Located off the East Coast of Australia is an island like no other. At 123 kilometres long and 22 kilometres wide, Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, meaning that this island is made up mostly of sandy deposits built up over a long period of time.
The island’s sand dunes, mangrove forests, perched lakes, and rainforests make it a unique location capable of supporting a diverse range of wildlife. Further supporting life on this island is the Great Sandy National Park, which is a refuge for the island’s wildlife.
And Fraser Island has no shortage of wildlife. Mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians all call the island home and play an important role in it. And while almost all forms of life are represented within the island’s sandy shores and warm waters, perhaps the most impressive is the island’s large and diverse bird population.
Read our list of 7 of the most common Animals on the island
1. Birds, Over 350 different bird species
Fraser Island is home to over 350 different bird species, including up to 20 different kinds of visiting migratory birds that fly in from places as far as Siberia. Birds of prey, common birds, and near-extinct species rely on Fraser Island’s unique and diverse landscape for food, shelter, and raising their young.
With beautiful songs, unique looks, and in some cases extreme rarity, birds of every category have been fascinating people on the island for many years.
Birds of Prey
Some of the most captivating birds on Fraser Island are the many birds of prey that find the island’s abundance of life too good to pass up. In total, 18 different species of raptors have been known to call Fraser Island home. The largest of which is the white-bellied sea eagle.
With a wingspan as large as 2.2 meters, this bird truly dominates the landscape. The eagle mainly hunts aquatic animals like fish, snakes, and turtles, but is also known to hunt smaller birds and mammals.
Osprey, a type of hawk that hunts many aquatic animals, which as seen population declines throughout Australia have found safety on Fraser Island.
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How many types of kingfishers are there?
Australia and especially Fraser Island is known for its diverse population of Kingfishers. Kingfishers are a small to a medium-sized carnivorous bird. They have colourful plumage and distinct calls. One of the most famous breeds is the kookaburra which enjoys hunting the islands many mice, snakes, insects, and small reptiles.
The extremely territorial bird of prey is famous for its calls which sound very much like children’s laughter. The call is so recognizable that it is often used in film and television for jungle settings.
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The kookaburra is not the only unique sounding winged creature that calls Fraser Island home. Flying through the island’s Eucalyptus trees is the small, red-chested mistletoebird. Known for its year-round songs, mistletoebirds will mimic other birds and come up with their owns songs as well.
Then there is the grey shrike thrush, for what this medium-sized bird lacks in bright colours it more than makes up for with its songs. The drab shrike thrush is sought after by bird lovers for its ringing melodies and bright tunes.
Also found zipping through the busy island are the many varieties honeyeaters. These birds are similar to the hummingbirds found in America. The honeyeaters on Fraser Island use their long, bent bills to extract the nectar out of the many different flowers that bloom all over the island.
The wooded wetlands that make up the island are the perfect habitat for honeyeaters. Some varieties that enjoy the bounty on Fraser Island are the white-cheeked honeyeater, Lewin’s honeyeater, and the smallest of the species, the scarlet honeyeater.
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Just off the shores of Fraser Island, is a show like no other, birds circling the ocean, pointing their beaks to the water, and diving in. Many of Australia’s diving birds find the water’s off Fraser Island to be the ideal place to hunt for eels, fish, and water snakes.
Diving birds like the brown booby, Australian gannet, and cormorant can all be sited diving into the waters as they hunt for their prey. They are also known to take a rest on the rocks, trees, and even boats, as they spread their large wingspans to dry and warm in the sun.
Strolling much closer to shore is where you will find Fraser Island’s variety of wading birds. One of the most noteworthy is the Far Eastern curlew. They migrate yearly to Australia from as far as Siberia during winter. It can be easily spotted by its long bill and 110 cm wingspan.
Another interesting wading bird is the pied oystercatcher, despite what its name would suggest, the oystercatcher does not eat oysters, but rather small mollusks. The misnamed bird does spend a great deal of time wading on the rocky shore where oysters are commonly found though.
Australian king parrot
Given Fraser Island’s tropical climate, it is a natural place for parrots to live. The Australian king parrot is one of the most easily recognizable. The male parrots have a read head and breast, while the female shows mostly green.
The birds can be spotted soaring over the tree lines of the rainforests and eucalyptus trees that make up parts of the island. For food, the parrots are known to enjoy, fruit, berries, and nuts. In Australia, the parrots are sometimes used as pets for their bonding nature.
