Dolphins call Deep Creek home

Did you know there is a thriving dolphin population along the coastal waters of

Deep Creek Conservation Park?  The Bottlenose dolphin is a common sight and

a good indicator of the health of our marine life.

On a recent outing to Boat Harbour we encountered a pod of in excess of 40

dolphins mulling around the Cove. Whilst looking for food they were putting on a

surfing show that would put Kelly Slater to shame.

 

 

The Boat Harbour Cove is a particularly promising venue to spot dolphins.  The

bench overlooking it on the Heysen Trail is a fantastic vantage point to take in

the panoramic views towards the Pages Islands.

 

 

Volunteers and scientists have formed effective alliances at Victor Harbour and

Kangaroo Island to collect valuable information on dolphins.  However, there is a

bit of a gap along the South West Fleurieu Coast from Tunkalilla Beach and

Deep Creek through to Fisheries Beach.

 

Whilst there is plenty of general knowledge available on the Bottlenose dolphin

which appears in many parts of the world less is known about their presence in

South Australian waters.  Marine scientists from Flinders University have

examined DNA samples which suggest that there may be a sub-specie of the

Bottlenose dolphin living in the Southern waters of Australia.

 

 

If you have the pleasure of encountering dolphins during a walk in Deep Creek

why not pause for a moment. Take note of the size of the group, their behaviour

and perhaps pass the information on together with any images to Kangaroo

Island Victor Harbour dolphin watch.

 

 This volunteer project is based on the

citizen science concept.  Information collected can contribute to forming a more

comprehensive picture of this fascinating marine mammal.

https://www.facebook.com/Kangaroo-Island-Victor-Harbor-Dolphin-Watch-177821708954324/

Creature Feature

Creature Feature

Yellow footed Antechinus

One of the many smaller creatures living in Deep Creek Conservation Park is the Yellow-footed Antechinus. It is sometimes mistaken for a rodent but is distinctly different.
This carnivorous marsupial is indigenous to Australia and is primarily found along the east coast of Australia, the south-western part of Western Australia and the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia.
Its diet consists mainly of spiders, beetles and other invertebrates such as cockroaches although they are also known to eat eggs, small birds and house mice. One of the peculiar traits of the antechinus is that it likes to turn its prey inside out to get to the flesh, leaving the skin behind.
Measured from head to tail females typically grow up to 80mm with males reaching 120mm.
Perhaps the most startling aspect of this diminutive animal is its mating behaviour. Mating season is triggered by an increase in day light hours and is aimed to coincide with the abundance of insects during summer once the litter is born. The antechinus is semelparous, meaning it will generally only live long enough to breed once in its short life. This is particularly so for males who, according to some studies, do not live past 11 & 1/2 months. That said, they do compensate by copulating for up to 12-14 hours.
Some females can live 2 to 3 years enabling them to have more than one litter. They can store sperm for up to 3 days and do not ovulate until the end of the breeding season. Since they mate with multiple partners the net effect of this is that litters often have several fathers (known as multiple paternity). The litter size is largely determined by the number of teats and typically consists of 8 babies.
The extended copulation takes its toll on the males who use all their stored fat and protein to fuel their mating frenzy during this period and effectively die of stress after a breakdown of their immune system after 2 weeks.
Cute as it is, this marsupial is constantly on the lookout for new hideouts and is particularly attracted to our sheds and also Goondooloo Cottage. With the use of Elliot traps we are able to safely re-locate them to other parts of the Park without harm although some seem to be able to find their way home again very successfully!

 

Principal reference: Dr Diana Fisher, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland