Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cape Cassowary

On Sunday we travelled up to Cape Tribulation, about a 2 hour trip from home. We dropped in to the Cape Trib Farmstay to say hi to the people who we've stayed with while on the Melbourne Museum field trips each year. It was extremely wet there - they've only had half a dozen days when it hasn't rained this year. Not good for their fruit.

Late in the day we talk a walk on the boardwalk and spotted a handful of bugs including a 'squirt' of Peppermint stick insects.

The Peppermint stick insect (Megacrania batesii) feeds solely on Pandanus sp. and has the unique ability to spray a  strongly peppermint scented liquid at any threat that approaches too closely. If the spray gets in your eyes it can cause extreme irritation.

The highlight of the day though was an encounter with a wild Cassowary and his very large chick. We came across them while on the boardwalk, and had the chick on one side of us and the male on the other. This made us a little nervous at first, but we remained very still and he did not seem perturbed at all. At one point he joined us on the boardwalk only metres from where we stood transfixed.

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