Nature around Uluru
Nature around Uluru
Discover through this post Uluru and its nature composed by a typical and impressive desert’s fauna and flora.
Uluru which is the official and aboriginal name, also known, as Ayers Rock is a majestic rock stood in the middle of Australia in the Northern Territory State. Uluru takes part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which belongs to the UNESCO. This park is about 335 km southwest of Alice Springs by flight, and 463 km by road.
This rock was created over some 600 millions years, it is 348 meters high, rises 863 meters above sea level, it is 3.6km long for 1.9km wide. Its circumference is 9.4 km.
On the geological side, this is an “island mountain”, which means is an isolated rock, which rose brusquely and is surrounded by extensive flat erosion in hot and dry region.
Uluru is know as a monolith, which is avoided by scientists.
Homogeneity and lack of jointing are the features of this rock, which is composed by a coarse-grained arkose. Arkose is a king of sandstone with an abundance of feldspar, and some conglomerate. The composition is 50% feldspar and 25-35% quartz and up tp 25% rock fragments.
Kata-Tjuta also known as Mount Olga, was appeared at the same time than Uluru spite of the fact that the type of rock is different.
This huge rock is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu who is the Aboriginal people of the area.
Fauna in Uluru
Hundreds of different animals and bird species have Uluru as home. The National Park has 21 species of native mammals, 178 species of birds, 73 species of reptiles and thousands of intervetebrates’s species such as ants, spiders, and bugs.
Over 200 different species of birds are hosted by this harsh landscape. They may either dwell year-round or come at this place during their migratory route.
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Columbiformes
Family : Columbidae
This is one of endemic species in Australia, also known as the plumed-pigeon. This specie is listed under the IUCN.
This bird lives in arid areas on rocky hills and mountainous terrain where spinifex grasses grow.
This is a small bird, but males are slightly larger than females. Their plumage is rufous-brown with thin black bars on the wings and back.
They eat sees of grasses and herbs from spinifex triodia species. They also consume invertebrates and leaves. They need to drink frequently, that is for this reason they occur close to permanente water sources because, also, water sources coming from food is low. They must maintain an important water balance due to the high ambiant temperature. This pigeon can live in those hard areas thanks to a low body heat production.
From Auguts to January, there is breeding season. Females are nesting on the ground and lay 2 eggs. The incubation lasts about 16 to 18 days. After 11 days, chicks leave the nest-site after hatching.
Wedge-tailed eagle is predator of this specie of pigeon, which has a good camouflage thanks to his rufous plumage having almost the same color than its environment. This pigeon avoid escaping by flight, which could be better for eagles.
NGIYARI – THORNY DEVIL
Phylum : Chordata
Subphylum : Vertebrata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Squamata
Suborder : Iguania
This is an Australian lizard living in the Outback in the west part of Australia. This animal can live up to 15 to 20 years in this dry region where they can find an abundance of ants, which are part of their diet. They feed in the cooler mornings and later afternoon and could eat a thousand of ants per day. They are heliotherm, which means they need sunlight to warm themselves up because their body temperature and agility depend on the outside temperature.
Thanks to a network of microscopic grooves found between their spikes over their body and lead to corners of their mouths, this animal can drink in that way. It can also absorb drops from vegetation moving through capillaries, then this animal can suck it towards its mouths by gulping. This is an exceptional adaptation to desert environment.
The females are bigger than the males for one reason: they produce eggs. The mating period is around August to September, and at this time, the sedentary lizard may travel far away to meet a partner. They lays three to ten eggs, and after 3 to 4 months the eggs hatch. At 3 years old, a lizard is mature.
This lizard has a camouflage because their usual colors are pale yellow and red when they are warm and active, which is perfect in the deserts sands. When they are cold, their color is dark olive. Its best defense is the sharp spines covering its body, and on its back, it has a false head fill with fatty tissue, which is a good defense against predators because this false head protect their head and vital parts. Predators may try to swallow them but with a lot of difficulty. So when they feel in dangers, they lowers their real head between their front legs, and then present their false head. Their predators are bustards, a bird’s specie, and goannas, a lizard, that eat eggs as well.
Here another lizards can be found in this area:
– Tjakura – Nocturnal desert skink “The end of the tail”
– Kuniya – Woma Python
– Ngintaka – Perentie
– Liru – Mulga Snake
TARKAWARA – SPINIFEX HOPPING MOUSE (extinct specie)
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Subclass : Eutheria
Order : Rodentia
Scientific name : Notomys alexis
Those little mouses also known as the Tarkawara lives in Australia precisely in central and western Australian arid zones. They live between 4 to 6 years.
This is a nocturnal animal because during hot days, they stay in their small burrows where they sleep, and where it is cooler. Those burrows protect them against the heat. At nightfall, they go in order to find some berries, seeds, plants, insects fungi, and small reptiles, which are part of their diet.
This mouse, and like many other desert mammals, can survive without drinking while dry periods.
During drought periods, they can become locally extinct. After that, their population increase rapidly following periods of heavy rain. The females’ pregnancy is around 38 to 41 days and raises 3 to 4 young. At two of years, they are mature.
Their predators are cats, red foxes, and dingoes.
Other mammals species in this area :
– Mala – Rufous hare wallaby
– Murtja – Mulgara
– Papa inura – Dingo
– Wayuta brush-tailed possum
– Malu – Red kangaroo
– Minga – Ants “Ants, Ants everywhere”
Flora in Uluru
There are over 416 species of native plants in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Many rare and endangered species are found in this park, they are restricted. Some plants are able to survive dire, and are dependent on it to reproduce.
Plants are an important part in ceremonies for aboriginal people.
Flora can be broken into categories :
- Punu = trees
- Puti = shrubs
- Tjulpuntjulpunpa = Flowers
- Ukiri = Grasses
Several trees such as the Mulga and centralian bloodwood are used to make tools.
GREVILLA “HONEY GEM
This specie could be a hybrid between G.pteridifolia and G.banksii, both native to Queensland. It grows to about 4 metres in height by 3 metres wide.
This plant grows when it is sunny and also in warmer conditions.
Their flowers, which are bright yellow and green are full of nectar, attracting honeyeater birds and insects.
TJANPI – SPINIFEX “SPIKY DONUTS”
This plant grows in poor and arid soils of Central Australia. Roots, which develop nodes from the same ones as the shoots can go down around 3 metres.
This plant provides food for grazing insects and mammals. After rainfall events, this specie produces seeds, which is an important source of food for birds and rodents in the desert.
This plant has a good sticky protection, so this is important to keep your fingers away from this plant.
In order to have a percentage, Spinifex grasslands cover 22% of the continent. There are 64 species of spinifex in Australia and 34 are found in the Northern Territory.
Another plants in Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park
Kurkara – Desert oak
Wanari – Mulga
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I travelled in: January 2013
Where: Alice Springs
© 2018 – Wairua Kaieke
Travel blogger and photographer from Switzerland.
I travel the world and with my photographs I show the beauty of the world in order to raise awareness to people about Planet Earth’s issues, and wildlife.