Gecko associates unlikely animal friendship with the pygmy possum family in Western Australia

Written by Javed Iqbal

When ecologist Angela Sanders opened a nest box in the Monjebup Nature Reserve last week, she found a bizarre – and adorable – scene.

A spiny-tailed gecko was curled up with a small pygmy possum family.

The nest boxes are scattered throughout the reserve, in the southwestern part of WA, and prepared by Bush Heritage volunteers to provide possums with a safe place to care for their young.

“We opened one of the boxes to show some of our volunteers, and there was a gecko embedded with the young people,” Mrs. Sanders said.

Ms Sanders said the gecko was probably petted with possums to get warm.

A lizard and a possum can be seen among chewing gum leaves in a nest box.
The lizard seemed cozy and content in the box of the possum family. (Delivered by: Alex Hams)

Bizarre animal friendships

Further north in the state’s Midwest, wildlife nurse Michelle Jones has seen her fair share of unlikely animal matings.

She once had a bearded kite climb up on the back of a kangaroo for an afternoon.

a lizard sitting on a kangaroo
Elliot, the central bearded dragon on the back of the kangaroo Rosie.(Delivered by: Michelle Jones)

“They were not comrades, he just ran up her back and seemed to like the vantage point,” Ms Jones said.

Also in her care are a dingo and chihuahua that putt in the winter, and a kelpie that helps care for other sick creatures.

A dingo wearing a scarf is lying on the ground with a chihuahua sitting on its back.
The dingo McKenzie with the chihuahua Stella.(Delivered by: Michelle Jones)

“The Chihuahua is in charge, she goes and sits on the back of the dingo,” Ms. Jones said.

“I once had a sick joey, I went outside and my kelpie had curled up around the joey to keep her warm.

A black and tan kelpie lies around a kangaroo joey on the grass.
Michelle’s kelpie has been known to care for injured wildlife. (Delivered by: Michelle Jones)

“She’s done it with a few animals, a few ducklings and stuff.”

Ms Jones said it was not uncommon for bonds to form across species.

an emu chick and joey
Michelle Jones says this emu chicken and joey remained friends until they became adults. (Delivered by: Michelle Jones)

Connects a danger to wildlife

Despite the adorable stories, Ms. Jones said it was important not to encourage native animals to mix with domestic animals if the ultimate goal was to release them back into the wild.

The adorable and unusual friendships she has seen over the years were with native animals that were not rehabilitated back in the bush.

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“Any wildlife that comes in that is ready to go out into the wild, I really don’t want it to get used to any domestic animals,” she said.

“Out in any natural environment, a dog will be a predator, so I do not really want it to think, even for a second, that it could be its mate … I keep them completely separate.

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Javed Iqbal

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