Australia is lucky enough to have several species of brightly coloured Lorikeets.  Named after their stunning technicoloured appearance, rainbow lorikeets are a beautiful sight in many Australian backyards, parks and gardens. In the early 1900s Rainbow lorikeet numbers were concerning, but after protections were put in place, their numbers have steadily built over the last 60 odd years. Larger birds, feral cats and the international parrot trade still pose a threat to these stunning birds, but their numbers are currently strong.

Hunter Valley Wildlife Park’s walk through Lorikeet Sanctuary is home to Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly Breasted Lorikeets, and Red-Collared Lorikeets.  Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park also boasts a selection of Lorikeets in their aviary.

 

RAINBOW LORIKEET – TRIGLOSSUS HAEMATODUS

C175: 25.30CM

SEXES: SIMILAR

HABITAT: Found in open forests and closed

DIET: Their diet consists of nectar, pollen, fruit, seeds and insects

BREEDING: Both sexes prepare the nest cavity and feed the young, but only the female incubates

the egg. The clutch size is between and s eggs, which are incubated for 25 days.

 

SCALY BREASTED LORIKEET – TRICHOGLOSSUS CHLOROLEPIDOTUS

GENERAL INFORMATION: Although wide easterly

distribution, often locally common in southern Queensland.

SIZE: 23CM

SEXES: SIMILAR

HABITAT: Woodland, urban parks and gardens

DIET: Eucalyptus and Banksia flowers, not as adaptable to cultivated foods as the familiar Rainbow Lorikeet

BREEDING: May-February, nests are made in a tree hollow. 2-3 eggs laid and incubated for 29 days.

 

RED-COLLARED LORIKEET – TRICHOGLOSSUS RUBRITORQUIS

GENERAL INFORMATION: similar to the Raindow Lorikeet, replacing the former in the Northern Territory and Kimberely region.

SEXES: SIMILAR

Largest Australian Lorikeet, they are less tolerant of urbanisation than their cousins.

SIZE: 26 CM

HABITAT: Woodland, swamps, parks and gardens.

DIET: Range of native flower nectar and insect larvae

BREEDING: Aug-Dec, 1-3 eggs laid in a tree hollow and incubated for 23 days. Young fledge at 8-9 weeks.

 

Common Wombats are a short, robust marsupial native to south-east Australia and Tasmania. They can grow to an average length of 90-120cm, and can weigh anywhere from 20-39kgs. They have course brown fur, small slightly pointed ears and a round black nose. The toes on their front feet all face forwards to aid in digging, and the claws on the back toes are long to aid in digging and grooming. Due to their natural digging behaviours, wombats have developed a backward-facing pouch, to avoid dirt flying into it. Common Wombats have a hard, cartilaginous plate in their lower back and rump, which they use for protection against predators. The Common Wombat has a lifespan of 15-20 years in captivity, and 10-15 years in the wild.

Diet

Common Wombats are a herbivorous species, feeding on grass, roots and leaves.

Social organisation and Reproduction

Common Wombats are a solitary animal, coming together only for breeding, which can occur almost any time of year. Usually one joey is born, approximately 30 days after mating occurs. As with all marsupials, Common Wombats are a marsupial, and joeys will develop in the female’s pouch. Common Wombat joeys usually remain in the pouch for the first 8-10 months of development, and then spend the next 10-12 months developing out of the pouch, but remaining with their mother. Joeys will feed on milk from the pouch until the age of 12-15 months, at which time it will feed completely on solid foods.

One of the most iconic animals known to Australia, Koalas are often mistakenly called the “Koala Bear”. Koalas are not a bear, but are in fact a marsupial. Koalas have thick fur that ranges from very light to very dark grey on the head and body, with white patching on the bottom, chest and ears. They have 5 digits on each hand- 3 work like fingers, and 2 work like thumbs. Koalas also have no claw on their thumb toe, and two toes joined together with separate claws. Koalas have small eyes and a large black nose, and sleep for 18-20 hours a day, primarily waking in the night-time to eat, fight and mate. Males can weigh up to 14kgs, and females up to 10kgs. Koalas have a lifespan of 12-15 years in captivity, and 8-10 years in the wild.

