Big spiders and big snakes in the Big Desert

I’ve just returned from a field trip to the Big Desert National Park with research scientist Tim Doherty(Deakin University, Melbourne) surveying small mammals in long unburnt Mallee vegetation. Seven days without a shower! My job was to grab a handful of very smelly fish, carry them 100 meters into the bush and bury them near our infra-red night video cameras. Hot days, copious flies and rotting fish is not a fun combination. Now add, no shower…. I was walking blowfly nirvana!


The trip enabled me to see much of the park which though named “Big Desert” was semi-arid bushland, very much burned and now fire scarred in most places. Finding areas which were not burned for many years took much of our precious time.


Working from sand tracks near the South Australian border.


Recently burned mallee

Brown Snake Big Desert

A large brown snake with no manners


a billy buttons, probably an asteraceae

brush-footed trapdoor

A bit too friendly arachnid near my open tent door after dark, probably a brush-footed trapdoor Idiommata blackwalli?

common bronzewing

Common bronzewings lining up to drink at Big Billy Bore soak

lasiopetalum behrii

lasiopetalum behrii


white-eared honeyeater

white-eared honeyeater, common but beautiful.


Dr Tim checks out the vegetation, note the soft sand.

Increasing our understanding of small mammal vegetation preference aids  our scientists’ efforts in limiting extinction. This study is related to what you can see here:


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