The protected lands of Fraser Island are also an important resource for one species of parrot in particular, because, without them, this species may be extinct. The eastern ground parrot is one of the rarest birds on the island. As the name suggests, this bird lives almost completely on the ground, only taking to the air when it is disturbed.
The green and the yellow bird has been able to keep a steady population on Fraser Island, even as it becomes extinct in more areas of the mainland. The birds are most active at dawn and dust and are not easily found.
And this only scratches the surface of the abundance of life on Fraser Island. Just like the rest of Australia, Fraser Island is a unique place and the birds that have called it home have developed unique traits as well. Visitors to the island are sure to experience natural sights they will never forget.
2. Dingoes of Fraser Island
When it comes to wildlife in Australia, nothing is more distinctive than the dingoes. These medium-sized canines are legendary and a huge part of the island’s ecology. Although they can be a pest around Australia, on Fraser Island they are welcomed by tourists. Here are some useful facts that you might like to know about these gorgeous animals, for your next visit.
You might think that dingoes look very much like your average pooch and you would be partially right. Dingoes resemble large wolf-like dogs and are usually a golden, sandy colour. Often, they are born with black markings on their backs and tails, which they lose as they get older.
Many dingoes have white markings on their feet, tail-tips and chests. All of these beautiful creatures have pricked up ears and bushy tails. You can easily identify dingoes by their fighting scars and each individual dingo has different tail tips and socks.
Size and Weight
On average, the adult dingoes on Fraser Island are about 60cm tall, 1.2metres long and weight about 18kg. The canines of the island are slightly larger than some of its other Australian counterparts. They weigh more than dingoes from Kakadu, the Victorian Highlands and Central Australia.
Although they definitely weigh more than other dingoes from around Australia, they are certainly not smaller, as most dingoes around the country are around 1.2m long as well. Dingoes on the island are a bit heavier set.
The dingo is a protected species in Queensland, as it is an important native species. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is legally responsible for the conservation of these wild dog populations. This can be quite surprising, as dingoes are considered a pest in other areas across Australia.
Fraser Island dingoes are somewhat special in their conservation, as they are considered the purest strain of dingo on the eastern Australian seaboard.
It is also possible that they are the purest strain of dingoes nationwide. This is due to the fact that these dingoes have not been able to hybridise and cross breed with other domestic or feral dogs, which are present across mainland populations. This has made their conservation significant, due to the fact that the island dingoes have a uniquely pure genetic makeup.
Food, What Do dingoes eat
When it comes to a dingoes diet, they have a wide range of food that they may look for over the island. In a study of their diet, it was shown that they prey on as many as 177 species! They eat anything from small games to fruits, plants and carrion. As opportunistic hunters, they are able to hunt alone or as part of a pack, hunting anything they find.
Due to this opportunistic nature, these animals have been considered quite dangerous. Although these animals appear fairly tame and shy, they will absolutely scope our your lunch and have been known to attack humans occasionally.
For this reason, you are advised to tour Fraser Island in groups to deter potential canine attacks. Dingoes also drink about a litre of water each day in the summer months and half a litre in winter. They may not have to drink pure water, as they can get the water they need from their prey if their liquid content is sufficient.
Dingoes usually pursue prey from the rear and kill their prey by attacking the throat, damaging the trachea. The size of the prey pursued will usually depend on the size of the pack. Bigger packs of dingoes will team up to pursue larger prey and lone dingoes will pursue smaller prey.
The most common large animal to be predated are large kangaroos and dingoes exhaust they prey through their stamina.
Numbers on the island
On the island, the population of dingoes is considered to be 25-30 stable dingo packs. These packs consist of 3-12 dingoes each. Due to the size of the island, it is considered one of the best places to have a chance of spotting the animal. You may spot one on the drive around the island, although it is not wise the exit your vehicle if you see one!
Types of dingoes
It is actually a lesser-known fact that there are a few different types of dingoes across Australia. The species varies depending on the different climates across the country. Reddish, golden dingoes are known as Desert dingoes. Alpine dingoes are the rarest type and have light cream fur and northern dingoes are finer is stature and lack a double coat that the other dingoes possess.
In the wild dingoes live for an average of 3-5 years and some will live as long as 7-8 years. The oldest dingoes recorded have been living up to 10 years and in captivity, they can survive as long as 14-16 years. The oldest dingo lived up to 20 years old.
