Frazzled Freya and her other quirky Australian reptilian friends had a fantastically fun time sharing unusual facts about themselves during her week long ebook launch party. As so many fabulous people played along with the fact or fiction questions, Freya thought it might be a good idea to share the love in a blog post for those who missed the party but might still be intrigued. Freya is a frightened and timid little frill neck lizard who is too shy to go out into the heat of the outback sun even though she is desperate to join in the fun and games with her desert friends. Naturally, our first fact had to be about these amazing little creatures.
Frill Neck Lizards : - Are a cute little lizard that has a frill that goes all the way around their neck. When they feel threatened or frightened they will try to make themselves look bigger and scarier by opening their frill as wide as possible. However they can only do this at the same time as opening their mouth really wide too! If this doesn't scare away the predator, the frill neck lizard will stand on its hind legs, turn around and run away (only on those back legs) as fast as possible to climb to the safety of the nearest tree. Frill neck lizards have southern cousins, the Eastern and Western Bearded Dragon, which are so similar in appearance they are often mistaken as frill necks. The bearded dragon's frill however, does not go all around their neck.
Next we met twin velvet geckos, Gabbie and Grace. They scamper all over the desert floor having lots of fun playing games like tag.
Geckos :- Found all over the northern tropical parts of Australia as well as Indonesia and Thailand, geckos are curious little creatures. They will come into homes and share your living space, making themselves very comfortable eating mosquitoes and other small insects. Geckos have unusual sticky pads on the underside of their feet, sort of like suction caps. These enable the little fellows to not only climb vertical walls very easily but to defy gravity and walk upside down along your ceiling as well. For further information on these curious fellows click the link below.
Sloan snake is the antagonist in Freya's story. He believes she would be a rather tasty treat to eat. Sloan is a Northern Brown Tree Snake.
Northern Brown Tree Snakes :- Contrary to popular opinion, the Northern brown tree snake is actually not as dangerous as you might think. While its southern cousin, the Eastern or Common Brown snake is considered the second most venomous snake in the world, the Northern brown tree snake has it's fangs so far in the back of its mouth, that it cannot open its mouth wide enough to get a big enough bite on a human. If bitten, you will still need to seek medical treatment but you will survive.
Joanna Goanna is another of Freya's special outback desert friends. She enjoys playing games with Gabbie and Grace and doesn't understand Freya's fear.
Goannas :- The amazing thing about goannas is that they utilize the climate of termite mounds to incubate their eggs. Once the goanna has laid her eggs, she digs holes into the termite mounds and buries her babies to keep them safe and snug until they are ready to hatch. When the time approaches, the mother goanna returns to help her babies dig their way out of the mound.
Last but by no means least, we met Freya's only friend that is not a reptile. Molly is a Spinifex Hopping Mouse who proves to be rather wise. As she is the only mammal in our story, I included a few more extra facts about her.
Spinifex Hopping Mice :- So named because they can be seen hopping on their hind legs just like a kangaroo. They are nocturnal desert dwelling mammals, that can survive on little to no water during the dry season. Because of the lack of water they are omnivores and will eat whatever roots, shoots or insects they can find. They have very effective kidneys that absorb every drop of water from their waste which in turn makes their urine solid instead of liquid.
I'll be discussing these interesting facts during the print book launch of Frazzled Freya this Saturday 9th July 2016 at the Paperchain Book Store in Mnauka at 2:00 pm. Come along and join in the fun if you happen to be in Canberra this weekend.
As a thank you to all who participated and in honour of our cute little heroine, I included this video clip of a frill neck lizard where you can see exactly how they react when they feel frightened. After filming she is let go to run back into the bush. :)