Despite the arid and often harsh and unforgiving landscape, the region is full
of plants and wildlife that have adapted to the environment. Besides the variety
of small marsupials, animals such as Dunnart and Mulgara (a small carnivorous
marssupial with a distinctive crest of short black hairs on the tail), Dingoes and kangaroos
are also found.
There are reptiles including the Military Dragon (a common
lizard in the area), Perentie (Australia's largest lizard), Goannas, Western
Brown Snakes, Woma Pythons, Banded skinks (also known as the sand swimmers
because of their fluid mobility in sand).
Of the more than 150 species of birds that inhabit the desert, there is the Eyrean Grasswren (rare), Australian Bustard (rare), Wedge-tailed Eagles, Brown
Falcons, Budgerigars and Zebra Finches. Black Kites, Crested Pigeons and Galahs
are also common in the floodplain areas, and waterbirds can be found on the
playa lakes when there is water about. Other birds sighted in the region include
Banded Lapwing, Crimson Chat, and Red Backed Kingfisher.
There are of course the feral animals including rabbits, foxes, camels and
donkeys. When camels became redundant in the 1920's, they were released into the
wild. Now it is estimated that there are over 500,000 camels roaming the outback
of Australia, being the largest free
ranging herd of camels in the world.
Much of the plant life rely on the seasonal conditions, and have evolved
short life cycles of growth, flower, and seed within a couple months of rain.
Following any period of rain, it is a spectacular sight to see flowers blooming
in such a harsh arid environment.
On the mobile sand areas, including the crests of dunes, Sandhill Cane Grass
and other grasses and herbs can be seen growing. On the more stable sands you
can find Lobed Spinifex Triodia basedowii, grasses and shrubs, including
In the swales between the dunes, elevated Spinifex hummocks form as the sandy
soil erodes around them. It is in these areas that many grasses can be found, as
well small trees, primarily Mulga Acacia aneura. Around Poeppel Corner
are found isolated swales of low open woodlands of Gidgee Acacia cambagei,
giving the illusion of being thickly forested. Georgina gidgee Acacia georginae
occur in the Queensland region of the park, occuring throughout the Georgina
Basin. The tree contains sodium fluroacetate, the active constituent in the
poison 1080, widely used for feral animal control.
Even in the salt playa lakes and around the fringes, sparse Samphire (Sclerostegia
and Halosarcia species) can be found growing on mounds.
Department for Environment & Heritage