Dingoes are not too different from their domestic counterpoints when it comes to communication. They bark and cry like domestic dogs, although dingoes are known the howl and whimper more. A dingo’s bark is short and monosyllabic.
It is rarely used and only makes up about 5% of the sounds they make. The dingo’s bark is distinctive from a wolf. When a dingo barks it is a warning signal to other animals or dingoes.
Dingoes are nocturnal in warmer regions, with their activity peaking between dusk and dawn. Their periods of activity are generally short, at around 1 hour and they rest in between these periods. They have two main types of movement: a searching movement associated with hunting and an exploratory movement which may be used to communicate with other dogs.
Dingoes are not afraid to move freely at night through urban areas as well.
Overall, these distinctive animals are a cornerstone of Australian wildlife and are a must-see at Fraser Island. With enough care, you might be able to spot one on your next visit! Not only are these beautiful creatures important from an ecological perspective, but they are a great example of the native wildlife present in Australia.
Conservation of these animals is important on the island due to their genetic purity, compared to the mainland.
3. Echidnas Of Fraser Island
Short-beaked echidnas are common residents on Fraser Island, Australia. They live in the hollow logs, brush, burrows, and caves of this beautiful island. These reclusive little mammals have interesting characteristics, habits, diets, and other fascinating qualities.
Short-beaked echidnas from Fraser Island, Australia have been called by many names because they have such an interesting combination of physical characteristics. They have pointy spines like a porcupine, a pouch like a kangaroo, fur like a mammal, a snout like a bird beak, and lay soft eggs like a lizard.
All of these interesting and diverse characteristics allow the echidnas from Fraser Island, Australia to thrive in their environment.
Echidnas are small mammals, typically 30-40 cm in length (including the tail) and weight 4-6 pounds. Their bodies are covered with coarse brown fur and have two-inch-long spines (adaptive hairs) which resemble those of a porcupine. The fur between the spines provides insulation from cold weather and spines provide protection from predators.
The stout body is muscular and contoured to allow it to wedge itself into small places, such as under logs and around tree roots to search for food or escape predators. Echidnas have large, strong claws which enable them to break open rotted logs, dig out ant hills for food, and to quickly dig into the ground to hide or for shelter.
The back claws are long and curved backwards which help them to dig rapidly and to groom between their spines.
Echidnas have short, slender snouts which are three inches long and resemble an anteater. Their snouts serve as both their nose and mouth because they find and catch their prey with it. Their noses are electroreceptive (sensory cells) which enable them to feel vibrations and detect their prey.
Echidnas don’t appear to have ears because they don’t have external ear structures. They do have ear holes or small slits on either side of their heads. The ear openings can’t be seen because they are covered with spines which move to capture sounds. Echidnas have excellent hearing and are sensitive to low-frequency sounds.
The echidna’s optical system is a combination of features from mammals and reptiles. The eyes are similar to primates because they can see distances clearly due to the flat lens and are able to change focus. Their eyes are reptilian-like because their eyeball structure is similar to that of reptiles with a hard corneal surface.
Studies have determined that they can distinguish between horizontal and vertical stripes and black and white. Eyesight is not crucial to an echidnas’ survival; blind echidnas have been known to live well without sight.
The short-beaked echidnas from Fraser Island, Australia have distinctive behaviours linked to their habitant, activities, diet, reproductive and survival patterns.
Echidnas are reclusive and like to live alone in underground burrows, rock crevices, or caves except when rearing young. Because they don’t tolerate extreme temperatures, they gravitate towards places that are cool. They do not have fixed shelters or territories, but usually live in a range area of about one square mile or more.
They willingly share home range areas or shelters when there are not enough for each animal. They will live in areas where there is a plentiful supply of food, but they can compensate for food storages by going into hibernation for up to three weeks.
Echidnas are typically active in the daytime during cool weather and reverse their habits during the summer when they are active during the evening. This is because echidnas do not have sweat glands and do not “pant” to remain cool.
Body temperatures above 93 degrees can be fatal for them. If they live in an area with available water, they will swim to keep cool and groom themselves.
Echidnas hibernate and can lower their body temperature, metabolism, heart and breathing rates during this process. Females start hibernation between February and April and return to full activity in July and August. The males end their hibernation period earlier in mid-June before the mating season begins.
