As with many island habitats, the native animals that call K’gari home are diverse, hugely important to the ecosystem of the island and above all, pretty darn loveable. Everyone has heard of the resident Dingo population and the sight of one of these majestic dogs trotting along the beach is a real treat and a view not seen anywhere else in the country.
So Dingoes are a good place to start. Who are these guys and why are they both loved and feared at the same time? They’ve been around for a long while, and are thought to have been introduced as long as 8,000 years ago. Dingoes are much like a typical domestic dog, except they’re more likely to eat small mammals including bandicoots than a bowl of kibble. They’re expert hunters and not scavengers naturally, but some tourists feed them which has occasionally led to aggressive behaviour from the dogs, which in turn has lead to an undeserved reputation for aggression. The Dingoes on K’gari are the purest in Australia as well as in the world and it’s a true privilege to see these golden coated beauts in their natural habitat.
The pristine, diverse habitats found on K’gari support a huge range of animals. The astonishingly cute sugar glider are small, nocturnal possums which glide through the forest, much like a flying squirrel. Their latin name translates as “short headed rope dancer” which is kind of fitting given their skills in aerial acrobatics. They have a distinctive black striped face and get their name from their love of sugary foods like sap and nectar. Head out at night and keep your eyes up towards the canopy to catch these cute guys in action.
K’gari is also host to more than 70 species of reptiles including the sand monitor and lace monitor lizards. These enormous, prehistoric looking critters are often seen scavenging around picnic areas and are completely harmless. Another resident which is a testament to K’gari’s diverse environment is the “acid” frog, which thrive in the tricky environment of the swamps inland.
Look up to the skies and you’ll be likely to find a few of the whopping 354 bird species spotted living in and around the island. The excellent diversity of food sources, breeding and nesting areas make it the perfect place for many species to call home, including the white bellied sea eagle. This beautiful bird of prey hunts in the waters off the island and have a wing span of two meters. Cormorants and darters can be seen diving into the ocean hunting fish while owls and the spectacularly named tawny frogmouth can be heard, and seen, by night.
The ocean around K’gari is no less full of wildlife including dolphins, turtles, rays and dugongs. Visit between July and November and you may well spot a pod of migrating humpback whales breaching just offshore.
So there you have it. K’gari is an island bursting with cute critters, both on land and offshore. Start planning your trip to K’gari with us today and get to see them all for yourself!