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Wild Australasia Episode 4: Gum Tree Country

Format
Video; Streaming Video; Online
Summary
It's a classic landscape - the great Australian Bush. Vast swathes of land, dominated by eucalypts, or gum trees, have become one of the most enduring symbols of the continent. In Gum Tree Country we take you on a journey 'out bush', from the shimmering heat of the north, through icy, snowbound woodlands, and misty forests where the tallest hardwood trees in the world grow to well over 100 meters. And in all these places, strange animals live ... Gum trees themselves are an Australian speciality - there are over 700 species, in all shapes and sizes, virtually all of which are native only to Australia. And the gum tree bushland is home to the most familiar Australian wildlife characters - koalas up among the leaves; kangaroos in the shade of the trees; and brilliantly coloured parrots flitting around. But there are stranger things in these woodlands and forests, many that only emerge at night. Here are gliders that sound like gargling pigs as they swoop from tree to tree in the darkness; huge bats that sip nectar from eucalypt flowers; and tiny mouse-like marsupials called antechinuses, which mate in one annual frenzy, after which all the males suddenly drop dead. A koala up a gum tree must be one of the most familiar images of Australia. We got up close and personal with koalas in southern Victoria, watching their every move as they 'chewed gum', snoozed and ambled up and down trees, often with young ones clinging to mum's back. We also captured on film the very rare sight of a baby koala just emerging from its mother's pouch, a tiny scrawny thing that looked more like a newborn puppy than a koala. But not everything in 'gum tree country' lives on eucalypt leaves. The exquisitely striped numbat, a stripy marsupial that looks like a squirrel, eats termites. We filmed its amazing tongue in action - long and sticky, it flicks in and out to lap up 20,000 termites a day! Dashing about on its back legs, the bizarre, prehistoric-looking frilled lizard is at home in 'gum tree country'. It spends up to 90% of its time up trees, only dropping down to feed on insects and defend its 'patch' in the breeding season - which males do with some vigour. They put up their large neck frills and lunge as a threat display - but they'll do it to virtually anything, even passing cars or humans. One even took a bite out of the cameraman's lens as he was trying to film! The bush is not an easy place to live - it's often dry and dusty, and it has a tendency to burst into flames. And some riverside eucalypt forests flood, so the trees suddenly have water birds floating and paddling around them, looking for fish where there was previously dry land. How does anything survive here? And how have the gum trees come to dominate this landscape?
Release Date
2003
Run Time
50 min.
Language
In English
Notes
  • Filmclip
  • Title from title frames.
  • In Process Record.
Published
BBC, 2003.
[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2016.
Recording Info
Originally produced by BBC in 2003.
Publisher no.
1098413 Kanopy
Related Resources
Cover Image
Description
1 online resource (streaming video file) (50 minutes): digital, .flv file, sound
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Technical Details
  • Staff View

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