Tuesday, 14 June 2011

I'm not procrastinating ....

... I'm observing the wildlife.

Red has a couple of favourite spots in the garden. On chilly mornings he warms up in a sunny patch on the rainforest edge. In the afternoons, he lies up in the dappled shade of azalea and bottlebrush outside the living room. I can see him from my desk.




Like many other marsupials, pademelons have syndactylous hind feet. The second and third toes are almost completely fused, only the nails remaining separate. These form a comb for grooming. After a good scratch, a paddie cleans up by nibbling on its nails. Because the animals are crawling with fleas, ticks, louse-flies and leeches (I can confirm the presence of all those ectoparasites), they probably get a good protein hit that way. They are certainly very enthusiastic scratchers and nibblers.




Sometimes the paddies have a disagreement. Their clumps of fur are prized by the grey fantails, who use them to line their nests. Fantail chicks must have the cosiest homes. No wonder they never want to leave.

6 comments:

wildwings said...

Lovely series of photos - their grooming habits have always fascinated me.

Calling Ravens said...

Do they smell (stink)? Not like skunks, from glands, but do they have a rangy odor or are you unable to get that close? Just curious now that you have described ectoparasites and grooming.
It's always good to spend some time observing nature.
lol.

biobabbler said...

wow. who knew? Thanks very much. All news to me.

Snail said...

Wildwings, I'm amazed how they can be so precise with their scratching. Those back legs are really powerful. It's a wonder they don't do themselves some injury!

Snail said...

Meggs, I haven't noticed a smell, but I don't have much of a sense of smell anyway. They can certainly locate each other by scent. Even when a dominant male is close but out of eyeline, the females and young ones will go into a submissive pose.

They think I smell awful but my horrible pong mustn't be very strong --- they have to actually sniff my skin before they record their disgust by shuffling backwards with an appalled look.

Snail said...

Biobabbler, what's even odder about marsupial syndactyly is that it appears to have developed independently in two lineages --- the diprotodontids (kangaroos, wombats, koala, possums etc) and the bandicoots.