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Native Wildlife Species

Listed below are some species of Native Wildlife that are commonly found in the Hinchinbrook Region. For a full list of native wildlife found in Queensland including what to do in an emergency please visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website

Brushtail Possums

The most common possum found in the Hinchinbrook area is the Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).

Brushtail Possums are highly adaptable to human habitation. They are known to make their homes in sheds, house roofs, wall cavities, and back yard trees. In built up areas where there are few trees with hollows, these places provide the only warm dry shelters.

Where possible, possums use fences and electricity/telephone cables to travel from place to place when foraging for food such as fruit. Otherwise they are forced to run along the ground where they can fall prey to motor vehicles, domestic animals and humans.

If you suspect you have an unwanted possum in your home:

  • Inspect your roof for signs of entry. Entry may be gained through broken tiles, lifting roofing iron, rotten timber eaves, loose guttering etc. Look for indications of the presence of a possum including faecal matter, urine staining, fur, and possible food scraps.
  • If you suspect a possum is entering, place balls of paper into the entry cavity. Inspect over the next two days and if the paper is pushed in or out, a possum is probably gaining entry through that cavity.
  • Fill the cavity again with paper and wait until the evening. Watch from a discrete distance for the possum to exit or inspect the cavity at 10 minute intervals. Once you see the papers balls are moved and you are sure the possum has exited, seal off the cavity and inspect the site for any young or other animal trapped inside.
  • If you consider that you need to relocate the possum, place a purpose built possum trap near the cavity with fruit to attract the animal.

If you come across an injured or orphaned possum contact North Queensland Wildlife Care Inc. on 0414 717 374.

Agile Wallabies

Hinchinbrook is home to the Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis). This attractive macropod (meaning ‘large’ ‘foot’) has a distinctive white strip along its cheeks and thighs.

The Agile wallaby can be seen in grazing in the Tyto Wetlands in Ingham, and it is commonly seen on the outskirts of townships throughout Hinchinbrook and North Queensland.

Sadly, due to its high mobility and adaptability to live on the fringe of urban environments, the Agile wallaby often falls victim to vehicle impacts, domestic dogs and illegal hunting. Other predators include crocodiles and wild dogs.

Agile wallabies are very timid animals and take fright easily. 

Ingham is fortunate to have several wildlife carers who raise orphaned wallabies. If you find an orphaned joey call North Queensland Wildlife Care on 0414 717 374 and they will refer you to a local carer.

Point of Interest: What’s the difference between kangaroos and wallabies? Kangaroos grow much bigger. The smaller macropod species (less than approximately 20kg) are referred to as wallabies. As with everything, however, there are exceptions to this rule and the Agile wallaby is one of them with some males growing to over 25kg.

Southern Cassowaries

The Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) is native to Australia and it is our heaviest flightless bird; the emu is taller. Sadly, this magnificent animal is classified as Endangered under Federal legislation.

As such, it is always a rare treat to see a cassowary in the wild. There are many locations throughout Hinchinbrook where cassowaries can be found roaming in their natural habitat. Though they are a large bird, they can be very difficult to spot among the trees.

If you don’t see a cassowary, you may hear its distinctive low frequency sound called a ‘boom’. The boom is the lowest bird call of any bird.

The ‘bump’ on a cassowary’s head is called a casque. Its purpose is unknown but it has been suggested that it may act as a kind of helmet as the bird runs through the rainforest as the casque is hard on the outside and sponge-like on the inside, much like a bike helmet. It may also assist a bird to hear the ‘boom’ of other birds. As the casque grows throughout the animal’s life, it can help to determine the age of the bird.

Females have a taller casque and, unlike most birds, the females are more brightly coloured than the males.  Three to five young are raised by the male each year.

It is important not to feed cassowaries as they are a large bird and they can become aggressive if they feel threatened. A kick with their legs can cause serious injury.

If you see a cassowary injured, in distress, or an orphaned chick please call the Cassowary Recovery Team’s 24 hotline on 1300 130 372. The call may go to an answering machine if the duty ranger is attending to another matter, but it is important to provide as much detail as possible including location, time, circumstances and your contact details so rangers can contact you if they need further information.

Mahogany Gliders

This is one animal you are very unlikely to see. Listed as Endangered under both State and Federal legislation, the Mahogany Glider (Petaurus gracilis) is nocturnal and very elusive.

They live in open lowland sclerophyll forests in a narrow coastal strip between Townsville and Tully. This enables them to glide from tree to tree. If the gaps between trees is too great, they are forced to the ground where they are may fall prey to night birds, domestic animals and motor vehicles. Sadly, animals are sometimes found caught on barbed wire fences.

To help combat the adverse impacts of development and infrastructure to glider habitat, a range of man-made mechanisms can be seen in and around Hinchinbrook that help the glider to safely traverse road corridors.  At Easter Creek south of Ingham launching poles have been installed from which gliders can fly across the Bruce Highway. Similarly, rope bridges have been constructed as part of the new highway over the Cardwell Range to help gliders and other arboreal animals navigate their way across the highway.

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