Endangered Leadbeater’s Possum

The Endangered Leadbeaters Possum lives mostly in tall upland forests!

The Leadbeater’s possum was thought to be extinct for almost 50 years. It is at risk of extinction so its battle to survive is considerable. Logging and large bushfires across Victoria have destroyed habitat and is what wipes out large numbers of the species in very short periods of time. Breeding programs in captivity have been largely unsuccessful.

There are 23 known species of Possum in Australia and they are arboreal marsupials. They are hard to spot because they are all nocturnal.

The leadbeater does not have a gliding membrane but is incredibly agile and swift. It is also known as the fairy possum. Its inhabits tall trees living from 6 to 30 metres above the ground.

The leadbeater’s are grey or grey/brown in colour, paler underneath and have a dark midline marking or stripe on their backs. They are only about 33cm long including their tail. There tail is referred to as a club tail because the end of the tail or tip is wider.

LBpossum

The Leadbeater’s possum lives in family groups of about 12 possums inclusive of the one monogamous breeding pair. They will sleep together in large nests made of bark and situated in the hollow of trees.

One matriarch leads there small society and she will defend there area or space aggressively.

The vulnerable Leadbeater is Victoria’s Faunal Emblem.

 

 

leadbeaters at risk
fairy possums

Illustration by artist Rosie Marshall

 

In Animal Dreaming terms the Possum is “opportunity” i.e. the Possum inspires us to productively harness all opportunities to our best advantage. The Possum encourages us to seek out and experiment with new things. Ref: Scott Alexander King

Kerrie

 

Koala Marsupial

I have always thought the Koala marsupial was special and cute!

The Koala

(a poem for children)

Am I a Koala or a Bear?

Let me see….

I live in the tree tops to be safe

Munching on the leaves of the Eucalyptus tree

I watch the happenings below

A pretty good life I think you agree!

Sleeping and dozing

Most of the day…

Up in the trees that are my home

and rarely do I get restless or roam!

Do not forget two key facts

The wombat is my curious little cousin

And I am a pouched mammal!

So there it is, I am a Koala not a Bear.

 

(Poem by Kerrie Thomsen)

Please send a comment if you too enjoy art and poetry as a celebration of our amazing bird and animal life.

Kerrie

Watch that Saltwater Crocodile

Poem – The Saltwater Crocodile

Watch that saltwater crocodile?

She can stay underwater for an hour,

And use that strong tail to propel a mile!

What excellent hearing too,

Whilst fixing you, her prey, with a glower,

She knows exactly the distance

To leap to get to you,

So don’t slip up or forget she’s there

Respect those giant jaws,

And remain in awe of this ancient creature!

(Poem by Kerrie Thomsen)

croceating

I hope you enjoy my fun poem – it was first published here.

 

 

St Andrew’s Cross Spider

Some Facts about the St Andrew’s Cross Spider

The female St Andrew’s Cross Spider bite can pack a mighty and deadly punch for her male mating partner.

This is driven by a need for survival because scientists have proven that male spiders in her web cause her to attract less prey and attract more predators! Yikes….

standrewsspider2

  • Scientific name – Argiope keyserlingi
  • This is known as an ORB Spider
  • Lifespan – 1 year
  • Diet – flying insects
  • Toxicity – none, harmless to humans
  • Habitat – suburban gardens and bushland (likes lomandra bushes)
  • Body length approximately 5 mm for male and 12 to 15 mm for female
  • Light to dark brown in color.
  • This spider constructs a large web (a few meters off the ground) usually found in summer in garden areas around the home.
  • Web: An orb web with up to 4 zigzags of silk forming a cross (hence the name) that radiates out from the spiders central position
  • Identification points: abdomen striped yellow and brown and forms a cross in the middle of the web.

It takes the female about an hour to build her web each day because she will have eaten the previous one for its protein.

But the burning question is….

What is the Cross for?

The 3 most likely functions are:-

  1. it attracts prey because the decorations reflect ultraviolet UV light very strongly (whereas the surroundings don’t) and the so there is a very strong contrast between the web and the garden or bush background
  2. it deters predators (e.g. Friar Birds)
  3. and it deters non-predators that otherwise may have destroyed the web by accident (e.g. Humans)

There is a Conflict, hence webs will vary. The Praying mantid is a predator and is also attracted to the UV light of the web design because it has a similar visual system to that of the honeybees and flies which are common prey for our spider. The clever St Andrew’s Cross spider will vary the number of bands it uses on a daily basis.

So in summary: The role of the spiders web in the cross-shaped pattern, which is called a stabilimentum, has challenged the spider experts. It was a theory for a long time that it strengthened the web, however it is now thought that it helps to attract prey. But how exactly; well because the threads of the cross reflect ultraviolet light in a similar fashion to some plants. It’s believed that flying insects mistake this ultraviolet light for a flower and are attracted onto the web.

Breeding

The eggs of the St Andrews Cross spider are laid in a silk egg sack, which is normally put in leaves or twigs near the mother’s web. When the little spiders hatch, they make their webs with a white disk in the middle, then add the cross as they get older. When they are fully grown, they only make the cross in the web.

I am seeing these webs everywhere at the moment as we walk in the bush each morning!

Kerrie

Animal Dreaming

How we honor and protect our land animals, bird animals and water animals reflects the type of community and nation we live in!

We can all do our bit and a little bit every day!

This is a painting I did of the amazing Wedgetail Eagle. We had one live on our small property for two weeks. After he regained his strength he returned to the skies and hopefully for him, he found a mate.

Kerrie

Interested in Art? you can see more of my artwork website http://kerriethomsen.com

(or Just Click Below on the Photo)

 

 

Wedgie
The Persecuted King

 

Fluffy Animal Toys