Echidna’s diet consists mainly of ants and termites and they have an interesting way of catching and eating their food. At the end of their long snouts, they have tiny mouths and toothless jaws. They use their long (6 inches) sticky tongues to catch their prey and the powerful pads in their jaws to grind the food before swallowing.
The tongue can move in and out of the snout 100 times a minute, so six-pound echidnas can eat about seven ounces of termites in 10 minutes. They get water from their food or from licking morning dew from flora. Echidnas are crepuscular feeders (they eat early in the morning and at dusk).
Echidnas are egg-laying mammals. Twenty-two days after mating, the female lays a single, soft-shelled, egg into a pouch in her belly. The egg is about the size of a dime and has a leathery consistency. When the egg hatches in ten days, a baby echidna, called a “puggle“, is born.
The puggle (the size of a jelly bean) sucks milk from the pores of two milk patches and remains in the pouch for 45-55 days. After the puggle develops spines, the mother places it in a small burrow and leaves it there for about seven months-visiting every five days to feed it.
A puggle will stay in the burrow for up to a year before leaving.
Echidnas from Fraser Island, Australia, are timid animals and when threatened will try to bury themselves in the ground or curl up into a ball and deter the enemy with their spines. Also, males have small spurs on their rear legs that can be used to deter predators.
Various physiological adaptations help echidnas to survive. Because echidnas are burrowing animals, they can tolerate high levels of carbon dioxide in the ground; low oxygen during bush fires; and can swim underwater while lowering their heart rate during a flash flood.
Echidnas have a long survival rate. One echidna was recorded to have lived to be 45 years old in the wild and one in captivity lived to be 5o years old.
4. Lace Monitor
If you are going to be visiting Fraser Island, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia or the Australia Capital Territory during the spring or summer, you are likely to run across the second-largest Australian monitor, the lace monitor.
The lace monitor is native to Australia and is often referred to as goannas, tree goanna or lacy.
About the lace monitor
These lizards, which are relatives of the Komodo Dragon, grow up to 2 m (7 ft) long and weigh up to 14 kg (30lb). Newly-hatched lace monitors are roughly 12 in long and weigh about an ounce. The lace monitor is the only lizard with a forked tongue, similar to that of a snake, which is used to subdue small prey.
Their tail is half their body length and is very powerful. Being whipped by the tail of a lace monitor can break a finger or hand, knockdown small animals or children.
The lace monitor is most active during the summer months. This is because they are solar-powered reptiles in need of the warm weather and sunlight to provide the necessary heat for them to move around.
Do lace monitors harm humans?
The lace monitor does not pose a threat to humans, however, they will secrete a mild venom as a defence mechanism against predators. The venom is often compared to that of a rattlesnake, yet not as toxic.
This can be harmful to infants or small animals, however, this is not enough venom to inflict on large predators or adults. Precautions are advised if you see these monitors in the wild because they do carry large amounts of bacteria in their mouth, which will cause an infection if you are bitten by one.
This type of occurrence is rare since lace monitors tend to run in the opposite direction when humans are nearby.
Where are lace monitors found?
The lace monitor is the most commonly found reptile on Fraser Island. You will find these lizards roaming about in picnic areas or climbing one of the trees. They are known to be excellent swimmers and tree climbers, so you may find them in the water looking for prey, such as fish, frogs, shrimp or crabs.
The lace monitor has a preference to inhabit semi-humid to humid forest areas, river basins and in hollows of trees. In fact, they use tree hollows, rocks or fallen trees as a shelter during the colder months.
So if you are travelling around the bushland areas of Fraser Island in the colder months, be careful of where you step.
Around 4 to 5 years of age, the lace monitor will reach sexual maturity. The breeding season is between September and December, and the male lizards are known to engage in combat to exude their dominance over a female.
Female lace monitors will lay eggs within 4 to 6 weeks after mating. They tend to lay eggs around termite mounds or nests for protection against predators. The termites will seal the entry hole, which helps provide warmth to the eggs which aid with the incubation period.
Cooler weather prolongs the time for the hatching to occur.
Young monitors come with an egg tooth that is used to cut their way out of the egg. The mothers remain close to the mounds or return to the nests, in order to help the young lizards dig their way to the outside world.
The average lifespan of the lace monitor is 10-15 years, however, they have been known to live up to 40 years in captivity.
Type of lace monitors
There are two forms of lace monitors the main type is typically a dull grey to bluish-black, with cream-coloured spots scattered all over the body. The second form which is known as the bells form, or bells phase lace monitor is common in the dry inland areas throughout the east coast and central regions.
