If you didn't know what a Pademelon was, it's this 70cm high wee wallaby below. We saw this one when we sat down for a choc-coated coffee bean. He came hopping past us and stopped for a more healthy snack of forest floor. Luckily the pythons are not around in winter; they hibernate. There is one sleeping peacefully, as I type, in the roof of this building.
If you thought it would be easy to spot a little padimelon in the forest, have a look here. You can see the little red spots in her ears first, then her little black eyes. She was only a couple of metres from the track. She looked at us and politely said she would like us to move on a little so she could cross the track. We obliged and she hopped it!
There are two different padimelon here. I think they are both red-necked padimelon, although one is slightly redder and bigger. They are usually nocturnal so we were so lucky to see them on different days in Mary Cairncross Forest Park.
There are no snakes to worry about in the winter; they are all asleep. Of course in spring they all wake up and are hungry and grumpy. So, meanwhile, there are other things to think about, like the giant stinging tree.
The fruit bats are gregarious and noisy. They have a large wingspan, and at first I thought the noise was due to an owl or other predator being mobbed. As we approached I could see things flying round and could not sort out what was happening, until some of the large 'fruit' on the trees took off and resolved themselves as bats. More bats than an Aussie cricket team! Oops!
Then there are the spiders. The first one below is the sink spider - 5cm across and found in the washing up before being rescued and put out. The next two are a woodland species; the same whopping great spider, a huntsman, sprawled across the map, under the glass cover, and even bigger than the sink spider. The hefty black one was bad news, a lethal one, sorry about the focus, I was a little cautious about his attitude problems. The next two are a harmless Golden Orb spider; he did not survive long; the wee wrens had babies to feed. He was interesting, being red underneath when hot, mid-afternoon, and black in the mornings.
The biggest trees in the forest are the strangler figs, which have fruit for the birds, lots of crannies for the spiders and cockroaches, not to mention hibernating snakes. Figs start by germinating in the fork of a tree and grow, sending down roots which gradually strangle the host.