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Want to write like a pro? Posted on 19 Mar 18:40

Writing like a pro made easy. Written by Tzar the Paddington Poodle

You simply need to take your audience on an exciting and interesting journey. Think about the books you have read that have been boring. You read a few pages...and never picked it up again...ever!

So, by now you know that your job as a writer is to hold your audience’s attention. You want them to be so immersed in the story that they can’t wait to see what happens next. Each page in your story needs to be a ‘page turner’.

I have put together 7 simple steps to help guide you to creating that amazing story.

  • Create suspense and drama in your story (keep the readers guessing. What happens next?)
    • e.g. set up a dramatic question like “Are they going to make it?

 Bring emotion into your story (what do they feel)

    • e.g. fear – happiness – anger – sadness – love – happiness - dislikes
    • don’t be frightened to bring “death” into your story if it is a part of your story
  • Bring in detail (relevant to the story)
    • This helps build suspense and drama
    • g. he was wearing blue shoes… In the police line-up the person who is there to identify the baddy see’s the blue shoes.
  •  Create a killer Protagonist (the good person/main character)
    • The essential ingredient for creating an amazing protagonist is that they “must make decisions” Create a killer Antagonist(s), there may be more than one (the bad/villain in your story)
    • Have them dripping with evil but behind the scenes
  •  Show, don’t tell
  • When creating a scene that changes the fate of your characters, show us the scene
  •  Edit (re-write, re-write, re-write and edit, edit, edit)
    • Write a minimum or three (3) drafts. In most cases there will be way more
    • First draft – your chance to explore your story and figure out what it’s about
    • Second draft - is meant for major structural changes and for clarifying the plot and characters of your novel or the key ideas of your non-fiction book
    • Third draft - is for deep polishing

The BLACK-NECKED STORK (JABIRU) – listed as “Near Threatened” Posted on 13 Feb 23:51

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

  Eden and Biru, Black-necked storks, feature in my book “The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle, Brahman Bull Encounter” due for release June 2017 and proudly explain to the Tzar when he takes a dip in a fresh water billabong in the Northern Territory, that Black-necked storks are in fact not Jabiru’s though in Australia, they are called. Jabiru’s are in fact refer to a stork species found in the Americas. It is one of the few storks that is strongly territorial when feeding.

These elegant birds, are a large bird, 129–150 cm (51–59 in) tall having a 230-centimetre (91 in) wingspan. The average weight is around 4,100 grams (145 oz).The plumage patterns are conspicuous with younger birds differing from adults. Adults have a glossy bluish-black iridescent head, neck, secondary flight feathers and tail; a coppery-brown crown; a bright white back and belly; bill black with a slightly concave upper edge; and bright red legs. The sexes are identical but the adult female has a yellow iris while the adult male has it brown.

Conservation Status of the Black-necked stork (Jabiru):

  • They are threatened by habitat destruction, the draining of shallow wetlands, overfishing, pollution, collision with electricity wires and hunting.
  • It is evaluated as near threatened on the IUCN Red List.

Here are a few facts about these cute but rarely seen creatures:

  • The Black-necked Stork is the only species of stork that occurs in Australia.
  •  In northern Australia, the species is traditionally called the Jabiru, but this is not an Indigenous name, as is often supposed, but is a Brazilian name which refers to a totally different species of stork which occurs in South and Central America.
  • Lives in shallows of wetlands including billabongs, swamps, floodwaters, wet heathlands, watercourse pools, dams and adjacent savannah woodlands. Prefers fresh water but sometimes found on inter-tidal shores such as margins of mangrove, mudflats and estuaries.

Classification

  • Kingdom:        Animalia
  • Phylum:          Chordata
  • Class:             Aves
  • Order:             Ciconiiformes
  • Family:           Ciconiidae
  • Genus:           Ephippiorhynchus
  • Species:         E. asiaticus

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-necked_stork

http://www.australianbushbirds.info/infe/ephippiorhynchus_asiaticus.html

 


The SPECTACLED FLYING FOX – listed as “Vulnerable” Posted on 5 Feb 20:30

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

   Hugo, the Spectacled Flying Fox, features in my book “The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle, Goanna Encounter” and proudly explains to the poodles the important role he and his species have in pollinating and keeping the rainforests of Far North Queensland lush.

