Trichonephila edulis

There are sooooo many golden orb weavers (Trichonephila edulis) here in the Australian sub-tropics at this time of year; every garden sports half a dozen or more, it seems. Their tangled webs are large, strong and sticky, so one needs to be careful when walking outside in the dark. The spider’s bite is not venomous, though it can cause pain and swelling. Perhaps you’d like to try biting back: edulis means edible. The spider has apparently been considered a delicacy in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia, plucked by the legs from its web and lightly roasted over an open fire.

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) on the other hand, is much harder to spot. So I was pretty happy when all my neck-craning paid off this afternoon, down by the creek.

Mulligans Flat

Last night we went on a guided night hike at Mulligans Flat, a 1285ha (3175 acre) predator-fenced woodland sanctuary near Canberra. Several native species have been successfully reintroduced here, including the Eastern Quoll, a marsupial about the size of a house cat, and the Eastern Bettong, a little macropod, both of which we spotted. We also heard Stone Bush-curlews and saw Superb Parrots, Eastern Rosellas, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Red-necked Wallabies, Swamp Wallabies, many Common Brushtail Possums and orb weaver spiders, and one teeny frog. It was awesome!

trichosurus vulpecula

Common brushtail possums are the Australian marsupials most often seen by city dwellers, as they can thrive in a wide range of natural and human-modified environments. They are inventive and determined foragers with a liking for kitchen raids, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens, as our Wollongong friends well know!

This baby was in the temporary care of our wildlife rescuer friend when we stayed with her the other night. Pretty darn cute.