Wildlife Tours on the Atherton tablelands
There are so many unique and beautiful species when it comes to the Atherton Tablelands Wildlife.
From giant prehistoric birds to kangaroos that live in trees! You will discover genuinely magnificent animals and birds in this region.
The list is endless so here are some of the more sought out species.
Southern cassowary – It’s easy to identify these spectacular flightless birds by their large size (6ft approx).
Displaying a large helmet on their heads (called a casque). They are made from keratin, the same as our fingernails.
It’s believed the casque is used to pick up the radio frequency of the calls of other cassowaries. This call can be heard while in the rainforest—a resinating rumbling sound.
A critical animal to the Atherton Tablelands Wildlife knows as a “Keystone Species” as they feed on the fruits of the rainforest. Many of the species of rainforest trees can only germinate and grow after passing through a cassowaries stomach first!
Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo
A kangaroo that lives in the trees?! It sounds unbelievable, but it is genuine.
One of the unique animals on the planet, let alone in Atherton Tablelands Wildlife. Over time, land-based kangaroos evolved from possums. They eventually made their way from the tree-tops to the ground. It was adapting with the long hind feet, stiff tail for balance along with other things that better suit the land environment.
Somewhere along the way, the tree kangaroo decided it was happy to stay in the middle.
They have muscular forearms with very sharp claws for climbing. Their hind legs are also muscular, with thick pads on the soles of their feet to help climb trees.
They can move their hind legs independently, while the land-based roos can not do this. They have a long pendulum-like tail, which hangs down and helps them to balance in the trees.
While they live in the rainforest canopy, they will often come down to the ground for a variety of reasons.
The most common cause is their environment has been cleared for farming. Now the rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands is fragmented. The tree kangaroos need to move between fragments for food and mating purposes. Unfortunately, this can cause problems for them. Domestic farm dogs, as well as Dingo’s, will attack and kill them given a chance. If they are crossing a road, they can be hit by a passing car. So make sure you slow down and keep a lookout for them!
The platypus is a strange-looking animal. Almost like a duck, beaver and otter all in one! They have a duck-like bill and webbed feet. Males are venomous and have sharp toxic barbs on their heels for defensive purposes. These animals, along with echidnas, are extraordinary. They are classified as monotremes, the only mammals which lay eggs.
The platypus feels most at home in the water. They are exceptional swimmers, and they move gracefully through the water even with poor eyesight. Feeding on the bottom of rivers and lakes, they love shellfish, worms and larvae. They can be tough to spot in the wild. There is a purposely-built platypus viewing platform in Yungaburra. Best viewing times are dawn and dusk when they are most active. If you visit the Australian Platypus Park in Tarzali Lakes, you’re sure to see these elusive creatures.
Mareeba Rock Wallabies
While you are visiting the Atherton Tablelands head to Mareeba to see the Mareeba Rock Wallabies. These cute little Marsupialia can be hand feed at Granite Gorge. They are a rare species only found in this region.