It is even more amazing than the wildlife of the rest of Australia.
Most of it is much the same as the wildlife in many other places in
Australia, particularly in north
But then there are also the unique
Cape York animals
- the species that are only found here and in our
northern neighbour Papua New Guinea.
And that said, it is not easy to
most of the animals.
The absence of them
obvious, particularly during the drier parts of the year, which is the
high season for Cape York travellers.
have to put a bit of effort into finding them, or at
least know where to go
to find them.
Each species has their
spots, they are all in the Destination
most unique mammals are monotremes
found in the whole Australia, including Cape York, and while it is not
easily seen everywhere, you do sometimes come across it.
a water animal, it lives in freshwater streams and waterholes,
and it is a
other Australian mammals
Some of the most famous marsupials such as koalas and wombats are not
found in Cape York. Neither do we have many kangaroos. Only one
- the Eastern Grey, lives in the south-eastern parts of the peninsula.
other kangaroo-like animals that you may come across are either
or wallaroos. There is also one species of tree
kangaroo on Cape York, but it is not very easy to spot.
Rufous Wallaby and Tree Kangaroo.
are a few different species of possums
in Cape York, such as brushtails, ringtails, striped possums and
others. Some are found on the whole peninsula, others in smaller areas.
There are also a few species of gliders and two species of cuscus.
Possum and Sugar
dunnarts and bandicoots are
Bandicoots are quite
easy to see, they
come to camping grounds and eat
food scarps, while dunnarts and quolls are shyer.
and Flying Foxes
and flying foxes are placental
(not marsupial) mammals. Apart from the more common little red flying
fox that is found in many
other parts of Australia, there are two more species of flying
York - the larger - black; and the bit smaller - spectacled flying fox.
There are also about five species of bats.
Nosed Bat and Spectacled Flying Fox.
and Other Introduced Cape York Wildlife
placental animals are dingoes and introduced animals. Dingoes are not
very easy to come across, but feral pigs and feral horses are
everywhere. You most likely see them on your trip.
Dingo at Jardine River ferry
York Wildlife - Birds
the most amazing birds
the flightless emus and cassowaries. Emus are common and easy to see
even in the rest of Australia, while cassowaries
are endangered, rare to see and only found in tropical north
and Southern Cassowary.
also many other,
smaller flightless birds.
Some of the most common ones in Cape York are bush
found in the whole coastal Queensland
where they 'normally' have a yellow
their neck, but the subspecies found on the Cape York peninsula has
Turkey - Cape York / Atherton Tablelands.
and lorikeets are some of the most
colourful, noisy and fun birds to watch. A fair few species are
found in Cape York, including eastern rosellas and rainbow lorikeets,
as well as red winged, golden shouldered, red cheeked and eclectus
Rosella and Rainbow Lorikeet.
of fun and
noisy, but less colourful birds are cockatoos.
There are a few species in Cape York, including sulphur crested, red
tailed black and palm
cockatoos as well as galahs
and Red Tailed Black Cockatoo.
and Other Kingfishers
Another famous Australian
bird is kookaburra,
and while the better known laughing kookaburra is found in the southern
eastern parts of Australia, up north we also have the blue
kookaburra. Both are found in Cape York, along
with seven other species of kingfishers.
Winged Kookaburra and Collared Kingfisher.
York is also home for jabirus
- beautiful large birds with
a wingspan of more than a metre. Brolgas
are grassland birds and jabirus live near water.
A brolga and a
Pigeons and Doves
are many colourful pigeons
Australia. Some better known ones that are found in Cape York are
doves and imperial pigeons.
Fruit Dove and Imperial Pigeon.
Australian largest raptor,
the wedge tailed eagle is found in Cape York, but is not quite as
common here as further south in the outback
The second largest - the white bellied sea eagle is quite common and
quite easy to see. There are a few
other species of eagle, as well as hawks, kites, ospreys and falcons.
There are also a few different species of owls,
Sooty Owl and and
Of course, there are
many, many other birds in Cape York, too many to describe here in
detail. One of my special favourites is the tiny and beautiful sunbird - also only
found in north Queensland.
- only found in coastal north Queensland.
There are two
species of crocodiles
in Australia, and both are found in Cape York.
Types of Crocodiles
man eating saltwater
crocodile is the
world's largest crocodile.
It is very dangerous, and it will kill a human
for food if you give it a chance. The smaller, freshwater
can give you a bite, but it doesn't kill humans for food. The two are
to distinguish by their size, and the broadness of their snout.
Types of Turtles
group of dinosaur-time reptiles (along with the crocodiles) are
and just like in crocodiles, there are saltwater and freshwater turtles.
Lizard, Iron Range. Skinks
one of the largest groups of reptiles in Australia. There are many
different skinks in Cape York, the largest ones are blue
skink in Weipa.
As we are in the tropics we also have the little and cute gecko
lizards, including house
geckoes (both the native
and the Asian house gecko).
Lizard in Cape Tribulation.
larger reptiles that
you may come across are monitor
are impressively large meat-eating reptiles. We don't
have the Australia's largest one - perentie - but we do have the second
largest - lace
Monitor in Cairns.
Snakes are also Cape York Wildlife
We also have many snakes
- some of the most feared reptiles. Like in the rest of Australia,
we have both non
venomous and poisonous
snakes in Cape York, however on your trip you probably only
come across the harmelss and very common black headed python.
Headed Python near Ussher Point.
Frogs are also Cape York Wildlife
that you will see in Cape York are green
tree frogs. There are many species of native brown-coloured
frogs too, but the introduced pests cane
toads are fat and easy to recognise.
Tree Frog and Cane Toad.
Cape York Insects
the most beautiful insects
you will see in Cape York are the electric blue Ulysses
Butterfly in Cairns.
You may also see Cairns
- the largest of all Australian butterflies
(the female is, not the male in the pic below).
Cairns Birdwing butterfly in Kuranda.
impressively large Australian insects are rhino
which are also found in Cape York.
There are many different species of ants, but probably
the most common ones are green
ants, whose nests you can see everywhere. They
are harmless unless you go disturbing a group, when the attack can be
ants building a nest, Elliott Falls.
Another thing you will notice is termite
They can be huge, and there is lots of them. Termites live everywhere
in Australia, but only in the northern tropics do they build mounds -
and Cape York is full of them.
mounds on Cape York, Bramwell. Of course we also do have the spiders,
and as in the rest of Australia, some can be poisonous.
bird eating spider.
Cape York Wildlife - Water
finally, there are the water
animals. The most amazing marine
animals are the marine
mammals like dugongs,
there are many
places where you could see them from the coast.
Cape York is also in the northern end of the
Barrier Reef, and there are so many beautiful coral
reef animals. Do take a trip to watch
them while up here - the reef is much closer to the mainland than down
south, making the tours
And there are also the shore animals, like soldier
this 50 pages
guide totally for FREE.
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all
the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact
detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks,
at least 30 guaranteed FREE
camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to
the Cape), at least 40 best
swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things -
from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception,
how to deal with the national
parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits
and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery
gear by my vehicle-recovery-guy partner).
Not to mention locals'
tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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