These beautiful flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus), are also known as the spectacled fruit bat, and is a megabat that lives in Australia's north-eastern regions of Queensland. It is also found in New Guinea and on the offshore islands including Woodlark Island, Alcester Island, Kiriwina, and Halmahera.

Conservation Status of the Spectacled Flying Fox:

  • The spotted cuscus is rarely seen in Australia because it is a very sky creature.
  • In 2012, the Queensland Government reintroduced the issuing of permits which allows farmers and fruit-growers (with permits) to kill limited numbers of flying foxes in order to protect crops. The shooting of bats had been banned by the previous Qld government after advice from the Qld Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) that the practice was inhumane.  
  • under the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

Here are a few facts about these important animals:

  • Spectacled flying foxes are forest dwellers and rainforests are their preferred habitat.
  • They prefer to roost in the middle and upper canopy strata in the full sun.
  • Colonies of the spectacled flying fox can be found in rainforests, mangroves, and paperbark and eucalypt.
  • No colony is known to be located more than 7 km from a rainforest.
  • Spectacled flying foxes have one pup annually.
  • Spectacled flying foxes typically live to be around 12 to 15 years old, but in captivity can exceed 30 years of age.
  • The juveniles fly out for increasing distances with the colony at night and are 'parked' in nursery trees, often kilometres distant from the colony, and are brought back to the colony in the morning.
  • The spectacled flying fox's natural diet is rainforest fruits, riparian zone flowers, and flowers from Myrtaceae (primarily Eucalyptus and Syzygium species) and fruits from the Moraceae (figs) and Myrtaceae (primarily Syzygium).

Classification

  • Kingdom:     Animalia
  • Phylum:       Chordata
  • Class:          Mammalia
  • Order:          Chiroptera
  • Family:         Phalangeridae
  • Genus:        Pteropus
  • Species:      conspicillatus

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectacled_flying_fox

http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/41675/FlyingFox_Fact_Sheet.pdf

 

 


The FRILLED-NECKED LIZARD – listed as “Least Concerned” Posted on 29 Jan 21:01

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

  An iconic lizard, the Frilled-neck is Australia’s version of a dragon, all be it in miniature. They are perfectly harmless. Featuring in my books The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle, Cattle Dog Encounter and Brahman Bull Encounter, scheduled for release June 2017 these tiny lizards snap open their frills when they are frightened, and it gapes its mouth, exposing a bright pink or yellow lining; it spreads out its frill, displaying bright orange and red scales; raises its body; and sometimes holds its tail above its body. This reaction is used for territorial displays, to discourage predators, and during courtship

Conservation Status of the Frilled-Necked lizard:

  • Various threats are likely to be causing declines in this species. Late dry season fires in the Northern Territory were responsible for an approximate 30% mortality rate in a small monitored population in Kakadu National Park, though no mortality was recorded in the early dry season fires (Griffiths 1994). Local population declines have also been reported after the arrival of the cane toad, Rhinella marina (Breeden 1963). Predation by cats has also caused declines in this species (Brook et al. 2004). In the Trans-Fly region of New Guinea, this species is reported to be "highly sought after for the pet trade" (Allison 2006).
  • The Frilled-Necked lizard, has been assessed as Least Concern owing to its large distribution. There are a number of localized threats causing small population declines, however, these are not impacting over large parts of this species' range. Monitoring should continue as an increase in threat levels and therefore population decline will trigger a threat category in the future.

Here are a few facts about these interesting creatures:

  • The Frilled-Necked lizards are endemic to the northern regions of Australia and southern regions of New
  • A frill-necked lizard was featured on the reverse of the Australian 2-cent coin until 1991.
  • A frill-necked lizard, known as "Lizzie," was the mascot for the 2000 Paralympic Games.
  • The emblem of the Australian Army's Regional Force Surveillance Unit, NORFORCE (North-West Mobile Force) of the Kimberleys and Northern Territory is the frill-necked lizard.
  • Because of its unique appearance and behaviour, the frilled-necked lizard is commonly used in film and television.
  • A frilled-necked lizard named Frank appears in the Disney film The Rescuers Down Under. 
  • In the film Jurassic Park, the dinosaur Dilophosaurus was portrayed with a fictional neck frill, which was raised during attack, similar to that of a frilled-neck lizard. The movie generated an increase in demand for frill-necked lizards as pets. 
  • In the CGI animated film Blinky Bill the Movie Jacko a frill-necked lizard wears a black t-shirt voiced by David Wenham.

