Wendy and I went on a tour so we could see some Australian wildlife. I believe the bird above is called a Cape Barren goose which is a large bird resident in Southern Australia. We were fortunate in that we were the only two people on the tour and we had a wonderful guide.
Emus are covered in soft fluffy feathers and can grow up to 2m. They have two sets of eyelids, one for blinking and the other for keeping the dust off.
Finally we came across this little guy. The Kaolas are very high up in the trees and hard to see. Without the guides' help we would probably not have seen any. These animals feed on eucalyptus trees which have a very high water content so the koala does not need to drink often. With all of the forest fires, there have been cases when these animals are so thirsty that they have gone up to humans to get a drink of water.
This Koala started to eat while we watched. While feeding, a koala holds onto a branch with hind paws and one forepaw while the other forepaw grasps the foliage.
Because of the koala's supposed resemblance to a bear, it was often miscalled the koala bear. The koala's geographic range extends throughout eastern and southeastern Australia and covers roughly 390,000 sure miles. The koala was introduced near Adelaide and on several islands including Kangaroo Island and French Island.
We were lucky to actually see the koala being active. Because they get so little energy from their diet, they limit their energy use and sleep or rest 20 hours a day. They are predominantly active at night and spend most of their waking hours feeding. They typically eat and sleep in the same tree, possibly for as long as a day. The koala hugs the tree to lose heat without panting.
Eventually we left this first koala and went to look for another one. This guy was sound asleep. These animals are asocial and spend just 15 minutes a day on social behaviours.
Koalas may live from 13 to 18 years in the wild. Our guide told us that some of the provinces have now disallowed the animals in captivity to be held as it is very stressful for them and can take up to five years off their life. Koalas usually survive falls from trees and immediately climb back up. Males may not live as long as females due to their more hazardous lives-i.e. fighting the males. The bush fires in Australia have been disastrous for the declining population due to the Koalas slow movements and the flammability of the eucalyptus trees. Climate change has also played a factor in their rapidly dwindling numbers.
This last photo was an attempt to show just how high up these guys were.
While we were walking through the bush, our guide pointed out this echidna to us. He said it was a very rare find. The echidna had its head buried to protect itself against us. You can see it has spines like a porcupine. It also has a beak like a bird and a pouch like a Kangaroo. They are small, solitary mammals native to Australia.
A close up look at the pattern of the spines which are actually modified hairs. The fur between their spines provides insulation.