Extreme heat means wildlife in distress, and bloody hard work.

Extreme heat has a taste.

Its an earthy blend of sweat and dirt. It is tasted with a thick tongue of dehydration, that stays swollen no matter how much water you drink. I can still taste it three hours after the heat has passed.

Its been over 40 for two days now in Melbourne. Extreme heat for most people means a day spent inside with the air-con on full. It means something different to wildlife tour operators, wildlife carers and everyone who works with wild animals.

It means wildlife in distress, and bloody hard work.

Yesterday, Koala Researchers Bart, Harry and Hannah started early before the heat. They were on a mission to find koalas in trees while they were still visible – once it gets over 37C koalas hide on the ground, or in thick vegetation and can be nearly impossible to find. And you can’t help animals you can’t find.

They found Pat and Imvula then Wildlife Guide Michael found Kiki, Kozo and Ngardang. I found an unnamed young male later.

On extreme hot days koalas can overheat and die. Most koalas are already dehydrated due to climate change drying out the eucalyptus leaves which provide them with their ‘drinking water’. A dehydrated koala can’t cool itself. So their poor little heads cook.

We have found a way to cool them down and hydrate them, but they need to be less than 5metres up a tree.

Michael’s observations showed Ngardang low in her tree, so I went straight to her. She is one of our breeding females, so she is very important. She is young and healthy, but she’s just weaned a joey and could be pregnant again or feeding a tiny new pouch joey.

I hoisted the 15kg backpack sprayer on my back and walked in to her.

She was still low, and in a perfect position. But I’ve tried spraying her before, with no luck. She is a very cautious wild koala, and it takes them a while to learn that this new experience is good.

I crept up, very quietly – if I make noise she might move up the tree out of sprayer reach. I set the spray nozzle on mist and starting spraying her so that it hit the branch in front of her, gently. She looked up, but then closed her eyes, enjoying the cool spray.

Over the next ten minutes I sprayed 8 litres of water on her. Her fur was damp, she had licked some off the tree trunk, and she looked much brighter than when I found her. Watch:

Of course, the whole time I was standing in the full sun with a heavy backpack, hand-operating a slide mechanism that takes a bit of strength. I was knackered, and she was just the first of five koalas that day.

Each koala is different. KiKi loved the spray, and made no effort to move away even when it was hitting her hard on her legs and body. At the end she looked like a teddy bear that had fallen into the bath.

Imvula was the worst/best. He was so flat that he barely raised his poor hot head from the ground when he heard me. He took 10 litres of water spray even though he’d never been sprayed before. At the end he climbed up, off the ground into the tree, wet and dripping with life in his beautiful brown eyes.

Every half hour or so I checked the weather site – I knew there was no respite, but you can’t help but hope. The temperature guage just stayed up. Over 40 for six and a half hours in the You Yangs.

Between spraying koalas I filled water in troughs and trays all around the You Yangs. At every water source I disturbed Swamp Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Grey Fantails, Magpies, White-winged Choughs, Brown-headed, Yellow-faced, New Holland and Scarlet Honeyeaters, Silvereyes, Red-browed Finches, Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, all drinking from my little trays. They were all open-mouthed and desperate. I hate to disturb them, so I only approach when the water is empty.

The birds don’t sing when its that hot. All you hear is the wind. Its like all life has ceased to be.

Finally, at 6.30pm the temperature started to drop and I went home to 8 hours of sleep, blissful, untroubled sleep.

Then it all started again today.

Our Koala Researchers and Wildlife Guides found Winberry, Clancy, Kiki, Kozo, the unnamed young male again, and Pat and Lluvia.

I went first to Winberry, as he hasn’t been sprayed this season. Wildlife Guide Brett and his tour guests were there too. I showed them what I was about to do, and told them why. Then I sprayed him, and got each of Brett’s guests, one by one, to spray him a little.

After all, tour guests are paying for this.

The tours pay the Koala Researchers and me. Without the tours we wouldn’t be in the You Yangs 310 days a year watching and learning about these koalas so that we can find them on hot days.