 Classification

  • Species:     kingii
  • Genus:       Chlamydosaurus
  • Family:       Agamidae
  • Order:        Squamata
  • Class:        Sauropsida
  • Phylum:     Chordata
  • Kingdom:   Animalia

 References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlamydosaurus

http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/frilled_lizard.html

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/frilled-lizard/

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/170384/0


The SPOTTED CUSCUS – listed as “Vulnerable” Posted on 23 Jun 00:00

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

 Guss the Cuscus, features in my book “The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle, Goanna Encounter”.  In the story, he had been forced move his family from the rainforest to the safety of the rafters of the Port Douglas Animal refuge after a devastating cyclone tore apart his favourite tree. 

Over the past 10 years we must have done at least 20 + trips to Far North Queensland Australia and I was quite despondent to have not come across these cute little creatures.  It was in the summer of 2010 when my luck changed. We had been holidaying in Port Douglas Australia, and decided to extend our trip and head up north to the tiny village of Cooktown.  A flash flood warning had been sent out, but we were not to be deterred, so we hopped in the car and off we went. On our way back from Cooktown the clouds burst open and down came the rain. So we were not surprised to find ourselves trapped on the northern side of the McCloud river crossing.  There was a convoy of travellers trapped along with us so we hung around for a while and watched as the river levels rose, is seemed to be the thing to do.  We chatted to a father and son who were sauntering around the country side and we hit it off immediately. After a while we realised that there would be no crossing taking place until the next day. There was nothing for us or our new friends to do save find a dry spot to bed down for the night so we set up camp under the canopy of a gigantic fig tree and lit a fire to keep ourselves dry. We pooled our resources and whipped ourselves up a great meal.  The Mum and the son Andrew scrounged around and were able rustle up the ingredients to make a mean cosmopolitan which was christened later that night as the “McCloud river Cosmo”. 

As I lay next to the fire gnawing on a big T bone, I had the distinct feeling that we were being watched. The feeling niggled at me so I left my bone and moved away from the light of the fire and peered into the darkness. I thought that some ground dwelling animal may have been stalking us, but I couldn’t see any eyes glowing back at me. Just as I was about to head back to my juicy bone, I looked up to the branches overhead, and to my utter surprise there hanging by its tail was the elusive Cuscus.  There was a handsome male with tan coloured fur and big creamy patches all over it body, and a beautiful little pure white female dangling from one of the low lying branches.

As you can imagine, I was chuffed to have finally had the opportunity meet these cute little creatures in the wild.  

Conservation Status of the Common Spotted Cuscus:

  • The spotted cuscus is rarely seen in Australia because it is a very sky creature.
  • It was introduced to a number of islands and has since flourished.
  • As of today, it is listed as least concern. However, continued human expansion, an increase in demand for cuscus meat and pelts, and the destruction of its natural habitat could lead to the demise in the spotted cuscus predominance.
  • Cuscus are potentially vulnerable to a loss of habitat resulting from changes in fire regimes, particularly an increased incidence of late dry season fires which can damage the edges of rainforest patches.
  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy implements a prescribed burning program to protect the edges of rainforests and riparian gallery forest.

Here are a few facts about these cute but rarely seen creatures:

  • Common Spotted Cuscus is a type of large of possum that resembles a monkey in appearance.
  • They can be found in rainforests and adjacent forests on Cape York Peninsula north of Coen, including the Iron and McIlwraith Ranges.
  • The common Spotted Cuscus also occurs in New Guinea.
  • They are about the size of a house cat approximately 35 – 45 cm (body) and weighing about 1.5 – 6 kg.
  • Their tail is described as Prehensile (having rough rasp like scales on the inside surface to grip branches) and is approximately 30 – 40 cm long.
  • Their tail along with their “two-thumbed” hands allows the Cuscus to cling to branches and move through the rainforest canopy.
  • It has a round, bare-skinned face; large, forward-looking eyes; small hidden ears, pink-orange snout.
  • It has a prehensile tail to aid in climbing.
  • Its coat is thick and woolly and varies in colour. , hands and tail, and a coat that is either grey (females) or spotted grey-white or brown –white (males), some are just white.
  • They are generalist herbivores, consuming the foliage and fruits of a variety of rainforest trees and vines.
  • They also inhabit Nipa palms, freshwater and saline mangroves, large paperbarks and other tree species growing in riparian gallery forests.
  • Cuscuses are nocturnal and nest in hollow trees and clumps of vegetation at night time.
  • All the members of the Cuscus family have five toes on each foot. Four of these toes have large claws; the innermost toe is opposable and has no claw. 

