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What’s next?

January 20, 2020

The last blog was the result of someone sitting on the riverbank looking for platypus and noticing a Sacred Kingfisher nest. I have spent a lot of time recently at that spot on the river bank photographing the comings and goings of those kingfishers. Last night whilst waiting for the kingfisher’s final food delivery for the day a Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) suddenly popped out of the water on to a partially submerged log and began devouring a very large freshwater crayfish (photo, bottom right).

The rakali (previously known as the Native Water Rat) is Australia’s largest rodent. The photo (left) clearly shows the long white-tipped tail. The tail makes up about half the animal’s body length and is used both for propulsion (by swinging it from side to side) and as a rudder. The photo also shows that when swimming the rakali has its nose, eyes and ears above the water level whilst maintaining a low profile in the water.

In muddy water the rakali relies on its whiskers (see photo above) to detect food. The whiskers are wider than the body which prevents the animal swimming into spaces where it is likely to get stuck. Incidentally this photo was taken when the rakali finally realised I was there. It then disappeared under water.

The back feet are partially webbed to aid in paddling but the front feet are not. They are used to grasp food (see picture right).

Given the current trend going to observe something and something else popping up, if I go down to the creek tonight to watch for rakali I wonder what animal will make an appearance. I hope it’s a bunyip!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Terry Hubbard permalink
    January 20, 2020 3:51 pm

    A great couple of shots Ron, T


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