20 May 2011

ANU brings Life in the Suburbs

| johnboy
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ANU has announced the launch of a new website called “Life in the Suburbs” to help identify the creatures that can be found in Canberra.

“It includes guidelines for managing ACT-specific urban habitat, steps to reduce human-induced threats to urban biodiversity and practical guidelines for developing habitat gardens and landscapes.”

Life in the Suburbs also includes a database which helps people identify locally occurring species and learn more about their ecology. Listings cover birds, frogs, reptiles and mammals, including a local species of platypus – one of which was recently spotted taking a dip in Sullivan’s Creek.

Mr Taylor said the sighting highlighted that, like the rest of Canberra, Sullivans Creek and ANU are home to a large variety of native species.

“Most ANU staff and students probably think of Sullivans Creek as little more than a glorified drain, but a stretch of it actually has some important ecological significance,” he said.

“But it is home to turtles, water rats – which are one of only two amphibious mammals indigenous to Australia and reasonably rare – and now, according to recent sightings, a resident platypus.”

The Life in the Suburbs project is an initiative of ANU in partnership with the ACT Government, Australian National Botanic Gardens, CSIRO, the National Museum of Australia, the National Capital Authority and the Sullivans Creek Catchment Group. It is also supported by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust.

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That is a nice site. One suggestion though; don’t use the term ‘menu bar’ when you are talking about native animals in the suburbs. Though duck-billed platypus with truffle, stuffed with its own eggs is very nice, I hear.

I hate to dredge up an old post, but this morning I was sure I saw a platypus in Sullivan’s Creek! I would have thought it was a rat taking a swim, but I was sure I saw the distinct duck bill attached to the body. What do you think the chances are that it was actually a platypus?

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