Classification

  • Kingdom:    Animalia
  • Phylum:      Chordata
  • Class:         Mammalia
  • Subclass:   Marsupialia
  • Order:         Diprotodontia
  • Family:        Phalangeridae
  • Genus:       Spilocuscus
  • Species:     S. maculatus

 References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_spotted_cuscus

http://www.australianwildlife.org/wildlife/common-spotted-cuscus.aspx


The BLACK-FOOTED TREE-RAT – listed as “Endangered” Posted on 16 Jun 00:00

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

 Featured in my book The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle, Braham Bull Encounter Djinta and Moomba are two Black-Footed Tree-Rats that reside in the hollows of the large eucalyptus that surround the Heart Break hotel in the Top End, or the Northern Territory of Australia. The book is scheduled for release early 2017.

Having spent over 5 months in the Top End, it was inevitable that we would come across these interesting creatures. Our first encounter with these cute rats was when we camped out at the famous Heartbreak hotel in Cape Crawford. Cape Crawford is approximately 867.4 kilometres south east of Darwin and 160 kilometres south-west of Borroloola on the west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria and is the launching pad for exploring enthusiasts of the “Lost City” a geological wonderland of sandstone skyscrapers located in the Limmen National Park.

We were minding our own business kicking back under the shade of a large banyan tree, when I caught a glimpse of a white tuft of hair as it disappeared into the hollow of a tree. I really wanted to see it again, so I sat there for the next two hours waiting for it to re-appear.  Just as I was about to give up thinking that I had being seeing things, it popped its head out of the safety of its hollow and scampered down the trunk of tree and stopped on one of the branches. It just sat there watching us with its long white tipped black tail hanging down.  Fascinated, Ziggy and I watched as it proceeded to preen itself rubbing its paws over its face. Over the next few months we spotted them from time to time running up and down the trunk of large eucalyptus trees.

Now I know you may not be interested in these little beasts because they’re rodents, but trust me, they are cute and adorable, in fact they remind me of squirrels. Most importantly, they play a significant part in the balance of Australia’s ecology. 

Like all endangered animals, it breaks my heart to tell you that the Black-Footed Tree-Rat is on the threatened list.  I am deeply saddened to think that our children’s children may not have the opportunity to experience these unique and wonderful indigenous creatures.

Conservation Status of the Black-Footed Tree-Rat

  • The black-footed tree-rat is one of a suite of Top End mammals showing evidence of sharp decline within the past ten years (Woinarski et al Conservation status Australia: Endangered Northern Territory: Vulnerable BLACK-FOOTED TREE-RAT Mesembriomys gouldii 2 2010). Recent monitoring in Kakadu and Gunak Gurig Barlu National Parks has not recorded any tree-rats in areas where they were previously in good numbers.
  • This species qualifies as Vulnerable in the NT (under criterion A2ab), based on: · population reduction of >30 – 50% per cent over the last ten years where the cause of reduction may not have ceased.
  • The main driver of the decline of this species is not easily defined. Studies have shown that it is disadvantaged by frequent fire, probably because of its requirement for tree hollows, and its habitat preference for a shrubby understory (Friend 1987).
  • In addition to the requirement for a diverse shrubby understory (mediated by infrequent fire regimes), the species also requires large trees, and is notably disadvantaged by forest fragmentation (Rankmore 2006).
  • Predation by feral cats may also be having an impact on this species although the degree to which this occurs is not known.
  • There is an estimated 30,000 surviving.
  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy protect the habitat of the Black-Footed Tree-Rat on it sanctuaries in northern Australia. 