Spraying a hot, thirsty koala should not be a spectacle and we are careful not to present it that way. But it is a powerful message about climate change and what its doing to our wildlife.  Sometimes, experiencing a thing makes it real.

For years I was terrified of summer. I saw my beloved koalas dying from heat and climate change. I read scientific papers and learned that it would get worse. I worried and had trouble sleeping.

The only cure for worry is action.

It wasn’t easy – it took years of trying different ideas & equipment, many little failures and lots of input from our whole amazing team, and our Koala Clancy Foundation Members. But we’ve finally come up with something that works.

I’m home now, really tired. My tongue is swollen and I can still taste the heat.  I know Koala Researchers and Wildlife Guides are feeling the same.

But I will sleep tonight. And nine koalas feel a little bit better.


How kangaroos display to avoid fighting

How kangaroos display to avoid fighting
Fighting is dangerous – even minor fights can lead to injury, and most fights require focus, which distracts the animal from watching out for predators.

Many male animals use body language or bluff to avoid fighting. Male kangaroos use expressive gestures to show other male kangaroos how strong they are, and thus avoid fighting unnecessarily.


Kangaroo bluff display consists of these moves, usually in this order:

Exaggerated pentapedal walking

Kangaroos ‘walk’ by moving their front legs forward, then balancing on their tails for a moment to shift their back legs forward. Its called the pentapedal walk (penta = five, pedal = feet, including the tail). When displaying a male kangaroo will exaggerate this walk by pushing his shoulders and forearms forward, highlighting his muscles. He will arch his back and balance on his tail for longer than normal.

Ball handling and exaggerated grooming

Kangaroos scratch themselves a lot, just as a part of normal grooming. But a male kangaroo avoiding a fight will groom to an extreme degree – its a great way to show nonchalance, but also how pronounced and large their muscles are.

When watching others males display or fight, some male kangaroos will groom their testicles a lot by holding them in their hands and stroking them repeatedly. This doesn’t appear to be masturbation – I haven’t seen it lead to an erection.

Chest rubbing

During the pentapedal walk, male kangaroos will pause to rub their chest against the ground, by dropping one shoulder to the ground and rubbing back and forth. This spreads their scent and alerts other males to their presence.

male kangaroo chest rubbing

Grass pulling

Also during a pause in the pentapedal walk, a male kangaroo will grab a tuft of grass in his hand and pull it out and throw it away. This shows off his strength (and probably his arrogance). He will also claw at the ground and throw dust in the air.

High standing

This is the most extreme of displays and requires great strength. The kangaroo will raise his body to a normal upright position, then extend on to his tip toes. Its the same thing they do to hop, but more vertical, and held for longer. This position can give a kangaroo an extra 40cm of height.

Only very large, strong kangaroos can maintain high standing for long durations. It is the supreme demonstration of their fitness and strength. A rival male seeing this might avoid fighting if he can’t high-stand for as long.

kangaroo high standing

Kangaroos in the wild are fascinating social animals. Watching male kangaroos avoid fighting is just as interesting as watching kangaroos fight.

Read and watch how kangaroos fight here.

Watch kangaroos fight and avoid fights on Echidna Walkabout’s Sunset Koalas & Kangaroos IN THE WILD tour near Melbourne.

Frogs of East Gippsland

Frogs of East Gippsland

Full List of Amphibians of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

East Gippsland, Victoria has 29 native extant (living) amphibian species.  They represent 2 families in 1 order.  East Gippsland comprises only 0.3% of Australia’s total area, but is home to nearly 14% of her frogs.  

Read more about why East Gippsland is such a hotspot for amphibians here.

Conservation Status in Victoria is noted beside each species thus: CR: Critically Endangered EN: Endangered VU: Vulnerable NT: Near Threatened DD: Data Deficient

AMPHIBIANS Order Amphibia

Family: Hylidae Tree-Frogs (12 out of 81 species in Australia)

Litoria aurea Green and Golden Bell Frog Vulnerable Field Guide

Litoria citropa Blue Mountains Tree Frog Field Guide

Litoria citropa East Gippsland

Litoria ewingii Brown Tree Frog Field Guide

Litoria jervisiensis Jervis Bay Tree Frog

Litoria lesueuri Lesuer’s Frog Field Guide

Litoria littlejohni Heath Frog Large Brown Tree Frog  Vulnerable Field Guide

This frog was only recently rediscovered in mountains of East Gippsland after years of being presumed extinct. Read more: Sydney Morning Herald

Litoria nudidigita Leaf Green Tree Frog Field Guide

Litoria peronii Peron’s Tree Frog Field Guide

Litoria peronii East Gippsland

Litoria phyllochroa Leaf Green Tree Frog ala.org.au

Litoria raniformis Southern Bell-frog Vulnerable Field Guide

Litoria spenceri Spotted Tree Frog Endangered ala.org.au

Litoria tyleri Tyler’s Tree Frog ala.org.au

Litoria verreauxii Verreaux’s Tree Frog Field Guide

Family: Myobatrachidae Myobatrachid or Southern Frogs (16 out of 121 species in Australia)

This family is unique to Australia. 

Crinia signifera Common Froglet Field Guide

Crinia signifera East Gippsland frog

Geocrinia laevis Smooth Frog ala.org.au

Geocrinia victoriana Eastern Smooth Frog Field Guide

Heleioporus australiacus Giant Burrowing Frog Vulnerable Field Guide

Limnodynastes dumerilii Banjo Frog, Eastern Pobblebonk Field Guide

Limnodynastes peronii Striped Marsh Frog Field Guide

Limnodynastes tasmaniensis Spotted Marsh Frog Field Guide

Mixophyes balbus Stuttering Frog Vulnerable Field Guide

Neobatrachus pictus Painted Frog ala.org.au

Paracrinia haswelli Haswell’s Froglet Field Guide

Pseudophryne bibroni Bibron’s Toadlet, Brown Toadlet ala.org.au

Pseudophryne dendyi Dendy’s Toadlet, Southern Toadlet Field Guide

Pseudophryne semimarmorata Southern Toadlet Field Guide

Uperoleia laevigata Smooth Toadlet Field Guide

Uperoleia martini Martins Froglet Field Guide

Uperoleia tyleri Tyler’s Toadlet Field Guide

Click here for a full list of Mammals of East Gippsland 

Click here for a full list of Birds of East Gippsland (coming soon)

Click here for a full list of Reptiles of East Gippsland (coming soon)

See the wonderful wildlife of East Gippsland, including frogs on our Maximum Wildlife and Wildlife Journey tours. 


Learn about frogs at this excellent site: https://frogs.org.au/frogs/ofVic/East_Gippsland
To identify a frog go to: https://frogs.org.au/frogs/key.html


An easy way for tour guides to help wildlife

An easy way for tour guides to help wildlife

There’s a beautiful rock-wallaby that lives in the crevices at Ubirr, Kakadu. We see them every time we visit, and have pointed them out to many other visitors. Their presence at Ubirr is quite well known – we have spoken to Aboriginal Guides up there who also see them often.

Read about them here.

So it came as a surprise to find that this rock-wallaby is a newly-discovered species, that information on their basic behaviour is sparse, and that few images of them exist online.

Luckily, as Wildlife Guides we are in a habit of photographing and documenting most creatures we see. My photos and videos of Wilkins’ Rock-wallaby now form the majority of the gallery on CSIRO’s Atlas of Living Australia, and the only image of this wallaby on wikipedia.  My video of them mating is the only video showing their reproductive behaviour on YouTube.

wikipedia snapshot wilkins rock wallaby

Observations of wildlife taken on tours can be extremely useful to scientists, land managers and other wildlife enthusiasts. Tour Guides often visit the same sites repeatedly, sometimes on days or at times of day that others avoid. Our sightings are valuable and can really help wildlife, but they are not much good if they stay inside our heads.

But how to do it? Its not hard. Here’s a step by step guide to making your wildlife observations count:

1. Take a photo. Half a second to take a photo, and you have tons of information at your fingertips. The camera usually records a time & date, some even record a GPS location. A photo will often record the habitat too, which can be useful for researchers.