The bells form lace monitor features a base colour of yellow or a yellow-brown, with black bands from the shoulders to the tail and a blackhead. As the lace monitor ages, the colour of the bands begins to fade, leaving the scattered yellow spots.
How and what do they eat?
The lace monitor is a carnivore, known to eat insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, and eggs. If the lace monitor can catch it, it will be eaten. The lace monitor has also been known to eat sheep, cattle and are highly attracted to rotting meat.
They have sensors similar to that of a snake, where they can sniff out prey and attack even if the prey is hiding.
This species of monitors are said to feast on more bird eggs than any other species. As adept tree climbers, the lace monitor will climb trees and prey on bird eggs.
You can find them around campgrounds and picnic areas picking up food scraps or rummaging through rubbish bins for food. The lace monitors will use their teeth and front claws to tear food into pieces, or they will swallow the food whole. These lizards are also known to gorge on dead carcasses or roadkill and go weeks without eating.
What or who hunts lace monitors?
The lace monitors are preyed upon by dingoes and birds of prey and were often hunted by aboriginal people. The eggs were collected from sand and riverbanks and considered a delicatessen among the Wiradjuri people. The fat from the lace monitors was considered highly valuable for medicinal and ceremonial use by the Aboriginal people.
The lace monitors are not seen as endangered animals, however, in certain parts around Australia, their normal habitats are threatened. This is due to the clearing of the land and elimination or removal of termite mounds and fallen trees. Other threats or causes of decline to the lace monitors can be attributed to cane toads and certain predators that prey on young lace monitors.
When you travel to Fraser Island, you are bound to find these lace monitors hanging around trees and picnic areas. Although they are not known to intentionally attack humans, they will strike back if they feel threatened. So, if you do run into one on the island make sure you don’t try to grab or feed it, as tempting as it is.
5.Fraser Island Sea Turtles
Fraser Island, originally named K’gari meaning beautiful place, is home to many different animals. It is a protected area, supporting the wildlife so it can survive and thrive. The oceans and reefs surrounding this island and the Queensland coast are home to two species of Sea Turtles, the green sea turtle, and the loggerhead sea turtle.
Facts About Sea Turtles Around the World:
- There are seven species of sea turtles in oceans around the world.
- Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the water.
- They travel great distances from their nesting areas throughout their life but return to these areas for mating and nesting seasons.
- Sea turtles nest in the sand on beaches, one of the few times they come out of the water, and only female sea turtles nest.
- Female sea turtles lay their eggs on the same nesting beach.
- The nesting area is the ocean surrounding the nesting beach where the female lays her eggs.
- Sea turtles are endangered and are heavily influenced by humans.
- Only one in one thousand hatchlings survive to adulthood. This number has been on the decline due to human interference in nesting and hatching.
- Fraser Island and the coast of Queensland, Australia contains many nesting grounds for sea turtles and are protected by wildlife foundations.
- The groups who protect these beaches work to ensure the safety of sea turtle eggs and hatchlings throughout the nesting and hatching process.
- Sea turtles are important to the ecosystem of Fraser Island as they maintain the coral reefs and seagrass fields surrounding the island and they balance out the food chain shared by other species who call the island home.
The Sea Turtles of Fraser Island
Green Sea Turtles
The Great Coral Reef is one of the largest feeding grounds for green sea turtles in the world. Because of this many female green sea turtles use nearby beaches as nesting grounds, including much of the coast of Fraser Island.
Green sea turtles are mostly olive green on their tops, with touches of black and brown. Their bottoms are white or off white in colour. They have tall, domed shells that can grow up to a meter in their lifetime.
Younger green sea turtles can be carnivorous, but adult green sea turtles eat mainly seagrass, mangrove fruits, and seaweeds.
They migrate between feeding grounds found in coral reefs and seagrass pastures. These feeding grounds also serve as nesting areas for nearby nesting beaches. Between nesting seasons green sea turtles migrate to and remain in certain nesting areas. They return to the great barrier reef and Fraser Island as their migration pattern dictates.
Green sea turtles nest from November through January, coming ashore at night to lay eggs. Hatchlings surface from their nests from January through March and head out to sea. They are shiny black on their tops and white on their bottoms at birth.
