Sunday, September 14, 2014

An Answer: Cute and Sad

Well there were a number of guesses for this  week’s WIIW.


Some were way off, some pretty close and one basically right on the money.

 Susan guessed: “Hmmm, a close-up of some flowering vines growing on a rock?”

Sorry Susan that is way off beam.

 Marcy guessed: “I was going to say a close up of some animal's skin...?”

It is a close up of an animal’s skin. I can award that 75%.

 Lisa Guessed: “I thought animal hide but the purple is throwing me off.”
Well hide probably earns 75% too. 

Linda Guessed, “My first thought was the skin of some animal. Hmm. Not sure what kind, though. Some sort of reptile? “

It is an animal and it is skin, but the reptile guess loses you points so 50%

Kristen M (a zoologist) guessed “It looks like maybe an animal nose?”

I guess I have to pay that guess 100%. It is indeed a nose.
 
So what is the critter in question?

Recently we have had some work done on our track out to civilization. Along the edges where the soil has been disturbed the Blue-Gums are doing what they do best, taking over.

In many spots the disturbed ground is being covered by seedlings already competing to race for the sky.
Blue-gums are one of the favoured foods of a much loved Oz icon.

One night coming home just after dark I spotted this guy to one side taking advantage of the tender new growth.
 
Perhaps it was dazzled by my car headlights, but whatever the reason it let me get out and get really close. 
A less charitable idea is that it didn't quite understand what was happening. Average Oz marsupials are intellectual midgets. Many deal with a low energy environment by having very small brains (brains are energy hungry ours account for about 20% of our calorie use).
The bulk of Oz has poor soils and dry conditions, meaning little plant food available to form the basis of  local food-chains. Koalas are almost literally "empty-headed" when compared to their closet living relative the wombats. 

Of course where Deb and I live is unusual being a rainforest area.

I had a Deb’s pocket camera with me so I had to use the flash (it was really dark in the forest) hence the odd appearance of the eyes.
Despite the flash going off in its eyes it continued eating, letting me get off a few more shots
Then it had enough, turned 
 
and shot up a nearby tree.
A real treat.

Usually you never see much of koalas in the bush. At best they are usually a furry lump right up near the top of a 200 foot high tree.

Now to the sad part of the post.
Although in areas like where we live koala populations are undisturbed and strong. In much of Oz, particularly South East Queensland, the spread of suburbia and farming has destroyed much koala habitat.
Some conservationists argue koalas are becoming endangered. A sad truth is around 4,000 are killed each year from being hit by cars or being attacked by people’s pet dogs.


9 comments:

Kristen M. said...

Well, yay for me but that's very sad about the koalas. We have so many similar situations for animals here in the US with loss of habitat and interference by non-native species (usually cats). We can only hope that something happens to change their inevitable fate.

Anne Gallagher said...

I guess we were both lucky you got the shot of the Koala. I've never seen one that close up before. They're cute in a triangular kind of way.

How is the house coming along? Must be almost finished with it, no?

Lisa said...

Do I remember correctly seeing piccies you took of koalas in trees some time ago and you wishing you could get closer? These are amazing even with the flash.

mshatch said...

He is cute! Cool you got a pic but not cool that Koalas are becoming endangered :(

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Oh how wonderful! That was a close encounter of the most delightful kind. It's funny; as soon as I clicked onto your post today, the close-up pic reminded me of elephant hide. Not even close to being a koala nose, but a lot closer than what I said before!

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Helen Keyes said...

The red eyes make me so scared of this koala. You should take some photos in daylight.

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