Diet

Koalas feed exclusively on Eucalyptus leaves. They have specially designed gut flora that assists in safe digestion without being affected by the leaves’ toxins. Koalas rarely drink water, attaining their hydration through the Eucalyptus leaves. In times of drought or bushfire Koalas have been known to drink large amounts of water, even venturing into areas populated by humans for water sources.

Social organisation and Reproduction

Koalas are fairly solitary animals, but come together for breeding season. A group of koalas living in the same area can be considered a population, with older, stronger males being dominant or alpha-males. Fighting is common, especially between males protecting territory. Males will breed with several females in a breeding season. Females give birth to one jellybean-sized joey, occasionally two- however the occurrence of both surviving is extremely rare. Joeys will develop in the mother’s pouch for 7 months, venturing out when fully developed and riding on their mother’s chest or back. The joey will feed on the mother’s faeces (known as ‘pap’) for 6 weeks to develop the gut flora necessary for digestion. At 12-15 months of age, koala joeys will leave their mother in search of their own territory.

Why are they endangered?

While you can’t cuddle a Koala in NSW, at Featherdale Sydney you can get close to a Koala and possibly event pat one in our Koala Encounter.

The Australian Dingo is believed to have been introduced to Australia from Asia between 1000-5000 years ago. Dingoes stand at up to 70cm tall, weighing 12-24kg, with red, white or black fur. They have a slim build and erect ears, with a long, narrow snout and bushy tail. In comparison to domestic dogs of similar size, Dingoes have larger canines. In winter Dingoes develop a thick winter fur coat, which they shed during spring and summer.

Dingoes are an opportunistic predator, and will feed on a variety of mammals, including wallabies, kangaroos, rabbits and possums, as well as reptiles and birds.

Social organisation and Reproduction

Dingoes live in small packs of 3-12 members, with an alpha male and an alpha female. Communication is made through scent marking in faeces, and howling. Dingoes do not bark as is the case with domestic dogs. The alpha male and female will usually be the only breeding pair in the pack, with other subordinate members assisting in the rearing of pups. Gestation is 9 weeks, with an average litter size of 4-6 pups. Pups are born in a den where they will remain until large and strong enough to travel outside. They are weaned at 4 months of age and are usually independent between 6-12 months of age.

Why are they endangered?

 

Tasmanian Devils are the largest living carnivorous marsupial, standing at 80-90cm in height and weighing anywhere from 6-14kgs. They have thick black fur, with fleshy pink ears and snout, and a white strip of fur running across their collar bone from shoulder to shoulder. They have shorter hind legs than front legs, and a strong, powerful jaw with large canines top and bottom.

Diet

Tasmanian Devils are carnivorous opportunistic scavengers, feeding on the carcasses of medium-large vertebrates such as mammals and birds, as well as large invertebrates. They will gorge themselves on meat, consuming up to 40% of their own body weight in one feed. There may be a small group of individuals feeding on the one carcass at once.

Social organisation and Reproduction

Tasmanian Devils are primarily solitary animals, living in territories that may intersect other individual’s territories. Each territory will have 3-4 dens, which can be utilised for years, especially by females with young. In the weeks leading up to oestrus, females will develop a fat roll on the back of their neck, and will slowly decrease their food intake. Mating rituals involve males fighting over a female, with the victor then attempting to “woo” the female. The male and female will exchange vocalisations and re-enact the male-male fighting, without causing actual harm. Once a male has convinced a female that he is strong enough and genetically fit, he will bite the fat roll on her neck and drag her to the den for mating. Copulation can last anywhere from 12 hours to 5 days, with the male resting to watch the opening to the den in case of other males. A female can mate with several males in one breeding cycle, and males will mate with as many females as possible to ensure their genetics continue. After a gestation period of around 21 days, a female will give birth to up to 40 joeys. Only a maximum of 4 joeys will survive, as the female only has 4 teats in her pouch. All unsuccessful joeys are eaten by the mother for protein. The joeys will develop in the pouch for approximately 16 weeks, and are then placed in the den where they will dig their own side-dens for protection against other devils and predators. At 36 weeks of age, joeys are independent and will leave the den shortly after.

In the wild, Tasmanian Devils suffer from a terrible and deadly disease called “Devil Facial Tumour Disease” (DFTD). This disease causes large, painful tumours to develop on the Tasmanian Devil’s face and neck, disabling them from eating or drinking. Within 3 months an infected individual will most likely starve to death. The disease is transmitted primarily through saliva when biting.

Why are they endangered?