Traveling the Outback and the Animals to be Aware of
As a native pommy, the outback of Australia has always frightened me a little bit.
However, learning that the ‘drop bear’ is in fact a mythical creature intrigued me to look into exactly what I may encounter when exploring the outback of Australia.
Here is what I found out…
Possibly the most famous animal in the nation is the Kangaroo. The world’s biggest marsupial can be found across most of Australia. They are known to be quite sociable animals and travel in ‘mobs’ of up to 100. Kangaroos live on mainly leaves, bark, and if they feel a threat will stamp their feet to warn others. Kangaroos’ legs are extremely powerful and when running full pelt can reach speeds of up to 60km per hour. Catch me if you can!
The salt water crocodile – often referred to as ‘the pet of the devil’ – is the most notorious animal of Australia. Thriving mainly in Darwin and its surrounding areas, these powerful creatures can weigh up to 2,500 pounds and have been reported to reach lengths of up to 28.3ft long! It will eat anything that enters its domain; human, cattle, or even tigers. Once its infamous ‘death roll’ has started, it is impossible to escape. Top that with amazing jaw strength and you have one hell of an exciting but dangerous animal.
The Redback Spider
Many an Aussie pub overseas has been named after this well-known arachnid. The ‘redback’ is a venomous but stunningly beautiful spider. Distinctive by the females red markings, they are found all over Australia but most commonly in the ‘dunny’ or outside toilet up north. Their terrific speed makes them hard to catch; however, they are quite common so getting a good snap is possible. Their life span varies depending on the sex; males live for six months whereas females may live up to 3 years. As mentioned before red backs are venomous. If you are bitten, don’t panic. Symptoms normally kick in after about 3 hours and in most cases are not deadly. Unlike the reaction needed for a bite from the funnel web spider, do not place any type of tourniquet round the affected area as this will only increase the pain.
The Thorny Devil
Menacing in appearance but pretty harmless to humans, this small exciting lizard is mainly found in sand across the plains. Covered from head to toe in small spikes, resembling a very small version of the stegosaurus dinosaur, the thorny devil lives on a diet of ants and can munch up to a thousand a day. Slightly rarer than your standard gecko, they are found in a variety of colours and aren’t that shy from humans so you may even get to pet one!
Major Mitchell Cockatoo
The Major Mitchell cockatoo is one of the most stunning birds in the world. It is light pink with an outstanding red and yellow Mohican stretching all the way across its head. Found nesting mainly in eucalyptus trees, this type of cockatoo gets its name from an army veteran who fell in love with them at first sight and wrote many articles detailing their beauty. Often kept as pets, they do become more aggressive as they get older so keeping them in the wild, much like any other animal is the best idea.
Often found in the Northern territories, the brown snake is the second most venomous on land. It is about 1.5 metres in length and is easily confused with the’ king brown,’ which is much larger. Its colour, although deceptively described as brown, can vary from dark shades of yellow all the way up to grey. Its markings normally consist of red and brown spots on the belly and many have different coloured bands across the top of their head. Known for its speed and aggression, brown snakes are excellent hunters. However, when confronted they will usually try and flee to avoid confrontation, just watch where you are stepping.
Australia has one of the most interesting and biggest varieties of different species of animals in the world. Whilst many are harmful, accident does seem to be easily avoidable. After finding out about what there is to see in the outback, I feel the sooner I get there the better.