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Australia’s Mission Beach Wildlife *or* Platypuses Count as Beach Wildlife!

Posted by E.G.D. on September 7, 2011

Blue Ringed Octopus (photo by Jnpet from Wikimedia Commons)

Australia is very well known for its abundance of unique wildlife, and it is also well known for its varied and beautiful coastline.  Put the two together, and I fear the first thing that comes to my mind is the scary oceanic fauna “Down Under” that will kill you almost instantly if you get too close.  I admit it.  I am extremely intimidated by Australia’s blue ringed octopus and box jellyfish (yesaustralia.com says “The box jellyfish is responsible for more deaths in Australia than snakes, sharks, and salt water crocodiles put together” and that the tiny blue ring octopus “can easily kill a human”). However, I’m really starting to warm up to the Cassowary Coast in Queensland.  This is in large part due to Australia’s Mission Beach‘s incredibly well managed and frequently updated website that includes a really fun wildlife-focused blog that updates up to three times a week.  The front page of the blog mainly features interesting birds at the moment, though at the bottom of the list you can find a cute and (GASP!) harmless snake and something entirely different from anything else anywhere… Australia’s very own platypus!  You know, I had never in my life really thought of platypuses as beach wildlife, but hey, they’re semi-aquatic!  Why wouldn’t they be happy on a beach?  They’re very specifically found on Australian fresh water beaches, so don’t go looking for them along Australia’s Mission Beach‘s ocean coast, but they are native to the Mission Beach, Australia area and can purportedly be spotted at dawn and dusk, which are their periods of greatest activity.

Platypus Swimming (photo by Maksim from Wikimedia Commons)

Isn’t that cool?  I’d love to see a platypus in real life.  The closest I’ve come is seeing a stuffed one in a museum in Scotland, and that just doesn’t do it for me.  Speaking of stuffed platypuses in Britain, though, did you know that “the first specimens to arrive in London were instantly dismissed as fraudulent“?  I can’t say as I blame those old-time Londoners.  It must have seemed like a jackalope (which is essentially a jack rabbit with antlers glued to its head by a crazed taxidermist).  I can see it now: “Well I say, whose leg do you think you’re pulling?  You sew together a beaver, an otter, and a duck and think we’re going to believe that it came to be like that naturally?  HA!”

For those who wondered, this is a quoll (photo by Leonard G. from Wikimedia Comons)

Anyhow, if you search the blog’s older posts, there is some interesting information about fruit bats, butterflies, wallabies and quolls, among other species that are awesome and native to the area.  Really, I have to say that if you couple the animal spotting potential with the incredible beach views (featured on the site’s mainpage), I can see myself willing to risk the scarier wildlife for a visit to the Cassowary Coast.  Regardless, I assure you that the Mission Beach, Australia website is quite safe (no octopuses or jellyfish there!) and worth a visit in its own right.

Happy beachgoing- E.G.D.

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