Female green sea turtles reach maturity at 30 to 40 years of age and nest every two to eight years, laying approximately 115 eggs per nest and coming ashore to nest up to five times while in the season.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles
A smaller portion of loggerhead sea turtles uses Fraser Island as a nesting area. Loggerhead sea turtles have less structure in their migrations and travel farther than green sea turtles between seasons.
The loggerhead sea turtle is brown on its top and can be speckled. Its bottom can range from yellow to white. Their shell is heart-shaped and can grow to 1.5 meters in length.
Loggerhead sea turtles are mostly carnivorous, although they can eat seagrass. Their diet consists of jellyfish, shellfish, crabs, and sea urchins.
Loggerhead hatchlings spend their first 16 years of life away from their nesting area at sea before returning to the feeding grounds of their nesting beach.
Most loggerhead sea turtle nesting grounds on Fraser Island are at the top of the island. They nest hear at night from December to February. Hatching occurs from December to April. Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings are reddish-brown or black in colour.
Nesting and Hatching on Fraser Island
Both the loggerhead sea turtle and the green sea turtle emerge to nest at night. It can take a female sea turtle up to an hour to travel from the ocean to their nesting spot, and they are easily deterred by noise, movement, and light.
Some female sea turtles will emerge and return to the ocean several times before beginning the next step in the process.
Once a female sea turtle reaches her nesting location she clears away sand to create the nest with her front and back flippers. She then digs the egg chamber and begins the process of laying eggs which can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
When she is finished she covers the egg chamber and returns to the ocean. The whole process can take several hours without disturbance.
Several predators on the island, dingos and goannas, will dig up and eat the turtle eggs, so, to protect the population, wildlife organizations will relocate nests and protect the eggs until the hatching season begins.
When it is time the batch of hatchlings all break their eggs within hours of each other but usually require a day to orient themselves and begin the climb to the surface. Digging through the sand can take the whole group several days.
They usually emerge from the nest at night and make their way to the ocean together. Environmental cues are essential to hatchlings as they try to find the ocean, Interference with this process even after they have entered the water can increase the hatchling’s risk of death.
Disturbances, particularly light interference, can be detrimental to the progress of sea turtle hatchlings before they even reach the water.
Where You Can Find Fraser Island Sea Turtles:
Frasier Island is surrounded by small beaches, any of which can be used for nesting. Turtles nest all along these beaches, but there are hotspots where they are more likely to be found, whether nesting or not.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to see sea turtles in their watery environment there are tours that will take you out into the water along Rainbow Beach and the west coast of Fraser Island where you can often find turtles swimming around.
If you’re interested in seeing turtles nesting and hatching Orchid Beach, Rooney Point, and the Sandy Cape Conservation Park are common nesting beaches all located on the northern half of the island where nesting is more common.
There’s a good chance you can find a tour guide to lead your expedition and help you avoid disturbing the turtles. If you go on your own, keep in mind how timid these creatures are and remember not to interfere with the process with movements, sounds or lights.
Fraser Island is a haven for wildlife. Simply exploring can land you amongst a wide variety of flora and fauna you may never have seen before. Explore the beaches and keep your eyes out for sea turtles!
6. Snakes on Fraser Island
Most of the island is composed of volcanic bedrocks that accumulate sand forming dunes. Other than the dunes, Fraser Island is home to thick eucalyptus woodland, mangrove forests, swamps, and coastal vegetation.
Thanks to the great forestation, the island is a habitat for different species of animals. Here, you’ll find a description of the different snake types found on the island and what they eat.
Does Fraser Island Have Snakes?
So does Fraser Island have snakes? Yes, it does have about 18 species of snakes inhabit the island. Experts say that a third of these snake species are venomous. It is a common phenomenon to find snakes washed to the shores of the beach.
In other instances, the snakes bite those they encounter. Ideally, snakes sense vibrations from the ground. Since the island is sandy, the snakes receive the vibration signals of oncoming movement fast enough.
When snakes detect approaching intrusion, they retaliate by hiding. Here are some of the different types of snakes on Fraser and what they eat.
Types of Snakes On Fraser Island and what they eat
The carpet python is a common pet in most households in Australia. The Morelia spilota variegate is the main sub-species found in Fraser Island. You can distinguish carpet python from any other snake because of its brownish with some grey or black spots.
The snake grows to a maximum length of about 2m and often kills its prey through constriction. The python is however non-venomous.
