ReachOut.com uses cookies to give you the best experience. Find out more about cookies and your privacy in our policy.

 

Here’s one thing nature lovers, conservationists, and random people on the internet can all agree on: Aussie wildlife rocks.

If you’ve seen a video online of an Australian lizard, bird or marsupial doing something hilarious, you might have wanted to find out more. As it turns out, you probably have a lot more in common with these little guys than you thought.

That’s why we teamed up with environmentalist, farmer, animal lover and TikTok legend Tara Belle Rose, to find out what lessons Australian animals can teach us about our lives. 

@tarabellerose

##ad What animals can teach us: the lizard that can love 🦎 with ReachOut.com ##climatechange ##animalsoftiktok

♬ original sound - Tara Bellerose

The shingleback lizard

The shingleback lizard is also known as the ‘bobtail lizard’ because its tail stores fat reserves, meaning that it sometimes looks like a head. Something scientists find interesting about shinglebacks is that they mate for life. They spend most of the year alone, but towards the end of the year they reunite with their partner. Some couples have been known to reunite annually for up to 20 years. So romantic!

When spotted crossing a road together, the male will follow behind the female. In fact, the female shingleback is considerably larger than the male. This is because the male is known to watch out for predators so that the female can eat safely. 

What we can learn from them

Lizards aren’t typically thought of as being warm or kind to other members of their species. In fact, some species of lizards are known to bite down on their mate’s head for hours or days at a time! But the shingleback shows us that we’re all capable of loving others and of being loved – even if you’re a cold-blooded reptile. 

The manta ray

At up to 7 metres from fin to fin, there’s no doubt that manta rays are some of the biggest creatures in the ocean. And just like any other animal, the manta ray needs to stay nice and clean. That’s why, on the Great Barrier Reef, manta rays regularly visit ‘cleaning stations’. (Yes, that’s the name scientists actually use to talk about them.) Here, they stop by and give small fish a chance to eat the bacteria that’s growing on their skin. 

What we can learn from them

Recently, scientists found that if fish get too confident and bite the manta rays they’re cleaning, the rays have an interesting response. Instead of fighting back, they simply don’t return to that particular cleaning station the next time. 

We think that’s a pretty solid way for anyone to respond to someone else’s toxic behaviour. If there are people in your life who are too much for you to handle, and if you aren’t in the right headspace to talk to them about it, sometimes the healthiest thing to do is just to stay away from them for the time being.

Click here for more on dealing with friends’ toxic behaviour.

The white ibis

The Australian white ibis goes under many names, including ‘bin chicken’ and ‘tip turkey’. You might have seen them grabbing a cheeky snack out of the trash or, even worse, stealing a bite from your picnic spread while you weren’t looking. We love to laugh at their bizarre antics, but it’s easy to forget why these birds ended up dumpster diving for nibbles in the first place.

The white ibis is a species that originally gravitated to the wet marshlands along Australia’s eastern coastline. But as urban development spread across their native habitat over the past 150 years, they faced a serious challenge and were forced to adapt to city life. 

It’s not an ideal situation for them, or for our bins, but when you think about it, these birds have made the best of a bad situation.

What we can learn from them

The ibis’s story is one of resilience. It’s a helpful reminder that if you stay open-minded, it’s possible to deal with challenges that come your way. Click here to learn more about adapting to changes in your life.

@tarabellerose

##ad What animals can teach us: how Nemo really found home 🐠 @reachout_aus ##climatechange ##learnontiktok ##animalbehaviour ##sponsored

♬ original sound - Tara Bellerose

The clownfish

In school, everyone learns about the clownfish’s symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, which helps to protect them from predators. To defend themselves, sea anemones have cells that sting fish and predators passing by. However, clownfish have a mucus coating that makes them immune to the anemone’s poison, and on top of that the anemone gets vital nutrients from the clownfish’s droppings. This means that they can live together safely and harmoniously. 

What we can learn from them

Clownfish prove that, to be happy and healthy, you don’t need to go overseas twice a year or have nine hobbies and three different parties to go to every weekend. We just need to have one place where we feel at home, and one thing that makes our life feel meaningful. 

Click here to read more about how you can be comfortable with the life you have at the moment

 

What can I do now?