Australian outback Plants and Animals
The Outback is a harsh, rugged country for living things to endure; yet, some of the most unusual animals and interesting plants have adapted to its terrain.
A natural source of water in the Outback is a billabong, a pool of water that is usually attached to a creek. Many of the most beautiful billabongs are found out west.
Now, frequently you’ll find things swimming in the water of a billabong–though fortunately, you won’t find crocodiles, unless you’re in the far north of Australia, where you can find crocodiles in just about any body of water. One story from the north tells of a bus driver who got out of his bus to check the depth of water that had covered the road, and in a flash a crocodile came from nowhere and removed his head… Having seen them at mealtimes…I can believe every word of that story. However most Australian outback plants and animals are less violent.
Many Australian Outback Plants and Animals benefit by what has been called, ‘The bore drain”
Bore drains are a man-made source of water. These creeks sometimes flow for hundreds of miles through the outback to an underground artesian water source. Some of the Outback’s bore drains have been flowing freely for over 100 years.
Thanks to the bore drains, opals are not the only thing “caught” at the opal fields. Fishing is one thing, but fishing for yabbies in the bore drains can be very rewarding. Yabbies are small, freshwater crayfish. They taste much like shrimp or prawns.
The bore drains have sometimes been credited with the population explosion in Australia’s kangaroo community. Many insist that there are more kangaroos in Australia today than when the British first arrived.
Some seasons it’s common to see hundreds of kangaroos just standing by the side of the road.
Now, you may think that kangaroos are cute critters, but believe me when I tell you that a herd of Roos running alongside or crossing a road can be anything but cute when you’re driving that road. The damage a roo can do to you and your vehicle, should he decide to suddenly leap out in front of your car, can be catastrophic. In fact, the danger of hitting a kangaroo is so serious that many Outback drivers equip their vehicles with protective bars that stick out in front of the grille and bumper. These protective bars are called bush bars or roo bars–and they’ve saved many a car and driver in the Outback.
In addition to being a threat to drivers on Outback roads, roos and the strange looking emu birds can do tremendous damage to farm crops cultivated in parts of the Outback.
Now the emus are fascinating creatures which are actually quite tame though they are wild birds. Like the kangaroos, if shown a little friendliness from humans, they respond generously. I have tried squatting behind a bush and putting my hand up to resemble a neck and head, then whistling to attract their attention. The emus will often come right over to investigate.
Though kangaroos and emus can be problematic, the miners also appreciate their unique beauty. Seeing a bunch of kangaroos leaping through the bush, while thousands of brightly coloured parrots (which we call flying opals) fly through the sky, is an amazing sight to behold.
Another bird seen flying above the floor of the outback is the Wedge-tail Eagle. This majestic bird commands respect as it soars regally, scanning for food.
Australian Outback Plants and Animals are many and varied.
In actual fact they are in some way symbolic of the amazing colors in opals found in some of these outback areas. The opal, like flowers, can come in multitudes of different colors although it must be said that the blues and greens shown here are more featured than the reds.
Focusing on the ground, though the Outback may at first seem to be a monochromatic palette of tan and rust hues, in fact, its plant life is bursting with many brilliant colours.
The bright scarlet Sturt Pea is often called the Desert Pea because of its pod-like shapes. Its color is brilliant red and it has two little black ‘eyes’ looking at you from its ‘face’ of crimson.
The blaze yellow cassia flowers provide a spectacular contrast to the blue sky that’s a common sight in the Outback.
Why, you’ll even find common daisies dotting the floor of the outback.
Stuart’s night shade is yet another colourful plant found in the Outback.
It’s amazing to see how a few brief rain showers can transform the dusty desert landscape into a virtual garden of Eden.
Running and slithering along the ground and using natural camouflage to protect them, you can see many small creatures who’ve adapted to life in the Outback.
The King Brown Snake is one of the very deadly snakes found in the Outback. There are many dangerous snakes in the Outback, but they rarely cause problems unless you’re walking in thick grass and accidentally step on them. Snakes are shy creatures that rarely initiate an attack.
The gecko lizard is a friendly little bug-eating creature. His larger cousin, the Perentie goanna, is another lightning quick lizard.
Both the gecko and goanna are harmless creatures who’ll run up a tree when cornered. Both were used, along with certain snakes, as “soft meat” for native aborigines–particularly elderly natives with problem teeth. Kangaroos and crocodiles provided meat for those with good teeth. In both cases, the meat was cooked–but the cooking time was determined by how hungry the hunter was. If the hunter was very hungry, cooking time was minimal.
Perhaps one of Australia’s most famous Outback creatures is its native wild dog, the dingo.
Now, dingos are not generally ferocious unless they’re attacking sheep. In fact, in some areas they just hang around the camps like ordinary domestic dogs.
Because dingos can be a problem for shepherds, you’ll find one of the longest fences in the world running for 5,600 kilometers in the outback. The sign reads, “This dingo fence runs from the east coast to the west of Australia. Its length is 5,600 km,s. Arguably the longest fence in the world. It was put there to stop the dingos (Australian native dog) from attacking the sheep.” The protected sheep are south of the fence, the cattle country is north.
The dingo became famous worldwide when baby Azaria Chamberlain was taken by one at Alice Springs a number of years ago. Actress Meryl Streep starred in a movie about the incident.
Some exhausted Koalas appreciate some help in the recent bad bushfires.
Fritz is supposed to guard the mine but he spends most of the time sleeping in his favorite spot in the trailer.
‘Luigi’ our pet Lorakeet, while not being an outback bush bird, is a striking example of some of the amazing Australian outback plants and animals that exist not only in the bush but on the coast. These birds appear in the outback as well but there are many varieties of them ranging from red through white, black, and multiple other colors.