Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Here are a few of the critters I've found around the place so far.  I'll start with the "icky" ones.

This is a mole cricket.  I found it when I was digging up the raised bed to make it a veggie patch.  Scared the crap out of me at first because it was so big and freaky and I had no idea what it was (it's a few inches long by the way).  I even thought it was dead, it wasn't moving at first but woke up a bit after a while.  After a bit of research I learned that they're nocturnal, silent crickets that generally live underground or in mulch.  They can chew on roots, but generally they don't do much damage and you should let them be.  I put him back in the dirt.

This next critter is a shining cockroach.  Mostly I see them outside - under the lid of the recycling bin, in the garage door jam.  But once I found one inside the rim of the dishwasher, which freaked me out and made me worry that they were the "bad", indoor kind.  But no, they're wingless, native to Australia, and they prefer the great outdoors.  They don't eat people food, they don't breed inside, and they don't carry disease like the German cockroach that infests kitchens.  This is the one I found inside, but I just put it back outside where it belonged.  They're also fairly long, over an inch long, which is bigger than the German roaches.

Once I even found a big fat grub in the ground under the pencil pines.  I didn't take a photo, so I'm borrowing one from another website to show you how nasty they look.  It went in the bin, they munch away at roots and are pests.

And finally, the cute critters.  Possums in Australia are much cuter than American possums.  But they're a bit of a pest, like squirrels - cute but destructive.  They like to eat roses, herbs and fruit, and get in fights with house cats (the possums usually win, or run away).  They can be quite loud when they're fighting, and if you're not careful they like to nest in your roof.  You can't kill them, they're a protected species, though you can hire someone to trap them and move them to another area.  So far I've been super-lucky, they've left my plants alone.

They're generally nocturnal, so I was very surprised to find these two little angels in my lemon tree one afternoon in daylight. 

These two are still practically babies and should be with their mother.  The one at the top of the tree was making little alarm calls, but they didn't run away when I took photos.  I hope they wound up OK, I'm a little worried their mom may have been hit by a car, but they weren't there the next day.

But don't you agree that they're so much cuter than American possums?