Most carpet pythons live in trees and hunt during the night. You can also spot the snake basking in the sun during the day. The main diet for carpet pythons include bats, small mammals such as rats, birds, lizards, and food scraps. These species of snakes have a powerful sense of smell and have flexible jaws to catch even larger prey such as possums.
You may also find carpet pythons in households as they search for food scraps. It is therefore common to hear slithering sounds in your ceilings.
Brown Tree Snake
The snake is brown and a cream belly. One distinct feature of the snake is that it has a broad head with cat-like narrow pupils and a slim neck. The vertical pupils aid the snake in its hunting escapades and night vision. The snake is also unique in that it has rear fangs.
The snakes prefer living in rainforests, woodlands, on rock crevices, hollow tree trunks, and even on rafters in houses. The brown tree snake grows to a length of 2 meters.
This species of snakes climb well on walls, rocks, and trees. In some areas, the snake has caused power shortages after climbing on electricity wires. The brown tree snake feeds on birds, small mammals, bats, and eggs. Young brown snakes prefer feeding on small lizards.
The snake is non-venomous but is aggressive if threatened. In times of danger, the snake tends to coil in multiple loops as a defence.
Green Tree Snake
This snake has a slim body and big eyes. Usually, the snake is green in colour but easily camouflages to appear dark on the top and light on the bottom. The scales of the snake have a blue tan. The species is active during the day; hence, it’s common to bump into them in our backyards.
The green tree snake is a great climber but slides if placed on smooth ground.
The snakes are harmless because they don’t have fangs and venom. Instead, if the snake senses danger, it raises its head, inflates its body, and produces an awful smell from its anal glands. The snake loves sunbathing on rocks, trees, and rooftops. It also has a good sense of smell as it slithers on the ground trying to find food.
Its favourite dished include eggs, birds, lizards, mice, lizards, and frogs. The snake isn’t shy and looks into your eyes if you come across it. However, it prefers staying on trees where it can even look like a tree branch. At night, the reptile hides on hollow trees and rock crevices.
This is the most venomous snake found on Fraser Island. Although not common, it exists in a light colour to camouflage on the sandy island. However, in other regions especially in the mainland, the death adder is dark in colour.
The snake has a thick body, with a broad and triangular head. The snake has band strips that differ in colour depending on its habitation. Hence, it is known for its excellent camouflage.
Unlike other snakes, the death adder doesn’t lay eggs but instead lays live snakes. In one cycle, the female snake reproduces between 3-30 young ones. The snake mainly feeds on lizards, birds, and other small mammals.
Death adder poses a significant threat to human life because it has unique hunting techniques. Usually, the snake hides in bushes with leaves with its tail coiled close to its head. The tail often makes some twitching movements to attract prey.
The snake can wait for days for its prey to come by, and it doesn’t move in search of food. The cane toads pose a threat to these snakes due to their venom that kills them.
Eastern Brown Snake
The snake is slender without any clear distinction between its head and the rest of the body. An adult snake grows to a length of 2 meters. The snake is common in Fraser Island and the broader Australia accounting for 60 per cent of all snake deaths in the country. The venom from the snake is neurotoxic hence paralyzing the prey.
The snake has become common in forests and households because of the availability of its food. The snake mainly feeds on mice, lizards, birds, and other small mammals. The snake differs in colour but generally brown, with some having black stripes. The belly of the snake often appears cream to yellow.
Fresh Water Keelback
Just as the name suggests, the snake lives in water. The snake is brown to dark in colour with some black stripes. The snake has rough scales that often form ridges exposing pale skin. The underside of the snake is cream with a tinge of pink to orange.
You can find the snakes in water bodies, heaths, forests, and suburban gardens. The snake is active both day time and at night. Amazingly, the snake lives well on the ground and can also climb well. The snake mainly feeds on small cane toads, other frogs, reptile eggs, and other small mammals.
This species of snakes are common along the shores of the waters on the island. However, they pose no threat to human life because they’re non-venomous.
Fraser Island has about 18 species of snakes. About a third of these snakes are venomous and dangerous to human life. Some of the snakes found include death adder, green tree snake, brown tree snake, freshwater keelback, eastern brown snake, and the carpet python.
If you encounter any snake as you explore the island, it’s advisable to move away and let experts handle them.
7. Fresh Water Turtles Fraser Island
The freshwater turtle is a beautiful creature which many people would love to see in the wild. On Fraser Island, Australia you have the chance to make this dream a reality and get up close and personal with the freshwater turtles that live here.