Here are a few facts about these attractive rodents:

  • Black-Footed Tree-Rats are endemic to the northern regions of Australia. These cute rats are one of Australia’s largest rodents, weighing up to 830g.
  • They are the Australian equivalent of a squirrel.
  • They have with long shaggy medium grey to black fur on top, pale underside, large black ears and a distinctive long hairy tail with a brush of white hair that looks like it has been dipped in white paint. Their hind feet are black with strong claws.
  • Found in the Top End of the Northern Territory (NT) in tropical woodlands and open forests in coastal areas. They can also be found in the Kimberley in Western Australia, and the east and west coastal areas of Cape York Peninsula south to Townsville and inland to the Lynd Junction, where it is far less common.
  • They have been spotted in the following conservation reserves:
  • Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park, Gunak Gurig Barlu National Park, Charles Darwin National Park, Berry Springs Nature Park, Holmes Jungle Nature Park and Manton Dam Recreation Area.
  • Hard fruits and seeds are a major component of their diet, supplemented by grass and invertebrates and other seasonal resources such as nectar rich flowers.

 Classification

  • Species:     M. gouldii
  • Genus:       Mesembriomys
  • Family:       Muridea
  • Order:        Rodentia
  • Class:        Mammalia
  • Phylum:     Chordata
  • Kingdom:    Animalia

 References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-footed_tree-rat

http://www.parksandwildlife.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/354749/DLRM_Wildlife-Guidelines_Tree-Rat_web.pdf

http://australianmuseum.net.au/dingo

http://dingo.livingin-australia.com/dingo-facts.html

http://www.awrc.org.au/uploads/5/8/6/6/5866843/john_woinarski-handraising_black_footed_tree_rats.pdf


The GALAH – listed as “Least Concern” Posted on 9 Jun 00:00

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

 Normally I would write a blog on one of our endangered wildlife, but after hearing an amazing story about these perky little pink and grey birds, I just had to put pen to paper.  I was out shopping when I bumped into one on my neighbours.

Jo and  her beautiful big groodle were kicking back having morning tea and enjoying the heat from the autumn sun, so I plonked myself down at the table beside her and we chatted about everything “nature”. 

Now, who would have thought that birds would play like human beings?  It would be hard for most of us to believe, unless we were a witness to it, but I was not in the least bit surprised given the amazing things I have seen on my travels around Australia.

Jo and her husband were renovating their house in the country and had just finished putting the last sheet of colourbond on the roof. They downed tools and quickly cleaned up and sat outside in the garden.  Feeling very chuffed with their efforts they poured themselves a glass of red wine and sat back to admire their handy work, when a flock of galahs flew into the yard and perched themselves on the surrounding trees. There would have been at least thirty or more of these plucky birds, all screeching at the same time and generally making as much of a racket as they could.

Feeling frisky, the galahs decided to play games swinging from branch to branch like they were kids in a playground. One side of the roof was very steep so they used it as a slippery dip. They would fly to the peak, then close their wings and slide down the roof on their backs. As they skidded towards the gutter they would unfold their wings and take flight and chase each other around then do it all over again. The galahs were having such a great time, playing slip and slide and Jo and her husband sat in awe and watched these beautiful Australian birds having fun for the next two hours.

What a magical thing to bear witness to.

Whether our indigenous wildlife are on the endangered list or not, it is our responsibility to make sure that we take care of our environment so that our children and our children’s children can enjoy our rich flora and fauna.

Here are a few facts about these beautiful birds:

  • The galah is also known as the rose-breasted cockatoo, galah cockatoo or the roseate cockatoo.
  • They can be found in all parts of mainland Australia.
  • The term galah is derived from gilaa, a word found in Yuwaalaraay and neighbouring Aboriginal languages.
  • The galah nests in tree cavities.
  • The galah can reach up to 70 – 80 years of age when living in captivity.
  • The galah socialises adequately and can engage playfully in entertainment activities.
  • The galah can be easily identified by its rose-pink head, neck and underparts, with paler pink crown, and gray back, wings and undertail.
  • Birds from the west of Australia have comparatively paler plumage.
  • Galahs have a bouncing acrobatic flight, but spend much of the day sheltering from heat in the foliage of trees and shrubs.
  • Huge noisy flocks of birds congregate and roost together at night.
  • Galahs form huge, noisy flocks which feed on seeds, mostly from the ground.
  • Galahs form permanent pair bonds, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies.

