Eye Shine

Aniket getting up close and personal with the possum that wanted to share our tent
Aniket & our visitor

Along the south Queensland border there are many great areas that are just teeming with wildlife. Many of the mammals here are only active at night, but their eye shine often betrays their presence.

At one of our stops we were getting ready for a night of spotlighting, and were cooking up a feast of sausages on our camp stove, when we were visited by a Brush-tailed Possum. This bold creature was completely unafraid of us, and was foraging for any scraps of food it could find around our tent.

This Brush-tailed Possum raided our tent in the night
Brush-tailed Possum on our tent

When we did get out spotlighting, there was a hive of activity. Red-necked Pademelons were out grazing on the large grassy areas adjoining the forest, Tawny Frogmouths were perched on street signs and tree branches, and both Ringtail and Brush-tailed Possums were in the trees and on the walking trails as we wandered along.

A Different Eye Shine

As we walked down one particular trail, we spotted a small eye shine at the edge of the track, quite low down. For those who are not aware, most nocturnal species have reflective eyes, which light up when the torch light strikes them. The ones we were looking at were quite small, and we initially dismissed them as a spider or other small invertebrate. Even when we got closer, we were not able to see the animal that they belonged to. Just then we made out the outline of a gecko on a rock.

This Leaf-tailed Gecko was only discovered from its eye shine
Leaf-tailed Gecko

This amazing lizard was so well camouflaged on the rock that it was not until we got quite close that we were able to see it clearly. It’s spectacular camouflage was betrayed only by its eye shine.

Later that night we were again visited by a Brush-tailed Possum, which decided it wanted to help itself to our Multigrain Weetbix as we slept!