These 7 creatures will make you want to visit the incredible Daintree Rainforest. This 180 million year old phenomena is home to the highest number of plant and animal species in the world that are rare and threatened. The Daintree Rainforest was added to the World Heritage list in 1988 and covers 12,000 square kilometres between Townsville and Cooktown.
- Spectacled Flying Fox
The spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) is an incredible species that can be easily mistaken for the black flying fox due to their very similar colours. The distinctive fur colour surrounding the eyes of the spectacled flying fox is what separates these creatures apart. Mostly found in Rainforest areas in Tropical North Queensland and the Torres Strait Islands this mammal’s diet consists of mostly rainforest fruits, some eucalyptus nectar and pollen. The Spectacled flying fox is considered a threatened species and has a population of less than 100,000 across the world.
- Wompoo Fruit Dove
If hearing a ‘wompoo’ sound in the rainforest or the sound of fruit falling, you will immediately know this bird is nearby. The Wompoo Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus mignificus) is known for its unmistakeable ‘wompoo’ sound. It is described as having a large green upper body and upper wings, a plum-purple breast and yellow belly and underwing, fitting right into the rainforest! This dove loves the rainforest, feeding on its luscious fruits and is extremely hard to find anywhere else.
- Amethystine Python
This iridescent blue scaled reptile is Australia’s largest python (from 3 to 8 metres in length). The Amethystine Python (Morelia amethistina) also known as a scrub python keeps mostly to dense warm rainforest yet sometimes ventures elsewhere. This amazing creature’s diet consists of a variety of small mammals such as fruit bats, rats and possums, sometimes eating small and medium sized birds and occasionally large lizards. These pythons don’t produce venom to subdue their prey but use their razor-sharp teeth which curve backwards to grab and hold prey. They wrap their body around their prey to suffocate it, later swallowing whole. As pythons don’t produce venom, they aren’t dangerous to humans yet a bite by one would leave nasty wounds.
- Ulysses Butterfly
Tropical North Queensland’s most distinctive butterfly species, the Ulysses (Papilio Ulysses) is a true beauty to the Daintree Rainforest. These amazing butterflies live in Tropical North Queensland and Papua New Guinea beneath the rainforest canopy. Their distinctive colour providing excellent camouflage and fast flying skills protects themselves from predators. The butterfly feeds on nectar from flowers and the Euodia Tree and, as a caterpillar takes up the same colour of the plants it feeds on (typically green and white).
- Southern Cassowary
The Southern Cassowary also known as its scientific name Casuarius casuarius johnsonii is one 3 species of cassowary around the world. This large flightless bird is the height of a human with a tall brown casque on its head and a blue and purple neck with large droopy red wattles. These magnificent birds are found in Tropical North Queensland’s rainforests, swamps and mangrove forests. Some major threats to this large bird include fragmentation of habitat, vehicle strikes, human interaction and natural events. The Southern Cassowaries diet consists on fallen fruit, small animals, fungi and plants. These animals play a major role in maintaining the diversity of rainforest trees as they are on of the only fruit eaters that can carry large seeded fruits over long distances to disperse.
- Golden Orb Weaver Spiders
Golden Orb Weaver Spiders (Nephila edulis) are an astonishing creature in this rainforest. The spider can be found in Australia’s tropical and temperate regions and parts of New Guinea. The spider’s webs are about 1 metre in diameter and are a large contributor to catching their prey. The prey includes flies, beetles, locusts, wood moths and cicadas. The stronger the web of this arachnid the larger the prey it can catch. The Golden Orb Weaver has a black and white pattern on the back, yellow underside and a grey to brown abdomen.
- Azure Kingfisher
A regular visitor to the Daintree, you can capture this stunning bird on its branches. Dressed like a king, with a royal blue upper body and orange underbody, the Azure Kingfisher really takes up its name. By its Scientific name Ceyx azureus, this bird can be found next to waterways and wetlands, perched on low, overhanging branches, searching for its prey. This bird not only dresses like a king, but also eats like one, with a variety of its prey such as fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans, invertebrates and some frogs. This incredible bird will catch its prey by overhanging from branches to catch it and hit it against its perch, before swallowing it headfirst.
You can meet all these remarkable animals plus more in the Daintree Rainforest North Queensland.