7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

Want to meet some of SA’s icon­ic noc­tur­nal ani­mals? Take a night tour at Cle­land to see these native species.

It may sound sur­pris­ing but one of the best times to vis­it Cle­land Wildlife Park is after dark. That’s when the park’s many noc­tur­nal res­i­dents are up and about.

While some ani­mals are strict­ly noc­tur­nal, like pos­sums and bandi­coots, oth­ers just seem to be more active at night.

Night walks are a great way to meet some of these cute crea­tures and learn more about them from an expe­ri­enced guide.

Equal­ly adorable dur­ing the day and at night, here are sev­en of Cle­land Wildlife Park’s native night owls:

1. Potoroo

These lit­tle mar­su­pi­als are some of the friend­liest ani­mals in the Aus­tralian bush and while they’re not strict­ly noc­tur­nal, these guys are still up and at em’ overnight. Often con­fused with rats, they’re actu­al­ly more like mini kan­ga­roos. Potoroo mums even car­ry joeys around in their pouch.

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

2. Tas­man­ian devil

Both fero­cious and cute, the crit­i­cal­ly endan­gered Tas­man­ian dev­il has the largest bite force to body size ratio of any ani­mal in the world. It’s only slight­ly less pow­er­ful than a pit­bull. They use their keen sense of smell to scav­enge for food and being awake through the night means they’re no stranger to a mid­night snack. 

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

3. Bandi­coot

The south­ern brown bandi­coot is noc­tur­nal but can also be seen out and about dur­ing the day. Female bandi­coots can have up to five lit­ters of between two and three joeys every year, gen­er­al­ly in the sec­ond half of the year. 

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

4. Micro­bat

Lurk­ing in the dark and hard­ly mak­ing a sound, bats are true crea­tures of the night. While you’re get­ting your beau­ty sleep, bats are work­ing as nature’s exter­mi­na­tors. They play a vital role in con­trol­ling insect num­bers, eat­ing about half their body­weight in insects each night. At the top of the menu? Mos­qui­toes and moths. 

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

5. Tawny frogmouth

Not to be con­fused with an owl, this bird has a clever method for catch­ing insects at night. A tawny frog­mouth will sit still with its mouth open, allow­ing the moon­light to make the inside of its beak glow. This attracts insects who fly right in. Despite its demure appear­ance the frogmouth’s hunt­ing tech­niques are any­thing but. Larg­er prey, such as mice, are picked up and knocked repeat­ed­ly against a tree branch. 

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

6. Koala

Snooz­ing in the sun is how koalas spend most of their day – in between munch­ing on euca­lyp­tus leaves. Did you know they eat approx­i­mate­ly 10 per cent of their body weight in leaves each day? That’s about 1,000 leaves per koala per day. At this rate, each koala needs access to around 60 trees a year. You’ll often hear them at night growl­ing and grunt­ing, but it’s not a good idea to approach a wild koala. Despite their cute and fuzzy exte­ri­or, koalas will lash out with teeth and claws if they feel threatened. 

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

7. Pos­sum

Arguably the most com­mon native night walk­ers, pos­sums are the only mar­su­pi­al able to thrive in urban envi­ron­ments – using sheds and roof spaces as makeshift tree hol­lows. There’s the ring­tail pos­sum, which lives almost exclu­sive­ly in trees, and the brush­tail vari­eties, that come to ground to feed mak­ing them a com­mon vic­tim on our roads. Both species are leaf eaters, and aren’t afraid to sneak into your veg­gie patch or fruit trees overnight to sat­is­fy their bellies. 

7 animals you can see on a Cleland night walk

Want to see some of these noc­tur­nal crea­tures for your­self? Book a night walk where you can get up-close and per­son­al with these guys and plen­ty of oth­ers, includ­ing bet­tongs, kan­ga­roos, wal­la­bies and owls. You can pick a pub­lic tour with an expe­ri­enced keep­er, a pri­vate night walk for a more tai­lored expe­ri­ence, or splash out with the Indul­gence Night Walk.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Octo­ber 2015.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living