Powerful Owl female roosting with common brushtail prey
This photo tells researchers a lot – the bird is a female, she has caught a Common Brushtail Possum (which means that species lives in the area too), and she is roosting in a Kanooka (Tristaniopsis laurina) tree. 

2. Identify the animal. The photo is critical if you can’t identify the animal on the spot. These websites will help with identification:

Australian Marsupials, Reptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates and Plants: https://www.facebook.com/groups/144261675750262/

Australian Mammal Photography: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AustralianMammals/

Australian Bird Identification: https://www.facebook.com/groups/209677085864957/

3. Submit your observation to an online atlas. Its generally best to do this after you’ve identified the species on the sites above.

  • All Australian animals and plants: Atlas of Living Australia https://www.ala.org.au/ This one is great for mammals, reptiles, butterflies and plants. Scientists use it – it has enormous credibility. This site also draws in all the data from eBird, NatureShare, museum collections, all scientific observations, so it is the single go-to source. Only problem is that you have to do each species one by one, so its not convenient for full bird lists.
  • Birds: eBird http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ this one is very well set up for complete bird lists anywhere in the world. You submit all the birds you see in a location in one easy step.
  • iNaturalist https://www.inaturalist.org/home This is a US-based site but really good too.
A sighting record on Atlas of Living Australia

But there are so many animals!  Where do I start?

Birds are well known in urban areas, but bird sightings in remote areas are important. Mammals – even the ‘common’ ones – are less well known, particularly in remote areas. Knowledge of Australian reptiles, butterflies & moths, insects and fungi is particularly poor and observations of these can be really helpful.

Animals that are Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened really need our help. Even animals that we think of as common are sometimes facing threats, and their future is really in the balance. For instance the Lace Monitor (Goanna) is now listed as Endangered, and the Grey-headed Flying-fox is Vulnerable – sightings of these animals are really important.

Here’s a list of animals threatened in Australia

Each state also has a Threatened Species List – some are harder to find than others. These are the states that publish a list online:


New South Wales


Western Australia

Northern Territory

If I can help please contact me.

The Honeyeaters of Mallacoota

The Honeyeaters of Mallacoota
Mallacoota in far East Gippsland is Victoria’s most diverse region for plants, especially flowering plants. Where there are flowers, there are honeyeater birds: a group of noisy, colourful Australian birds adapted to feeding on flower nectar.

In the Mallacoota region it is possible to see 21 species of honeyeater.

Most of the common Victorian species are here: Red & Little Wattlebird, Eastern Spinebill, New Holland & Yellow-faced Honeyeater; but there are also special ones: Tawny-crowned, Crescent, Lewin’s Honeyeater; some are summer visitors: Scarlet Honeyeater; and some are real rarities from NSW and Qld: Noisy and Little Friarbird, White-cheeked Honeyeater.

The Mallacoota region has hills and mountains, coast and heathlands, estuaries and rivers, rainforests and dry woodland, each home to a different group of honeyeater birds.

Here’s a list and description of all the honeyeaters recorded in recent years around Mallacoota.

Eastern Spinebill   Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

Eastern Spinebill Honeyeater

Description: small, colourful honeyeater with long curved beak.  

Where to see: Can be seen almost anywhere in Mallacoota region where native trees or shrubs or garden plants are flowering.

Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata

Red Wattlebird front view adult

Description: Large, streaky grey honeyeater with yellow patch on belly. Very noisy.

Where to see: can be seen almost everywhere in Mallacoota including gardens, all year round

Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera

Little Wattlebird in Coast Banksia Mallacoota

Description: Similar to Red Wattlebird but lacks yellow patch. Very noisy.

Where to see: Mostly near the coast, all around the region.

White-fronted Chat Epthianura albifrons


Description: a small black and white bird that is most often seen on or near the ground in open areas. Chats are considered honeyeaters, but they are quite different to the rest of the group, both in shape and habits.

Where to see: Not common, best chance is near the coast in open areas – Bastion Point, Mallacoota airport.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater Gliciphila melanops

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater
By Francesco Veronesi from Italy [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Description: an elegant brown, tan and white honeyeater with curved long beak. They are not easy to see, they often stay low and quiet in thick heath.

