in the humid parts in the Kakadu Nationalpark and in the arid parts of the Tanami Desert. Within their states the queen is the first part. She lives in the middle of the Termite Hills well protected. She produces eggs all the day. The 2nd partes are taken by the gender ones. Than soldiers and workers. The soldiers protect the state and take the responsibility to fight against all aggressors to protect the queen and folk. The workers care about food and feed the soldiers. Also they build the Termite Hill and maintenance it. With the help of their saliva and brickearth they produce a mass like concrete.

The Termite Hills can rise up 7 meters. On my journey in 1997 I saw a very big one in the Tanami Desert near the region calles Ant Hills. To relative the dimensions we take our car.

West Australian Fly

TheWestAustralianFly.jpg
West Australian Fly
Latin: Pestilence Supremo
Family: Insects
Occurrence: Dinner at barbecue grill
Surroundings: Plate with barbecue meat
Notes: At the latest noticeable when flying between glases and eyes.

You find the West Australian Fly in all Australia. For specific views you can take a barbecue because the flies love them. At this events the West Australian Fly can annoy the tourists the best way. The West Australian Fly like to fly between glases an eyes. They also like it to fly into the tourists ear.

See also

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