 Classification

 References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah

http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Eolophus-roseicapillus

  


The Goanna – listed as “Endangered” Posted on 2 Jun 11:10

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.   

 Claw the Goanna, one of the stars in my book “The Adventures of Tzar the Paddington Poodle, Goanna Encounter” due for release July 2016, is one of several Australian monitor lizards that are endemic this great country.

It wouldn’t be an outback trip if we didn’t come across a Goanna or two. Mind you, Goannas can be found throughout Australia so you have a good chance to see them on your travels. Lucky for me, I have come across quite a few of these harmless yet interesting creatures.  My last encounter was with a fine-looking lace monitor when the folks, Ziggy and I stopped for lunch in the beautiful village of Byron Bay in the northern rivers area of NSW.  It was obvious that the Goanna was comfortable around humans, because it slowly made its way through the centre of the restaurant without a care in the world.  At one stage, I thought it was going to pull up a chair and join us for a bite.  Now I know what you’re thinking, that we were lunch, but the truth is that these lizards are generally harmless. It had it eye on the piece of chicken we had on our plates and NOT us.

I always feel very privileged to come across our wildlife especially when I get to see them in the wild and not locked up in a Zoo. Mind you, I am not at all adverse to Zoo’s, they have a very important role to play in the preservation of the animal species especially those who can no longer survive in their natural habitat. 

Now I know some of you may be terrified of these carnivorous beasts but they play a very, very important role in balancing our ecology.  They are one of the few remaining large predators on this great southern land.  Interesting tidbit: The favourite source of food for Goannas in the northern areas of Australia are crocodile eggs.  In fact over 90% of crocodile eggs never hatch because their natural predator is the Goanna.  Who said nature doesn’t balance itself.  Unfortunately, the toxic Cane toad is wiping out big lizards across the north and there is an expectation that the crocodile population will explode in the future!

Like all endangered animals, it breaks my heart to tell you that the iconic Goanna is on the decline.  I am deeply saddened to think that our children’s children may only get to know them through folklore and not in the wild like I have.

Conservation Status of Australian goannas

  • The reptiles including the goannas and mammals of the Kimberley and are facing serious population crashes at the hands of that particularly dangerous invasive species, the cane toad.
  • All goannas are under threat and are listed “Vulnerable to Endangered”
  • The main driver of the decline of this species habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation through;
    •  land clearance and grazing
    • Removal of termite mounds and fallen trees and logs from bush- and grazing-land.
    • Cane toad – for our northern goannas
    • High road mortality especially in areas with sealed roads and higher speed limits.

Here are a few facts about these iconic Australian lizards:

  • There are 25 species of goanna in Australia and about 30 in the world.
  • The goanna features prominently in Aboriginal mythology and Australian folklore.
  • Goannas are predatory lizards and eat any animal it can catch and will also eat carrion, carcasses of dead animals and are attracted to rotten meat.
  • Goannas lay eggs in a nest or burrow, but some species lay their eggs inside termite mounds.
  • Unlike some other species of lizards, goannas do not have the ability to regrow limbs or tails.
  • The biggest Australian goanna is the perentie which can reach up to 2.5 metres in length and is found in the dry inland areas of Australia.
  • The Lace goanna is the second biggest Australian goanna and can grow up to 2 metres in length. It is found on the eastern seaboard of Australia.
  • The most common goanna is the Sand monitor which is sometimes called Goulds Goanna or another name is Racehorse Goanna.
  • The smallest goanna reaches only 20 cm in length and is the short-tailed monitor.
  • Goannas are found throughout most of Australia, except Tasmania.
  • Goanna rear up on their hind legs to scare off their attackers.
  • Termite mounds are used to incubate eggs and food for the new born.

 Classification

  • Kingdom:      Animalia
  • Phylum:        Chordata
  • Class:           Reptilia
  • Order:           Squamata
  • Suborder:     Scleroglossa
  • Family:         Varanidae
  • Genus:         Varanus
  • Species:       V. varius

 References

http://projectkimberley.org/news/goanna-sperm

http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/goannas-monitor-lizards.html

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/savingourspeciesapp/project.aspx?ProfileID=10826


Every little bit counts! Posted on 27 Apr 16:37

 


The Mahogany Glider – listed as “Endangered” Posted on 17 Apr 21:04

   

Written by: Tzar the Paddington Poodle.

