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Murray River

Australian aboriginal mythology speaks of the Great Ancestor, Ngurunderi, who created the Murray River with his tracks while chasing a Murray cod. Scientists, however, believe that it was created some 40 million years ago and has remained virtually in the same place since. Today, the 2,300 kilometre long Murray River continues to cover one-seventh of the earth’s driest continent, flowing through lakes of varying salinity and contrasting landscapes before ending its journey at the Murray Mouth. Like many of the world’s major rivers, civilisation revolved around this life-giving water source, with many referring it as the “Food Bowl of Australia”.

Fashioned after the riverscapes of Australia’s southeastern regions, at River Safari, stroll along the freshwater tanks filled with native fishes from down under.  Meet the majestic Murray cod, the largest freshwater fish in the continent, as well as the Australian lungfish which belongs to an ancient group of fishes.

 

Australian Lungfish

With ancestors dating back to over 400 million years ago - way older than the dinosaurs...

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Australian Lungfish

With ancestors dating back to over 400 million years ago - way older than the dinosaurs – this fish has experienced little evolution. What makes this endangered lungfish unique is not just its ability to breathe out of water, it also has only one lung whereas other species have two. Try spotting the lungfish while you’re here.  Just look out for a long, heavy dull-coloured body with large, overlapping scales, small eyes as well as fins resembling flippers.

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Red Clawed Crayfish

Also known as the yabby, this Australian freshwater crayfish is commonly found in streams, billabongs...

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Red Clawed Crayfish

Also known as the yabby, this Australian freshwater crayfish is commonly found in streams, billabongs and lakes on the north coast of the Northern Territory and northeastern Queensland. In its natural environment, yabbies feed mainly on decaying animals and vegetation. Observe this tropical invertebrate as it moves about “touching” and “tasting” with its feelers. To identify the male yabby, look out for a distinct red patch on their claws.

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Murray Cod

The Murray is cod is the largest freshwater fish in Australia. It is a long-lived species, potentially living...

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Murray Cod

The Murray is cod is the largest freshwater fish in Australia. It is a long-lived species, potentially living to over 45 years of age. With needle-like teeth, this highly territorial and aggressive predatory freshwater fish is a voracious feeder with a varied diet of fish, crustaceans, water birds, frogs, turtles and terrestrial animals such as mice and snakes. While the Murray cod once inhabited the entire Murray-Darling basin in very great numbers, it is now a critically endangered species due to severe overfishing, river regulations and habitat degradation.

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