The Mallacoota region is one of the best places to see this bird in all of Australia.

Where to see: Mostly along the coast in heathlands south of Mallacoota – Shipwreck Ck, Mallacoota airport.

Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops

Croajingolong Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Description: A small green-olive honeyeater with yellow patch on face.

Where to see: Almost everywhere around Mallacoota region in forests and gardens. Possibly the most common small honeyeater in region.

Fuscous Honeyeater Lichenostomus fuscus

Fuscous Honeyeaters
By Aviceda (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Description: a small, yellow-olive honeyeater a bit like the Yellow-faced but lacking the large yellow patch.

Where to see: Not often seen in region, they seem to prefer drier forests. One reported on north side of Inlet in 2013, another found north of Wangarabell in 2012, another in Mallacoota in 2010 (source: Birdata)

White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis

Mallacoota honeyeater

Description: Medium-sized dark green and black honeyeater with white patch on face

Where to see: in forests – Wallagaraugh, Mallacoota (Shady Gully, Casuarina Walk), Genoa Falls.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops

By Lip Kee from Singapore, Republic of Singapore (Yellow-tufted Honeyeater (Lichenostomus melanops)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Description: a beautiful yellow and black, medium-sized honeyeater with dramatic facial markings.

Where to see: in forests, mostly in the hills – Wangarabell, Genoa Falls, Maramingo.

White-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus


Description: a small green-yellow honeyeater with a white plume on cheek.

Where to see: Not often seen this far east, more a bird of western Victoria, but some recent records at Genoa Peak and Shipwreck Ck.

Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala

Noisy Miner
By Mike Prince from Bangalore, India (Noisy Miner) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Description: a medium-sized miner, grey with yellow and black markings around the face. Miners are a group within the honeyeaters – they are chunky-bodied, have bare skin behind their eyes and quite short beaks. They are not related to the introduced Common (Indian) Myna, though they look a bit similar.

Where to see: Occasionally recorded in Mallacoota town area.

Bell Miner (Bellbird) Manorina melanophrys

Bellbird Mallacoota

Description: a small miner, green-olive with red patch behind eye and bright gold beak. Their bell-like call is well-known and much loved.

Where to see: Common, heard in almost every rainforest or wet forest. They can be hard to see at first, simply because they are hidden in thick foliage, but with patience you can usually see one. 

Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii

Lewin's Honeyeater East Gippsland

Description: a beautiful, medium-sized green-olive honeyeater with yellow crescent on the cheek. Their call is very distinctive – a bit like a machine gun.

Where to see: Common, often in slightly wetter forests but also along the coast.

Brown-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris


Description: a small brown, olive and white honeyeater.

Where to see: Scattered records throughout region, often in dry forests, high in canopy.

White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus

White-naped Honeyeater Mallacoota region

Description: small, green and white honeyeater with a black head and a red eyebrow.

Where to see: Common in most forest types – usually seen high in canopy.

Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta

Scarlet Honeyeater East Gippsland bird

Description: a small red, black and white honeyeater with a curved beak.

This bird is one of the reasons birdwatchers come to Mallacoota – these tiny birds fly down from the north in Spring and East Gippsland is their first stop in Victoria. Sometimes they spread throughout the state (as they are doing this year – 2017), but Mallacoota is always a reliable site to see Scarlet Honeyeaters in Spring and Summer.

Where to see: They are usually seen along the coastal forests – Shipwreck Ck, Betka Beach, Heathland Walk – but also up Genoa and Wallagaraugh Rivers at Gipsy Point, Wallagaraugh.

Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis

Little Friarbird, Wentworth NSW

Description: a medium-sized light grey friarbird with blue skin around face. Friarbirds are a group among the honeyeaters that are large, noisy and usually have bare, unfeathered heads – the Little Friarbird doesn’t have a totally bare head, but does have a lot of bare skin.

Where to see: one seen in 2014 at Gipsy Point (source: eBird)

Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus


Description: a large light grey friarbird with a bare black head like a tiny vulture.

