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Bath time at Junction Hill – beauty secrets of the feathered and furry

May 31, 2013

We tend to think of dams as places where the feathered and furry come to drink – and of course they are. But if you hang around a dam long enough you’ll soon realise that dams also double as a swimming pool, bathroom and day spa.

Scarlet Robin - believe it or not

Scarlet Robin – believe it or not

We all have our beauty routines. The bathroom at our house is littered with sample pots of pastes and potions with exotic names like ‘Doux Nettoyant Moussant’ (Gentle Foaming Cleanser) and ‘Masque ‘Anti-Soif’ Multi-Hydratant (Thirst Quenching Hydra-care Mask), which are applied in a set order at a set time every day. These are not mine. It may surprise you to know that fauna also have their set grooming routines. Some birds such as the Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang) (pictured left) favour the cleaning regime that I use. It’s called the ‘splash-


Brown Thornbill      Sit-and-soak

and-dash’. Others like the Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla) (pictured right) prefer to ‘sit-and-soak’. However some animals have a far more complex routine. Take the Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) shown in the video clip below for example. Its technique consists of a self-manicure, followed by a facial, a facial mud-pack, a rinse, a bath, another facial and finally a swim.

It is amazing how the differing routines at the dam mirror what happens in our house.

P.S. For those who have never seen a Rakali close up before, note the webbed feet and the distinctive white-tipped tail.
(The video below is a large file and may take some time to load.)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen permalink
    May 31, 2013 10:31 am

    You can really see those web feet they use to swim with – great footage and so hard to get, well done

  2. May 31, 2013 11:11 am

    I love those whiskers!

  3. Trent Patten permalink
    June 3, 2013 11:06 am

    Yet another fantastically detailed and upclose video to entertain us. Great work.

  4. Susan permalink
    June 22, 2013 7:32 pm

    This video is so fascinating! David Attenborough had better watch out! The webbed feet are so visible and the facial expressions are wonderful. Thank you Ron.

  5. Susan permalink
    June 22, 2013 7:37 pm

    sorry I forgot the birds and their bathing routines … the Rakali video just outshines! We had a white eared honeyeater bathing in a birdbath. It is fascinating to watch the preferences for birdbaths – we have 2 and the birds seem to be very particular in their choices!

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