August: Of Moon Snails, Micro-bats, Mud Crabs and Melomys...

As we neared the end of August and welcomed the warmer weather, the changes in the wildlife around Kingfisher Bay Resort and across the island became even more apparent.

Perhaps the greatest changes were observed in the abundance and diversity of marine life spotted this month in the Great Sandy Strait.

Whilst Flying-foxes weren’t as abundant as in previous months, we observed that numbers of Micro-bats were on the rise on Fraser Island.

With the weather warming up we have seen an increase in insect numbers, which has in turn attracted a greater number of these small flying mammals, which prey on insects using their fascinating sonar adaptations.

We have noticed a decline in the number of nocturnal mammals we’re seeing; however several Bandicoot sightings and the glimpse of a Grassland Melomys (pictured above - photo courtesy of James Cook University) -making a hasty retreat through the Eucalypt forest – certainly topped the nocturnal mammal sightings for August. These mammals were a big hit with the resort’s ranger team and resort guests alike.

The oceans provided us with dozens of fish sightings with many small juvenile fish taking refuge in the safety of the shallows at high tide.

A few larger predators were also spotted including two recorded sightings of both Barramundi and Flathead. In total we observed 15 different marine species including 11 fish species, two species of elasmobranch including a Brown Stringray – and two species of crustacean including a sizeable Mud Crab and the most notable of all sightings for August – a Moon Snail.

Moon Snails are large snails that can attain a size of 5 inches and can extend a fleshy foot over 12 inches in diameter - low tides in the spring and summer are the best time to spot these critters as they come into shallow water to lay their eggs.

All in all a great August, but we’re looking forward to seeing what this September spring brings on Fraser Island.