These turtles are one of the things that Fraser Island is known for, Australia as a whole is famed for its diverse and often indigenous wildlife and when visiting the country, one of the favourite things to do is to interact with it.
In this article, we are going to be taking a look at the freshwater turtles of Fraser Island in a much more detailed way, giving you all the information you need to know about these stunning creatures before your visit to the island.
We will also be revealing the best place to guarantee a sighting of a freshwater turtle whilst on Fraser Island.
A Bit Of Freshwater Turtle Background
The freshwater turtles, like those that can be found on Fraser Island, are a group of animals that can be traced back over 200 million years and there are 24 different species of freshwater turtle found in the country.
These turtles require water but can often be seen sunning themselves during the day in order to dry off a little, this might be the perfect time to snap a shot of one of them.
Australian freshwater turtle has extremely powerful back legs which they use to swim and many can be identified by their long, snake-like necks. As the name suggests, this type of turtle lives in freshwater sources such as rivers and streams and cannot be found in the ocean.
One of the most interesting facts about the freshwater turtle is the way that it retreats into its shell. Most people who expect that they would simply pull back to go inside the shell but the freshwater turtle is also lovingly called the ‘side neck turtle’ due to the fact that it turns its head to one side when heading back into its shell.
When it is time to breed, females can lay up to 25 eggs at any one time. Once the hatchlings come out of the eggs, they can take as long as ten years to reach full maturity, that being said each one can live to be around 5o years old!
During the season where the turtles are laying their eggs, there are conservation programs in operation on Fraser Island which help to ensure that the eggs are protected.
What Types Of Turtle Can Be Found On Fraser Island?
As we mentioned, Australia is home to around 24 types of freshwater turtle, but which ones are you likely to come across when visiting Fraser Island? There are three species of freshwater turtle which are most commonly found on Fraser Island, these are;
- The short-necked turtle.
- The Eastern snake-necked turtle.
- The broad shelled river turtle.
What Do The Freshwater Turtles Of Fraser Island Eat?
It may come as a surprise to learn that the diet of the freshwater turtle is pretty varied. Often times, they will eat whatever they can get their hands on, within reason because they are highly adaptable creatures who will make the most of the environment that they live in.
There are some turtles which eat meat exclusively and others which are vegetarians but for the most part, they are omnivores who indulge in both meat and veg. Usually, their natural diet includes many of the following foods;
- Water weeds
- Plants (all water-based as turtles cannot feed on dry land.)
- Small freshwater fish
- They may sometimes feed on an animal which has deceased although they prefer to go after live prey when eating meat.
Where To Find Turtles On Fraser Island
There are many places on Fraser Island which are teeming with freshwater turtle life, some of them are major tourist spots. In this section, we want to show you some of the very best places to go turtle spotting, most of which will almost guarantee that you can meet and greet a freshwater turtle.
Our first stop is a place called Lake McKenzie which comes highly recommended for anyone wishing to say hello to a freshwater turtle. This stunning, clear lake can be found in the Great Sandy National Park and is one of the most visited natural places on the whole of Fraser Island.
Not only is there a high probability of seeing many freshwater turtles here but there are also a whole wealth of other activities to take part in. The area is favoured by hikers and you even have the option to camp nearby. Or how about taking a swim in this rainwater created lake which the turtles seem to love!
Lake Allom is one of the most popular places to catch a glimpse of a freshwater turtle on Fraser Island. Turtle spotters are invited to stand on the viewing platform here which gives a great view of everything that the turtles might be getting up to.
It is worth noting that those visiting the lake are absolutely forbidden from feeding the turtles as this is not beneficial to the ecosystem in which they live.
If those two idyllic lakes were not enough, how about visiting Lake Wabby which is a gorgeous lake surrounded by rich rain-forests and sand dunes, making it a turtle paradise.
If you are looking for something a little different, you could try Eli Creek on the east of Fraser Island which is well known for the huge amount of turtles that live here and is a great spot for seeing them in their natural habitat.
Many people also choose to swim with the turtles and there have been plenty of reviews that put this activity above and beyond the experience of swimming with dolphins!
If you are looking for a truly inspirational experience and one that really brings you back to nature then taking a trip to Fraser Island and discovering one of its most well-loved forms of wildlife-the freshwater turtle, will be well worth it.
These amazing and beautiful creatures live in glorious surroundings that can be appreciated and loved by turtles and humans alike.