These very shy, cute little gliders with their beautiful big brown eyes just melt my heart. One of the real treats of travelling to Mission Beach in Far North Queensland, is the opportunity to have an up close and personal encounter with these gorgeous but rarely seen creatures.

We had made good time on our drive from Sydney to FNQ and we arrived ahead of schedule which meant that our holiday rental in the beautiful township of Mission Beach was not ready. So we decided to camp out near the cute small town of Cardwell just an hour’s drive from Mission Beach.

The evening had cooled significantly, so we were able to light a campfire to keep me and the gang warm and to give light to the campsite. Just on dusk as we kicked back to play cards, Mother Nature took over and lit the sky in a rainbow of colours. As luck would have it, a big male Mahogany Glider all 275mm of it, scurried down the trunk of a big Bloodwood tree from the hollow high above, to check out what we were up to. The hollow was his home where he and his family sought refuge from predators. 

We watched as he played peak-a-boo, popping in and out from behind the tree till we gained his trust.  Then to our delight, the whole family came out to play scurrying up and down the tree chasing each other.

Sadly the news I bear is not good for us and our future generations. Our furry friends, the Mahogany Glider is on the endangered list and it’s only a matter of time before they will no longer are around for us to admire. I feel dismayed that our children of tomorrow will not be able to experience this unique and wonderful Australian cutie.

 Conservation Status of the Mahogany Glider

  • Land clearing for agriculture, grazing, forestry, human settlements and infrastructure development has greatly reduced and severely fragmented the Mahogany Glider’s available habitat by 49%, from 276 880 to 141 121 ha (Jackson et al. 2011). Previous estimates of decline of 80% (i.e. from 533 345 to 106 669 ha (DEWHA 2008zzm)) were based on pre-clearing mapping that erroneously grouped grassland and forest together as ‘forest’ habitat.
  • It is ranked as a critical priority under the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP)
  • With such a limited distribution and the ongoing effects of past, extensive habitat clearing, the future of this species will rely on our ability to manage remaining essential habitat, restore connectivity and hopefully create new viable habitat for the future.
  • The mahogany glider is listed as 'Endangered' under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992(NCA) and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999(EPBC Act).

 Here are a few facts about these beautiful marsupials:

  • The Mahogany Glider is a small gliding possum occurring in Queensland
  • It is nocturnal, elusive and silent
  • The Mahogany Glider receives its name from its buff-coloured belly. The top of the head is pale and bears a dark stripe.
  • Fully grown Mahogany Gliders are around 600 mm long from head to tail-tip and weigh 300-450 grams.
  • The Mahogany Glider, in common with other gliders, has a fold of skin which stretches between the front and rear legs. This acts as a parachute enabling the glider to glide for distances averaging 30 metres and sometimes longer. The long tail is used for stabilisation especially when coming in to land on tree trunks.
  • Mahogany gliders are much larger than their closest relative, the squirrel glider, with which they may be confused in the wild.
  • Mahogany gliders are restricted to the coastal southern Wet Tropics region of northern Queensland.
  • The Mahogany Glider forages alone at night feeding on nectar, pollen and sap from over twenty different species of trees and shrubs.
  • Nectar and pollen feeding gliders are known to provide an important ecosystem function as pollinators of tree species such as some eucalyptus and Banksia.
  • Mahogany gliders use hollows in large eucalypts and bloodwoods as dens for sleeping and rearing their young.
  • Mahogany gliders live in a narrow and highly fragmented band of lowland sclerophyll forest extending around 140 km from Toomulla, north of Townsville QLD, to Tully QLD and up to 40 km inland.

Classification

  • Species:          gracilis
  • Genus:            Petaurus
  • Family:            Petauridae
  • Order:             Diprotodontia
  • Infraclass:      Marsupialia
  • Class:             Mammalia
  • Phylum:          Chordata
  • Kingdom:        Animalia

 

References

https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/mahogany_glider.html

https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/mahogany_glider.html