Australia Animalia Part 2

In Noosa National Park, a fellow hiker alerted us to the existence of the goanna. We thought he said iguana, very similar sounding. We found out they are somewhat similar looking too. At least a goanna is also a big lizard, specifically a monitor lizard. Some grow to 8 feet. Ours (the ones we saw) were only 3 to 4 feet, nose to tail.

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It’s a little disconcerting to come upon this large lizard along the hiking trail.

“Alarmed goannas can mistake standing humans for trees and attempt to climb off the ground to safety, which is understandably painful, as well as distressing for both man and beast.” This is according to Wikipedia (citation needed).

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Please do not get alarmed, Mr. Goanna. Note the stance, ready to jump away before the goanna starts to climb something other than a tree!

We also saw these brush-turkeys walking everywhere, even at the restaurants in downtown Noosa Heads (a posh area).

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Brushturkeys, more common than pigeons.

We learned that the male turkey builds a very large nest of leaves and invites several females to lay eggs in it. Then the natural heat of decomposition of the leaves serves to incubate the eggs. The turkey can actually control the incubation temperature by adding or removing leaves and this will impact the sex of the baby. We saw large piles of leaves but didn’t realize we were looking at brushturkey nests until we caught a rooster turkey in the act of building. (watch the video)

Now the rest of the story: After all the effort of building the nest, laying the eggs, checking the temperature (by sticking a beak in the leaves), and adjusting the HVAC for the nest, there is one big hurdle before the eggs can hatch. Goannas love eating brushturkey eggs!

Actually we saw lots of brushturkeys around Noosa and no goannas. Farther south on our way to the Blue Mountains, we saw several goannas, half a dozen brushturkey nests, but just one brushturkey. It was like watching population control in action.

In the same spot where we saw the goannas, we met up again with flying foxes. This time we saw their daytime hangouts (pun intended!)

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Flying fox sounds less unappealing than megabat, don’t you think?

 

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They were supposed to be sleeping, but they were making a racket and doing a lot of flapping around and quarreling with each other.

Still no koalas in the wild. We will have to go to a zoo to see them.

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The sign probably used to say “Next 10 km” but now the koalas in the wild are too few.

 

 

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