Where to see: Not common, but several recent sightings from Karbeethong, Gipsy Point, Mallacoota, Wallagaraugh

White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris nigra


Description: a medium-sized black, white and yellow honeyeater, very similar to the common New Holland Honeyeater, but does not have the white eye.

Where to see: This bird is mostly found in NSW and Qld, but there are two records from Cape Howe Wilderness north of inlet in 2014

 New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

East Gippsland honeyeater

Description: a medium-sized black, white and yellow honeyeater with a streaky breast and white eye.

Where to see: Common in gardens and forests all around Mallacoota region.

Crescent Honeyeater Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera

Crescent Honeyeater Birds of Mallacoota
By JKMelville (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Description: a medium-sized black, white and yellow honeyeater with two black bars forming a broken crescent on chest

Where to see: Can be seen all over Mallacoota region in forests, but do not seem to be as common this year (2017). They do have a tendency to come down to coast in winter and go up to the mountains in summer. Recent records from Genoa Peak and Shipwreck Creek. 

Come and see some of Mallacoota’s gorgeous honeyeaters on our 15 or 21 day Maximum Wildlife trips. 

Read more about the wildlife of East Gippsland here: Mammals of East Gippsland

A great wildlife experience is not about seeing animals.

A great wildlife experience is not about seeing animals.

A great wildlife experience is not about seeing animals. It is about understanding animals.

I love wildlife. Wild animals are my number one reason for living, and my main reason to travel. But seeing wildlife is only part of the experience.

Its the people who care for wildlife that make the experience.

In Africa in 2016 the rains had failed. At Klaserie, part of Greater Kruger in South Africa with our main Wildlife Guide Martin and our local Guide Enoch, we came upon a herd of magnificent, huge Cape Buffalo grazing beside the track.


They were calm and placid, and seemed happy to graze within metres of us.

After a few minutes of photography, Enoch and Martin started telling us about the condition of the buffalo we were looking at. They were skinny, their hair patchy, and had many ticks.

With a great softness Enoch said “I feel sad for these buffalo.”

Martin then said, also with deep sadness “About half of these buffalo will not survive this summer.”


I looked at them differently from that moment. Where I previously saw an interesting animal, I now saw pride and courage. I saw hurt, and determination. I saw each buffalo as an individual, and I silently wished them luck.

I have never forgotten those Buffalo.

On another trip to Savuti in 2014 we witnessed one of the most magical sights in Africa. On our second day we drove out onto the marsh with Martin and our local guide Izzy. The rains had been kind that year, and brought water to Savuti after many barren years.

With excitement in his voice, Martin pointed out a dark smudge on the horizon. It was like a low cloud, or smoke – dark grey and thick and stretching for miles.

The buffalo have come back” he said, grinning.

The cloud approached slowly, but we watched it all the way. Thousands upon thousands of Cape Buffalo, plodding slowly, grazing as they came. In time the herd filled our view from horizon to horizon.


Buffalo only live on the Savuti Marsh when there is sufficient water to sustain them. They need to drink every day. It had been many, many years since they had been here. Knowing this from our Guides, we appreciated it fully – I think we sat in that open vehicle watching them for an hour.

I have never forgotten those buffalo, because a great Wildlife Guide helped me to understand them.

Both times, if I was without a Guide I might have seen a herd of animals. With a Wildlife Guide I understood the animals.

There is a big difference – seeing is momentary. Understanding is forever.

Wildlife Guide Martin runs wildlife safaris from June to September every year. Next trips are Kenya and Uganda in July 2018. Read more here: https://www.explorenature.com.au/upcoming-safaris/


Read why Australians should go to Africa.

Note from the author:  I am a professional Wildlife Guide in Australia. I work with koalas & kangaroos, wombats and the birds of the south-east and with those species I don’t need a guide – I am the guide. My powers of observation, my general understanding of animals are pretty good. But outside of my region, and the species I know, I always try to travel with a Wildlife Guide. It is just better. There’s no way I could know enough about the animals of another country, or even another region of my own country – not ever, no matter how much I read and research before I go.

If you love animals do yourself a favour – get a great Wildlife Guide.



