The toadfish, the toe-cutter, and the great swimming head

  I once met a man who could hypnotize toadfish. He would stand ankle-deep, on the mudflats of Bramble Bay, with his heels together like Dorothy. And the little common toadfish would swim into the ‘V’ created, and become still. … Read More

Walk like a man: Was the giant kangaroo too big to hop?

Many years ago, Franz Kafka imagined a creature that was elusive, and remained tantalizingly out of reach, so that its exact nature was never quite discerned: The animal resembles a kangaroo, but not as to the face, which is flat … Read More

Egrets? I’ve had a few…

  Over the last couple of months four species of egret have been frequenting Dowse Lagoon. Sometimes I see them together in the same muddy corner near the bird-hide. They are the great egret Ardea alba, plumed or intermediate egret … Read More

The strangler fig: everyone’s favorite killer

A rainforest tree is subject to many mortal perils: shade, cyclones, fires, chainsaws. One of the most grotesque and extended deaths is carried in a tiny seed, rained down from above by complicit birds and bats. Many such seeds drop … Read More

Why is the house gecko noisy while most lizards are silent?

A recent visitor to our house – a keen naturalist from southern Australia – was startled the first time he heard the sound of an Asian House gecko, and was even more surprised that a gecko was responsible for the … Read More

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