Australia’s Marine Life: The Cow of the Sea

When it comes to Australia’s sea life, I would say its sharks, dolphins and migrating whales that get all of the big publicity. But we have another marine dwelling mammal that you certainly don’t get in the UK.

We are not the only country that has them off our shores, but the northern seas of Australia, from Shark Bay on the west all the way round to Moreton Bay here just off of Brisbane on the east coast, is home for the majority.

So, what is it? I’ll explain in my…

Dugong: A Special Feature

They call it “the cow of the sea” but its real name is a Dugong.

Unfortunately for the poor old Dugong, he’s always had problems with hunters. They are still often hunted today and were almost hunted into extinction in the 18th century. Following the Brisbane floods of 2011, their habitat around Moreton Bay suffered and since then they have been monitored to see how they recover.

Latest news these days is that the population is stable with around 1000 living in the Bay, which, as you know, is a wonderful part of the world. We had a long weekend there earlier in the year; it truly is an island in paradise.

There, that’s the Dugong explained. But I’ve got a better version for the kids…

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.

These mammals are totally harmless; they are herbivores, so they only eat plant-based foods and algae. That means us humans can get close to them…

This has been posted in my “Australia’s Bad Things” category, not because the Dugong is a bad thing, it’s just that this category has turned into a library full of all Australian creatures, good or bad. I think the Dugong is quite cute, don’t you?

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Sue Court October 27, 2012, 3:11 pm |

    These are very high on my ‘want to see in the wild’ list. I was worried I might only be able to see them if I was scuba diving. This post and the first comment suggest otherwise. Can you sometimes see them on the surface, like a dolphin or a sealion? Do their faces pop up so that you know it’s a dugong and not a sealion? I’m going to Ningaloo next year and I’d really love to see one there.

    • BobinOz October 29, 2012, 5:46 pm |

      I’ve never seen one in real life, but I believe so, I don’t think they are hard to spot. Hope you get to see one soon!

  • tine October 21, 2012, 6:59 pm |

    My kids love the dugong song 🙂 We just saw one yesterday on our way to nippers at Stradbroke Island. Oh, and we also spotted breaching whales, lots of sea turtles and a manta ray from Point Lookout. On Tuesday I was privileged to see a manta ray jumping out of the water! Didn’t even know that they did that! You should really give Point Lookout another go, Bob!

    • BobinOz October 22, 2012, 8:50 pm |

      My wife and daughter gave Point Lookout another go about a month ago, they did have much more luck. They saw whales in the distance and sea turtles closer to the shore. I know they are out there, maybe they are just hiding from me?

      By the way, I love the dugong song too 🙂

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