Wildlife at Maleny Wildlife Holiday House
Wildlife on the property at the Holiday House are unusual. Many of them are in the huge dam. In this dam age three families of Platypus.
Information about these creatures: The Platypus have a beaver tail, a furry body and a flat bill. It was taken to the UK and people thought that two animals had been sewn together.
Platypuses are among the few venomous mammals. Males have a spur on the back of their hind feet that is connected to a venom-secreting gland but the males which cause pain and swelling in humans if injected but one has to really upset the Platypus. The ones in the dam are 15 inches long and about 3 lbs.
Platypuses have dense, thick fur that helps them stay warm underwater. Most of the fur is dark brown, except for a patch of lighter fur near each eye, and lighter-colored fur on the underside.
Their front feet have extra skin that acts like a paddle when the animals are swimming. The animals walk awkwardly on their knuckles to protect the webbing.
The bill of a platypus, sometimes called a duck-billed platypus, has a smooth texture that feels like suede. It is also flexible and rubbery. The ones in the dam swim like a small rudder from side to side to feel the water for food. I tell the guests to look for water that has been rippled and heaps of tiny bubbles
They dig burrow in the side of the dam and waterproof, thick fur keeps platypuses warm in the winter which is cold in Maleny and their big tails store extra fat for energy.
I tell guest that the best time to view them is very early or late in the evening as they sleep during the day. They eat the live creatures in the water but no plants. When platypuses find something interesting, like shellfish, insects, larvae or worms, they scoop it up in their bills, store it in their cheek pouches and swim to the surface. Since they only have grinding plates and no teeth, platypuses use any gravel or dirt they scooped up while on the bottom of the waterbed to mash their food into digestible pieces.
Platypuses, however, lay eggs. They are a species of primitive mammals called monotremes. Echidnas, or spiny anteaters, are the only other mammals that lay eggs.
When the female platypus is ready to have her young, she will burrow down inside the ground on the riverbank and seal herself into one of her tunnel rooms. Then, she will lay one or two eggs and place them between her rump and her tail to keep them warm. After about 10 days, the eggs hatch and the little, bean-sized babies will nurse for three to four months. Around the time of weaning, baby platypuses can swim on their own.
Platypuses swim with their front feet and steer with their tails and back feet. They have waterproof fur, skin that covers their ears and eyes, and noses that seal shut to protect the animals while they are underwater. Though platypuses are made for the water, they can’t stay completely submerged. They can only stay underwater for 30 to 140 seconds.
An Echidna on the property
Also other wildlife on the property of Maleny Wildlife Holiday House is the short Beaked echidna is 30 to 45 cm long and 2 to 5 kg and also lays eggs. They have a low body temperature and their legs go out and down causing a waddle when they walk.
They have fur is cream coloured inches long spines made of Keratin. They grub around the property for anything they can find in the way of creatures in the soil. One has to watch off the pathways as they leave holes in the ground. It uses a tongue to capture the creatures. Like the Platypus they have no teeth so use a hard pad in their mouth and their tongue to grind food. They are found all over Australia and southern New Guinea, in contrast to long-beaked echidnas, which reside only in the highlands of New Guinea. Limited only by an insufficient supply of ants or termites, short-beaked echidnas live in a range of climates and habitats. They are able to find shelter in rocks and fallen trees.
Echidnas are largely solitary creatures and only convene to mate. At the beginning of the mating season, which spans from July to August, the female echidna develops a pouch. A few weeks after mating, she digs a burrow and lays one soft, leathery egg into her pouch. After 10 days, a blind, hairless baby echidna (known as a puggle) hatches and attaches itself to a milk patch inside the pouch. For the next 8-12 weeks, the puggle nurses inside the pouch until it develops spines. At this point, the puggle must vacate the pouch, but it still stays in the burrow for the next 6 months and continues to suckle.
Long Neck Turtle:
Long Necked Turtle..(they love a sun bake on the rocks)
Strange looking Wildlife on the property at Holiday House is the Eastern long Neck Turtle. The long-neck’s shell will eventually grow to around 25cm in length, with its neck almost the same length. The upper shell or carapace can vary in colour from light reddish-brown to almost black, while the lower shell or plastron is usually creamy-yellow, sometimes with other dark brown markings. The feet have strong claws and are webbed for swimming. The jaws are made of hard, horn-like material and, if provoked, can deliver a painful bite.
These turtles prey mostly on fish, tadpoles, frogs and crayfish. Large food items are torn apart by the strong front claws.
The female lays between 4-20 hard-shelled eggs during spring and early summer in the bank of a swamp or stream. The young tortoises usually hatch after an incubation time ranging from three to eight months. Some females may produce two or three clutches in one season. they come out onto the rocks in the middle of the dam or on the trunks of the fallen trees to sunbaked during the day. They are only the size of ones hand in size.