Bearded Dragon Oxyuranus microlepidotus
Photo: Robert Whyte
Cooper Creek supports an abundant community of animals from insects and spiders through to large mammals.
While on their expedition Burke and Wills heard dingoes howl. Dingos Canis lupus and the Red Kangaroos Macropus rufus are common in the Dig Tree area today.
At the Cooper’s edge you can observe Water Rats Hydromys chrysogaster most common at dawn and dusk and easily recognisable by their distinctive white-tipped tail. Tortoises can also be seen around the Cooper. After rain you might hear the sounds of desert frogs calling but they are difficult to see.
The most common reptiles are the Bearded Dragon Oxyuranus microlepidotus and the Sand Goanna Varanus gouldii which might be sunning themselves on a warm day.
You might be lucky enough to see a snake in the hotter months but take care as the Dig Tree is within the range of the Inland Taipan Oxyuranus microlepidotus, one of the world’s most venomous snakes. Other local and venomous snakes include Woma Python Aspidites ramsayi, King Brown Pseudechis australis and the Western Brown Pseudonaja nuchalis.
The Burke and Wills Gulf Party ate snake on a couple of occasions but both Gray and Wills became ill afterwards and blamed the snake.
Also present in the Dig Tree region are numerous feral species including donkeys, camels, horses, pigs and cats.