…had I posted this picture yesterday, well, it would not have been much of a mystery, would it? Even so, most of you knew what it was!
A couple of years ago, several people said they’d seen a crocodile in The Gooseponds. Of course, that gave the braggarts an opportunity to pump it up and before long, there were stories of 3 metre “salties” thrashing the water in typical roll action. And, after a while, we heard about some elderly aunt “almost losing her pet pooch.” A very short hop from this sort of stuff to the “what if small children were attacked?”
So the City Council set a trap. From time to time, the trap was moved up or down the pond, but with no result. And then public interest focused on more exciting stories. A croc was eventually removed from the area and no more was heard.
Until…after the recent flood there were warnings that certain “dangerous” wildlife might be flushed from their usual haunts. Sure enough, someone said he “thought he saw” a croc. Then we heard an eye-witness account from a fisherman who pulled off the road and had a closer look at the “log” floating on the pond. Having seen a few similar “logs” on his fishing forays this chap confirmed that there was an estuarine crocodile there. (No, probably not the one thay trapped a couple of years ago as that was taken well beyond a croc’s normal range.They say.)
I took a few photos last week (to entertain bloggers!), but didn’t see any sign of saurian savagery. And I think the little turtles are having a field day with that pig haunch!
Long-necks sport a carpet of brilliant green moss on their shell, which may give them some camouflage. Image: John Cann.
All Australian freshwater turtles have some type of scent or musk gland, and the longneck is particularly well armed, sporting a gland above each leg just where it emerges from the shell. The liquid contains six different acids, not surprisingly producing a noxious brew – and long-necks are the most pungent of all the turtles.
While the adult turtles actively squirt out this liquid, newly hatched turtles just plain stink of it and experiments have shown that even a starving eel will spit out a baby turtle. Yet after just a few weeks in captivity, turtles usually cease to produce the odour, as they settle down and relax in their new surroundings.
Long-necks are incredibly adaptable, and can be found paddling leisurely along most of Australia’s eastern rivers, as well as in many lakes and human-made reservoirs. Thanks to a bag of turtle tricks, they can survive in a wide range of climates, from areas like Cooma, NSW, where air temperatures plunge below zero, to the western Queensland town of Alpha, where summer temperatures shoot up above 40 degrees.
I had a link to the ABC site, but the page is being “revised” or something. You can try this:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/scribblygum/ and look for April, 2003, turtle entry.
So, now you’ve read about the unpleasant tricks cute little turtles can play on their enemies.
You’d like me to write about something less noxious? How about my experiments with the ancient art of marbling?
Sorry! That proved to be almost as stinky and certainly as messy! But I will show you a couple of photos of some of the papers I managed to produce.
Now, those little black rascals are in the garden. Somewhere. So I’d better check on them…
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