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01 February 2013

Animals you might see at (or near) our house

This post is for Amity (happy birthday, little Groundhog!) and Zara! Here are some of the animals you may see while you're visiting Oz.

1. Geckos

Geckos are small, very fast, and a bit shy, so you usually only see them very briefly. They are helpful because they eat spiders and mosquitoes. They look like this:

They make a sort of chirping sound which can be pretty loud when you think about how small they are. It sounds like this:

2. Gecko poo

Where there are geckos, there is gecko poo. It's hard to tell from the photo, but a poo is very small, about the size of a grain of long-grain rice. It almost always has a little white dot at one end, which is the gecko's pee. This is what it looks like:

3. Cockroaches

I know this may sound rather unpleasant, but better to be forewarned. The sort of climate we have here is very welcoming for all kinds of creatures, not all of which are ideal neighbours, and cockroaches are in that category. Usually if you see one in the house, it will be dead and look like this:

But sometimes they are alive and look like this:

I haven't seen any lately so I hope they've moved on.

4. Tiny little black ants

They're so small I couldn't even find any photos of them. They aren't much bigger than this apostrophe: '  They tickle a bit when they crawl on you but don't hurt you. Best to leave ants alone though, because there are other kinds that aren't so nice and it can be hard to tell which ones you're looking at.

5. Spiders

Spiders have 8 legs and come in all sizes. They trap flies and mosquitoes in their webs so we usually leave them alone and they leave us alone. I see lots of daddy longlegs around, and  you've probably seen them too, because they're very common just about everywhere:

I sometimes see a spider sort of like this one, in a big web, and leave it alone to let it do its spidery work:

6. Water dragons

These guys are relatives of the geckos, but they're bigger, though also very shy. We sometimes have one visiting the pool.

7. Birds

Lately I mostly hear crows squawking around here. They're big and black:

We also see a lot of magpies around:

But sometimes one of our trees gets a visit from a kookaburra or two. They are native to Australia and have a very distinctive call:

And there are always the brush turkeys - they walk all through the neighbourhood:

8. Possums

Possums come out at night - they're nocturnal - and they sometimes have fights on our rooftop with a lot of hissing. They can be bold, but if you pretend you're going to chase them they run away.

I hope you liked this little introduction to our local animals.

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