Australian Marsupials


    This is the Australian version of the possum, it looks very different from an American possum, which I can only describe as a nasty overgrown rat.

    Australian brush-tailed possums like these are nocturnal, they make good pets if you raise them from the time they're young, and they're great animals - in Australia.

In New Zealand, they're a major pest, they were introduced in the late 1800s to establish a fur trade, and they've done an excellent job of destroying New Zealand's native forests, which aren't equipped to deal with grazing animals, since there weren't any, before Europeans arrived.   When the forests go, so do the New Zealand birds, so possums like this one carry a lot of the blame for the decimation of the New Zealand native bird population.

These possums are pretty tame, they come each evening to the wharf at one of Magnetic Island's bays, and the tourists feed them.

koala sleeping on a toadstool

A koala exhibiting its natural behavior in its natural habitat - asleep on a toadstool!

In fact, you've only got a 16.66667% probability of seeing a koala feeding or doing anything active, because they're only active for about 4 hours out of every 24.

koala staring drowsily down
koala scratching joey

    This is the most active I ever saw a koala - looks like she felt an itch and had to scratch it, but she forgot that the itch is really her joey!

    Useless fact:  the young of all marsupials are called joeys, not just the young of kangaroos.

koala stretching dark claw towards me

    Good Lord, can it be true - an evil koala reaching out its deadly claws to get me?

    At least I won't have to run very fast to get away from it!

    I don't think there are any kangaroos on Magnetic Island, but here's their close cousin, a wallaby. 

    There are lots of different types of wallaby, including swamp wallabies and tree wallabies, but this is a rock wallaby.

wallaby with feeding sign
wallabies looking straight ahead

And why shouldn't you feed them bread?

wallaby with red eyes

    Because it makes their eyes glow bright red!

    It's a major problem, because it scares the Bejesus out of foreign tourists and makes it hard for the locals to sleep, because of all the pulsating red light flooding into their bedrooms from wallabies bouncing around in their back yards.