The Kokoda wildlife is teeming with animals of all shapes and sizes. These incredible creatures range from large birds to small mammals and everything in between including an array of venomous snakes and other reptiles. Papua New Guinea’s animals range the entire island and are as varied as can be.
Some of the most commonly seen mammals include:
- Cuscus – A nocturnal marsupial with thick, dark coloured fur that can be seen crawling around in trees on all fours. Most cuscuses are about a forearm in length and have a long tail that is hairless at the end, which is used for climbing. They are typically slow moving creatures which nest in leaf lined holes in trees.
- Mountain Forest Wallaby – This knee-high marsupial has short woolly grey/brown fur, big ears and a broad snout. It has a long, thick tail which it uses for balance as it hops along the forest floors. They typically sleep at the bases of different trees each night
- Tree Kangaroo – This marsupial is also knee high and is easily distinguished by its dark reddish brown fur with a yellow patch on the back of its legs. It has a long, thick, furry tail and large claws. Like the mountain forest wallaby it too sleeps at different tree bases each night.
- Ringtail Possum – Several species of possum can be found in and around Kokoda. All are nocturnal and walk on all fours in the trees and on the ground. Their clawed hands and tail allow these marsupials to move fast. They are usually found sleeping in their nests in the branches during the day.
The Papua New Guinea native animals are mostly comprised of birds of varying sizes including:
- Birds of Paradise – The Raggiana Bird of Paradise and the King Bird of Paradise are well known for their bright and colourful plumage as they flaunt their looks in order to attract mates and entertain bird watchers.
- Cassowary – Three types of species exist that differ in size. The larger cassowaries are the third largest and second heaviest bird in the world, while the dwarf cassowaries are much smaller. These birds are known for the size of their large clawed feet as well as their hard spongy crest atop of their heads. They have mostly black plumage and bright blue skin.
- Less extraordinary birds include the Wompoo Pigeon known for its “woa-hou” call, the Coronated Fruit Dove, Golden Heart Dove, Dwarf Kingfisher, Blue Scrub Thrush, Pheasant Coucal, White Shouldered Wren, Pacific Swallow, Honeyeater and the Black-Capped Lory; a brightly coloured parrot.
The Kokoda wildlife also include over 80 species of snakes, of which 53 are venomous. The three species inflicting the highest number of bites on humans are the:
- Papuan Taipan – The snake is greyish dark brown to black with an orange tinted stripe down its back and usually spotted in thick grasslands.
- Death Adder – Its colours vary, but it has a distinct short thick body and a tail with a spine like tip.
- Small-eyed Snake – It is typically found in the rainforest and is thick bodied with a greyish head and yellow tint.
Kokoda is home to a range of extraordinary creatures, only one of the numerous wonders that travellers are able to experience while in Papua New Guinea.