The Mammals of East Gippsland

The Mammals of East Gippsland

Full List of Mammals of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia

East Gippsland, Victoria has 72 native extant (living) mammal species.  They represent 26 families in 8 orders.  East Gippsland comprises only 0.3% of Australia’s total land area, but is home to over 20% of her native mammals.  Most of the major types of Australian mammals are present in this region: 2 of the 2 monotreme families; 11 of the 17 living marsupial families; 5 of the 8 bat families; 1 of the 1 family of native rodents and 7 of the 10 families of marine mammals.

Read more about why East Gippsland is such a hotspot for mammals here.

Conservation Status in Victoria is noted beside each species thus: CR: Critically Endangered EN: Endangered VU: Vulnerable NT: Near Threatened DD: Data Deficient

MONOTREMES: Order Monotremata  (2)

Family: Ornithorhynchidae (1)

Ornithorhynchus anatinus (Platypus)  Watch video of the elusive Platypus 

Family: Tachyglossidae (1) 

Tachyglossus aculeatus (Short-beaked Echidna)

MARSUPIALS: Infraclass Marsupialia (26)

Order: Diprotodontia (17)
Kangaroos, wallabies:  Suborder Macropodiformes (7)
Family: Macropodidae (5)

Macropus giganteus (Eastern Grey Kangaroo)

Macropus robustus (Eastern Wallaroo) EN

Macropus rufogriseus (Red-necked Wallaby)

Petrogale penicillata (Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby) CR

Wallabia bicolor (Swamp Wallaby)

Family: Potoroidae (2)

Potorous longipes (Long-footed Potoroo) EN

Potorous tridactylus (Long-nosed Potoroo) EN

Koala & wombat: Suborder Vombatiformes (2)
Family: Phascolarctidae (1)

Phascolarctos cinereus (Koala)

Family: Vombatidae (1)

Vombatus ursinus (Common Wombat)

Possums & Gliders: Suborder Phalangeriformes (8)
Family: Acrobatidae (1)

Acrobates pygmaeus (Feathertail Glider)

Family: Burramyidae (1)

Cercartetus nanus (Eastern Pygmy Possum) NT

Family: Pseudocheiridae (2)

Petauroides volans (Greater Glider)

Pseudocheirus peregrinus (Common Ringtail Possum)

Family: Petauridae (2)

Petaurus australis (Yellow-bellied Glider)

Petaurus breviceps (Sugar Glider)

Family: Phalangeridae (2)

Trichosurus caninus (Mountain Brushtail Possum/Bobuck)

Trichosurus vulpecula (Common Brushtail Possum)

Bandicoots: Order Peramelemorphia (2
Family: Peramelidae (2)

Isoodon obesulus (Southern Brown Bandicoot)

Perameles nasuta (Long-nosed Bandicoot)

Dasyurids (carnivorous mammals): Order Dasyuromorphia (7
Family: Dasyuridae (7)

Antechinus flavipes (Yellow-footed Antechinus)

Antechinus agilis (Agile Antechinus)

Antechinus swainsonii (Dusky Antechinus)

Dasyurus maculatus (Tiger/Spot-tailed Quoll) EN

Phascogale tapoatafa (Brush-tailed Phascogale) VU

Sminthopsis leucopus (White-footed Dunnart) NT

Sminthopsis murina (Slender-tailed/Common Dunnart) VU

PLACENTALS/EUTHERIANS: Infraclass Placentalia (44)

Order: Carnivora (6)
Suborder: Caniformia (6)
Family: Canidae (1)

Canis dingo (Dingo) DD

Seals: (5)
Family Otariidae (3)

Arctocephalus pusillus (Cape/Australian Fur Seal)

Arctocephalus forsteri (New Zealand Fur-seal)

Arctocephalus tropicalis (Subantarctic Fur Seal)

Family: Phocidae (2)

Hydrurga leptonyx (Leopard Seal)

Mirounga leonina (Southern Elephant Seal)

Whales & Dolphins (Cetaceans):  Order Cetacea (17)
Suborder: Mysticeti (6)
Family: Balaenidae (1)

