Readers’ wildlife photos

August 13, 2014 • 5:00 am

As you may know, Steve Pinker has recently gone to Tasmania, and of course took his digital SLR equipment with him. Here are a few snaps from his travels; you can find the whole collection here.

First things first:

Tasmanian devilSarcophilus harrisii:

jaws of a Tasmanian devil-L

Common wombatVombatus ursinus (young):

face of a baby wombat-L

Blue-tongued skinkTiliqua nigrolutea:

blue-tongued lizard-L

Masked lapwing, Vanellus miles:

masked lapwing-L

Tawny frogmouth, Podargus strigoides:

tawny frogmouth 2-L

Sugar gliderPetaurus breviceps:

sugar glider-L

Potoroo (Potorousm probably long-nosed Potorous tridactylus) [JAC: a rabbit-sized marsupial]:

potoroo in Bonorong wildlife sanctuary-L

Laughing kookaburraDacelo novaeguineae:

laughing kookaburra-L

Gay his life must be!


49 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. These are amazing photos! There’s so much awesome wildlife in Tassie, especially in the national parks – we ran into about 15 pademelons while hiking in Cradle Mountain NP. In fact, that’s the only thing that’s missing from this collection of super cute Aussie animals – where are all the pademelons?!

  2. Is there any late news on the Tasmanian devil infectious cancer plague? Have the sequestered populations been doing well?

  3. “Gay his life must be!”

    Do you know the song/round? I had great fun teaching it to a bunch of foreign students on postgrad scholarships in Japan in 1980!

    1. Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
      Merry merry king of the bush is he.
      Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
      Gay your life must be!

        1. Maybe some people also remember it as the (flute?) riff in the middle of “Land DownUnder” by Men at Work. I believe the band lost a Court case on the copyright issue a year or so back.

    2. Many years ago there used to be (and may still be for all I know) a flavor of Girl Scout Cookies called Kookaburras. One day a pair of scouts stopped by my workplace, and my boss bought up their entire supply of Kookaburras and passed them out to his employees.

      As we were sitting around munching cookies, my cube mate turned to me and said, “You know I really hate these cookies. Not that they taste bad. But every time I eat one I can’t help thinking of that stupid song.”

  4. Speaking of wombats…

    Back in the 70s there was a dirt bike manufacturer called Hodaka. They had a 125 cc trail bike called the Wombat, and a racing (MX) version called (wait for it!) the Combat Wombat.

    Those guys knew how to have fun.

  5. Great shots. I absolutely love Kookaburras! They are so interesting and curious. After staying in a campground in Tasmania for about 5 days (we were ill), one became familiar with us enough to let me approach within about 3-4 m.

    I love their calls. Remember the wild “jungle calls” you would hear in old Tarzan movies and the like? Kookaburra calls!

    1. I was always confused that there were so many Kookaburras in Tarzan, since I knew there were none in Africa!

  6. Great pix!
    I have a question that pertains to a twist on convergent evolution. I had read (in a children’s book) that the wombat is not only convergent in form and digging habit to the American groundhog, but that like the groundhog the wombat will also dig out your garden and eat everything. Also like the groundhog, the wombat is (sadly) most commonly encountered as road kill. Are those things true?

          1. Errr, lessee … “in the ear of a deer, boys / in the ear of a deer”
            Nope, not that.
            “up the hole of a mole, boys / up the hole of a mole”
            Nope, not that.
            Ah, got it : twat / wombat.
            I knew it was in there somewhere. About the most useful thing I learned from the Rugby Club.

    1. I went to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney once & there was a kookaburra outside in a big enclosure. A wild kookaburra flew up and looked at him through the enclosure as if to say, “dude, how did you get in there?”.

      1. Totally off-topic but I really want to visit Australia. They have lots of ecotourism there and I hear Sydney is great. A good mix of nightlife and wildlife, or so I’ve been told.

              1. A nubile australian actress hopes not too, and has nudely made her protests pubic. shame I can’t remember her name.

  7. I got distracted and forgot to add that all these photos are lovely but the tawny frogmouth looks sad and I want to kiss it but that Potoroo looks like he knows something we don’t – I don’t know if I’d trust him.

  8. I’m not totally sure, but isn’t the kookaburra above a blue-winged kookaburra? They’re the non-laughing sister species.

    1. No, definitely Laughing. Both species have blue wings, which can cause confusion.

      The Blue-winged’s territorial call is not even slightly humorous, and can be terrifying if you’re not prepared for it.

  9. Sorry, should have looked it up before embarrassing myself. The blue-wing species is more dramatically blue and has blue on the tail as well. It’s just in real life I’ve rarely noticed the blue in the laughing kookaburra’s wing. It shows up clearer in photos.

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