HDH: Quolls pass training test

15 04 2010

This weeks Hump Day Happy via DaveTheHappySinger

Cane toads were a bad idea. A very bad idea. An insanely bad idea. But anyway, Australia is now stuck with rampaging toxic amphibians threatening almost all our native wildlife. Amongst those threatened are native carnivores. Aside from birds and snakes, there is a whole range of little superficially rodent-looking marsupials, and quolls.

Quolls are awesome. Just from having an awesome name like “Quoll” (and providing more ‘q’ words in scrabble). They aren’t wimpy like “possums” and “sugar gliders”, these critters eat MEAT. Sadly, toads are made from meat, so quolls will naturally try to to eat toads. And then they die. Which is sad.

So the happy news at ABC is that scientists at University of Sydney have been successfully training small groups of quolls to resist the urge to eat cane toads using aversion therapy. The quolls were exposed to small toads sprayed with a nauseating compound which made trying to eat the delicious grenouilles quite unappealing.

“The toad was hopping around. It looked like something good to eat, but once they sniffed it they got that signal saying, ‘Hey, we’re not good to eat’ and they ignored it.” – Dr. Jonathan Webb

A video of the training process is also up on the ABC.

When released into the wild and monitored, trained quolls had higher survival rates than untrained quolls.

The scientists hope that toad training can be initiated ahead of the toad invasion front, so that by the time the toads reach that area the quolls (and other animals) no better than to try and eat one.

The actual scientific article can be found at the Journal of Applied Ecology (you’ll need a Wiley InterScience subscription) DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01802.x





It’s Alive in Brisbane: Pretty Possum

14 04 2010

Finally, I have been able to photograph something living in the Brisbane area that wasn’t a water dragon. I was getting worried they might have eaten everything else.

Actually, I have seen other living things, I just have not had my camera with me when I have seen them.

The rusty critter above was spotted at the QUT Kelvin Grove campus as I came home from the bus stop after ice skating. Possums are pretty common to be spotted on campus at night, and I have seen at least one during the day time.

Later on, closer to my unit, spotted one hanging upside down on a wire outside someone’s house. Thankfully they didn’t notice me taking flash photography outside their window, which may have been a little difficult to explain easily.





The wallabies are wasted

29 06 2009

You’ve probably all heard it by now. Tasmanian wallabies are getting wasted in poppy fields and creating crop circles.

I was gonna blog this way back in last week. But then I had a farewell from work, a farewell from friends, social lounge, someone else’s farewell, clean, pack, uniquest, and then today I had to scramble to unpack and scan identifying documents in the vain hope of proving that I can afford to pay for potential accomodation (I can… I hope).

But man… those wallabies… that is awesome.

I wonder if that means there may be a grant out there on doing some studies on marsupials and drugs/addiction?

Image credit: mrmanc on flickr (CC by attribution & share-alike)





Roughhousing Aussie Youth

1 06 2009

004, originally uploaded + © maisierevenge.

… must … resist … urge … to … post … cuteness …





Koala cuteness tragedies

23 02 2009

via F U Penguin (language)

Do not share your water bottle with koalas kids, you could get Chlamydia…

Michael Manuel and his wife used a soup ladle to feed this koala in their yard at Upper Sturt.

Click through for a larger picture. AdelaideNOW (News Ltd) has a complete gallery of thirsty koalas snapped while the Victorian bushfires raged.

Donations can be made to the RedCross bushfire appeal here. Donations can also be made to the RedCross to assist floodstruck North Queensland.





Fair go, mate

22 01 2009

funny pictures
moar funny pictures





Kangaroo sequences, cocaininated bees and stupid robots

30 12 2008

Here’s a rapid fire dump of some stories that remain in my “to post” box.

Yes, one’s that are trying to get away.