a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
the mammals of Australian arid regions are often rare and hard to find...
Many mammals of the Australian arid regions have been reduced in number or even gone extinct.
Many species of kangaroo and larger wallaby are sexually dimorphic, with the males being a different colour and much bigger than females.
Bettongia lesueur, 'Burrowing Bettong', 'Boodie'. Once very common, this species is mostly extinct on the mainland, now survives only on islands. Lived in dry woodlands and arid grasslands.
Lagorchestes hirsutus, 'Rufous Hare-Wallaby', 'Mala'. This species is now mostly extinct on the mainland, and survives only on islands. Lived in arid grasslands.
Osphranter robustus, 'Euro', '(western) Wallaroo'. These large kangaroos have more developed fore-arms and longer fur than grey or red kangaroos (making them appear 'shaggier'). They live mostly on and around rocky hills, but are larger and clumsier in their rocky habitat than rock wallabies. They are usually seen in pairs or alone. They are widespread across much of Australia.
Camels are the only hoofed mammals to mate in the sitting position. Lazy buggers. The males ejaculate three or four times during the mating session. Ok, not so lazy then.
Camelus dromedarius, 'Dromedary (one-humped) Camel'. Largest of the three extant camel species. As the name suggests, they have one hump on the back. When in heat, the males inflate part of their palate into a large red balloon (called the dulla), which hangs out of the side of their mouth like a swollen tongue. Apparently, the females are attracted to the male with their tongue hanging out (this doesn't work for humans). Also, it is not true that females attract the males with their camel toe. This is a domesticated species, and it is thought they have not existed in the wild in their native habitat for thousands of years. They are originally from the drier areas of northern Africa. They were introduced into Australia and it is thought there are over half a million feral individuals wandering around western Queensland, northern SA/southern NT, and mostly Western Australia.
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is Micronesia, New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea. Meanwhile I am giving a lecture on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on the "Sounds of suburban south-east Queensland"