Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Termes on the Wing

 After several weeks of dry weather, we had a nice drop of rain. That prompted the local Termes species to initiate a nuptial flight. 

The mound was covered with hundreds of termites that took to the wing.
The termites were avidly eaten by birds and lizards and within 15 minutes it was all over.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Spring Has Sprung

On 29 September 2020 the first chorusing Northern Green Grocer Cicadas were heard in Kuranda. They are very noisy and you can hear what they sound like at:

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Trick or Treat!

Most mornings a young cassowary comes to the front door. He a recent outcast from his father and is on his own. He/she seems to be doing ok as long as it avoids the sight of his father who will drive him from his territory.

Each year young cassowaries reach to proper stage in their development and they are driven away by their father. They hang around for a few weeks and then disappear never to be seen again. Where they go is a mystery. There is some effort to tag them and to try and determine just where they end up. Unfortunately, recently several have come to grief on the highway.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

The Giant White-tailed Rat

The Giant White-tailed Rat (Uromys caudimaculatus) is just that. A large specimen may weigh 1 kg! These rats are common in rainforests where they have an omnivorous habit feeding on seeds, fruits and small animals. They cause considerable grief to their human neighbours when they chew on plastic and electrical components of automobiles and electric cables in ceilings. Anyone living in the tropics can relate stories to the depredations caused by these creatures.

Residents have discovered a way to cope with White-tailed Rat damage to vehicles is to open the bonnet at night and place a low wattage light over the engine. A bit costly to the electricity bill but nothing when compared to the damage a chewing rant can do after dark.

The power in the jaws and the efficiency of the teeth of the rats is seen on the ground where seeds so tough that it would take a mallet to smash them bear the characteristic chew holes of the rat.

Some people trap and kill the rats but they are a native to the area and belong here, we don't. And it is against the law. So we trap the rats and move them many kilometres distant to areas where they can cause no harm--we think.

Giant White-tailed Rats are formidable. When confronted they emit frightening vocalisations and bear their teeth. Care must be taken when dealing with these creatures. Have a listen to the vocalisations of the caged rat bclicking on the link below!

Thursday, 16 April 2020

A Gecko Bites the Dust

It must be an evolutionary embarrassment for a vertebrate to meet its fate at the hands (or fangs) of an invertebrate. It happens often. Giant centipedes capture nesting birds and roosting bats; large spiders capture birds, lizards and even small snakes.

We have been watching a large Golden Orb-weaver (Nephila pilipes) just outside our bedroom window and discover this morning that it had somehow captured a fairly large gecko overnight. It is probably an Asian House Gecko as they are fairly common both inside and outside the house. But they don't venture far from human habitation.

The photos are not the best because of the precarious position of the spider, my age, and my wife! But look closely and you will see a male spider on the abdomen of the female as she tends to her prey.

 Note two males.
 The small spider is the male of the species--just waiting for his opportunity to mate

Look closely and you will see the head and eye of the prey.

Friday, 10 April 2020

A not-so-welcome resident

A mall Red-bellied Blacksnake has apparently taken up residence around the place. He probably is attracted by the multitude of baby skinks. So one must look down as you walk, especially in the morning sun.

There's More!

Quite a surprise to meet Mr Cassowary and his 2 bubs for the year. He was a bit over anxious and I could not get any premium shots. The two chick look very healthy.