Eubalaena australis (Southern Right Whale) CR

Family: Balaenopteridae (5)

Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Minke Whale)

Balaenoptera borealis (Sei Whale) DD

Balaenoptera musculus (Blue Whale)

Balaenoptera physalus (Fin Whale) DD

Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale) VU

Suborder: Odontoceti (11)
Family: Delphinidae (6)

Delphinus delphis (Short-beaked Common Dolphin)

Grampus griseus (Risso’s Dolphin)

Orcinus orca (Orca)

Pseudorca crassidens (False Killer Whale)

Tursiops australis (Burrunan Dolphin) EN

Tursiops truncatus (Bottlenose Dolphin)

Family: Physeteridae (1)

Physeter macrocephalus (Sperm Whale)

Family: Ziphiidae (4)

Mesoplodon densirostris (Blainville’s Beaked Whale)

Mesoplodon grayi (Gray’s Beaked Whale)

Mesoplodon layardii (Layard’s Beaked Whale)

Ziphius cavirostris (Cuvier’s Beaked Whale)

Bats, Fruit Bats, Flying foxes: Order Chiroptera (16
Flying Foxes: Suborder Megachiroptera (2)
Family: Pteropodidae (2)

Pteropus poliocephalus (Grey-headed Flying-fox) VU

Pteropus scapulatus (Little Red Flying-fox)


Family: Emballonuridae (1)

Saccolaimus flaviventris (Yellow-bellied Sheathtail Bat)

Suborder Microchiroptera (13)
Family: Molossidae (2)

Mormopterus planiceps (Southern Free-tailed Bat)

Tadarida australis (White-striped Free-tailed Bat)

Family: Vespertilionidae (11

Chalinolobus gouldii (Gould’s Wattled Bat)

Chalinolobus morio (Chocolate Wattled Bat)

Falsistrellus tasmaniensis (Eastern False Pipistrelle)

Miniopterus schreibersii (Common Bentwing Bat) EN

Myotis macropus (Large-footed Bat)

Nyctophilus geoffroyi (Lesser Long-eared Bat)

Nyctophilus gouldi (Gould’s Long-eared Bat)

Scotorepens orion (Eastern Broad-nosed Bat)

Vespadelus darlingtoni (Large Forest Bat)

Vespadelus regulus (Southern Forest Bat)

Vespadelus vulturnus (Little Forest Bat)

Suborder: Yinpterochiroptera (1)
Family: Rhinolophidae (1)

Rhinolophus megaphyllus (Smaller Horseshoe Bat) VU

Native rats and mice:  Order Rodentia (5 native)
Family: Muridae (5)

Hydromys chrysogaster (Water Rat)

Mastacomys fuscus (Broad-toothed Mouse) DD

Pseudomys fumeus (Smoky Mouse) CR

Rattus fuscipes (Bush Rat)

Rattus lutreolus (Australian Swamp Rat)

Swamp Rat Mammals of East Gippsland

INTRODUCED MAMMALS (12): not included in totals above

Mus musculus (House Mouse) INTRODUCED

Rattus rattus (Black Rat) INTRODUCED

Canis familiaris (Feral Dog) INTRODUCED

Vulpes vulpes (Fox) INTRODUCED

Felis catus (Cat) INTRODUCED

Equus caballus (Horse/Brumby) INTRODUCED

Bos taurus (European cattle) INTRODUCED

Capra hircus (Goat) INTRODUCED

Axis porcinus (Hog Deer) INTRODUCED

Cervus unicolor (Sambar) INTRODUCED

Lepus capensis (Brown Hare) INTRODUCED

Oryctolagus cuniculus (European rabbit) INTRODUCED

Here’s a list of the Frogs of East Gippsland

Read about the honeyeaters of Mallacoota here.


References: This list has been compiled from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mammals_of_Victoria

The Museum of Victoria: http://museumvictoria.com.au/bioinformatics/mammals

Atlas of Living Australia:  http://www.ala.org.au

and the Land Conservation Council East Gippsland Area Review 1985


If any mammals are missing, please contact janine@echidnawalkabout.com.au