07 Apr GLADSTONE’S BIG 6! HAVE YOU HEARD OF THEM?
Have you heard of Gladstone’s Big6? Do you know where you can find them?
If you answered NO to these questions the Gladstone News team have a challenge for you!
Shorebirds are the birds you’ll find feeding along the coastline. Many species are migratory, so will only call Gladstone home for a short time as they fly from place to place with the seasons. Many of these birds enjoy Gladstone’s range of habitats, and usually love to get a feed from mudflats, like this terek sandpiper eating a delicious worm!
Turtles are very cool aquatic reptiles and Gladstone is very important to the lives of two species in particular – the flatback and green turtles – although you can find others like the loggerhead, the leatherback, the olive ridley or the hawksbill foraging in the region too!
Whales and dolphins are cetaceans, the scientific order (or group) of marine mammals that share plenty in common with humans! Despite living in the ocean, like all mammals, cetaceans:
- have hair
- breathe air
- drink milk when they’re young.
They are playful and intelligent animals that use sound in different ways to talk to one another, find their way, or catch food. Humpback whales even sing beautiful songs as they travel up and down the coast. There are two types of dolphins that call the waters off Gladstone home – the Australian snubfin and the Australian humpback. The map below shows you where you’re most likely to find them in the Gladstone region.
Gladstone’s waters are full of fascinating fish that have amazing survival and predatory traits. Did you know that a barramundi will change from being a boy to being a girl at about five years of age? The barramundi don’t know this, but their sex change is a smart move – the Queensland Government has laws in place to protect large female barramundi from ending up on your dinner table.
Gladstone is lucky to be home to dugongs, the mysterious mammals that may look like overweight dolphins but are more closely related to elephants.
What has two pair of antennae and no backbone? A crustacean of course! This family of invertebrates includes well-known hard-shelled critters like crabs, lobsters and prawns. Mud crabs are one of the coolest crustaceans. They are mostly found in Gladstone’s intertidal areas where they live in burrows in the mud, emerging at night to look for food using their 360 degree vision! They are also very dangerous (to fingers and toes) if they get hold of you as their powerful claws will stay jammed shut even if separated from their bodies – check out the size of them in the picture below!
Have you been lucky enough to see these iconic creatures in their natural habitat?
Gladstone’s Big6 is one of Gladstone Ports Corporation’s environmental education and awareness programs. The Gladstone Big6 celebrates the iconic marine animals in the region and their habitats.
Locals and holiday makers can find out more about Gladstone’s Big6 by exploring Spinnaker Park and following the Big6 Discovery Trail. Along the trail you will find fun and educational facts about the important migratory and threatened animals of the Big6 and their habitats and what you can do to help them.
When you’re done don’t forget to join a Big6 Tribe! Do you want to be a member of the crustacean crew? Maybe you’re more of a fish fan or dugong dude? Take your support of Gladstone’s important animals to the next level by joining a Big6 tribe.
Tribe membership is FREE and helps keep you up to date with the Big 6, competitions and prizes! Who knows, you might even get a surprise once in a while!
For more information check out Gladstone’s Big 6 online at http://www.gpcl.com.au/big6/
REFERENCE: Information sourced from www.gpcl.com.au/big6