Bouddi National Park is home to possums, gliders, bandicoots, antechinuses and swamp wallabies.
Most of the mammals are nocturnal. After dark you might see brush-tailed possums, ring-tailed possums or various types of glider. The largest of the gliders, the greater glider, measures almost one metre from head to tail. It uses the flap of skin between its front and back legs to leap up to 40 m as it feeds among the trees.
The smaller sugar glider is more common. It feeds on the sap of wattle trees and on blossoms, insects and insect larvae. Sugar gliders live in communal nests, with up to seven adults and their offspring sharing a single tree hollow.
The heathlands provide habitat for a variety of smaller native mammals such as the swamp rat, common bush rat and the insectivorous marsupial Antechinus stuartii. The antechinus is a tiny animal that forages for beetles, spiders, cockroaches and other invertebrates in the trees and on the ground.
Above the canopy, many species of bat are drawn to insects feeding on the nectar and pollen of the many wildflowers. The forest bats are a diverse group of mammals that range in their roost requirements from caves to tree-hollows.
Sixteen species of micro-bats have been recorded on the Bouddi Peninsula. These include 6 species listed as threatened under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995: yellow-bellied sheathtail bat, Eastern bent-wing bat, little bent-wing bat, large-eared pied bat, Eastern freetail-bat and Greater broad-nosed bat.
Woodlands are generally more open, which suits the larger marsupials that prefer the more grassy understorey. You could be lucky enough to see a swamp wallaby or echidna, but they are generally in lower numbers.
A number of marine mammals appear on an irregular basis, although during the winter of 1993 leopard seals were regular visitors to Maitland Bay. Fur seals are irregular visitors to the beaches and coastal rock platforms, while bottle-nosed dolphins, common dolphins, humpback whales and the southern right whale are often seen in the marine extension.
Over 150 bird species have been recorded on the Bouddi Peninsula, reflecting the diversity of habitats found in the area. The park's heathlands are important feeding areas for migratory honeyeaters, which visit the Central Coast during winter, coinciding with the flowering of banksias and swamp mahogany trees (Eucalyptus robusta).
The palm-dominated rainforests of the Grand Deep provide important food resources for the uncommon migratory rainforest fruit-eating pigeons. The fruit of the cabbage-tree palm is particularly important for the topknot pigeon during late spring and summer.
Four species of threatened forest owls (barking, sooty, powerful and masked) have been recorded within the park in areas of mature forest and woodland, and are dependant upon tree hollows for nesting. As high-order predators, they play an important role in the functioning of forest ecosystems.
Other locally restricted species you may see in the park include:
- white-bellied sea-eagle
- peregrine falcon, which nests on the sea cliffs north of Maitland Bay
- brush bronzewing
- tawny-crowned honeyeater and the southern emu-wren, which live on low coastal heaths
- reef egret, which is found in small numbers on the coastal rock platforms.
Amphibians and reptiles
The lizards of Bouddi National Park range in size from tiny skinks and geckos to large lace monitors (better known as goannas), which can measure more than 2 m from head to tail. Some common species you might see include land mullet, eastern water dragons, Cunningham's skink and blue-tongued lizards.
The land mullet is a shiny black skink which reaches its most southerly extent in this area. The species prefers denser undergrowth in moist locations and is very secretive. You're more likely to hear it crashing through the bush when disturbed than you are to see it. The eastern form of Cunningham's skink likes sandstone ridges and outcrops, where you might see whole families sunning themselves.
Both the southern leaf-tailed gecko and Lesueur's velvet gecko are nocturnal creatures that can be found in crevices on rocky ridges in the park. They have toe pads or suction cups for climbing and can sometimes be seen clinging to rock faces.
Two interesting skinks are the copper-tailed skink, which appears to favour Hawkesbury sandstone, and its close relative the striped skink, which favours the Narrabeen group of sediments. The striped skink is only found along the coast and is not present in the other sandstone areas of Gosford.
Bouddi National Park is home to a variety of snake species. Both the diamond python and the brown tree snake are nocturnal species usually found in trees, but which may be found basking or moving about on the ground. They like to hide in tree hollows, caves and rock crevices. Green tree snakes also live in the park and generally inhabit the moister forest types, where they are extremely well camouflaged amongst the vegetation.
Both the red-bellied black snake and the marsh snake are found in moist areas around swamps and creeks. In the moister forests there are Krefft's dwarf snakes (rare) and golden crowned snakes, while the red-naped snake prefers the drier forests and woodlands. All three have a distinctive collar or stripe around the head. The yellow-faced whip snake is also distinctive, with a characteristic creamy yellow reverse 'comma' marking around the eye.
Bouddi National Park is home to a variety of frog species. Over 16 species are thought to occur in the area including:
- the common eastern toadlet
- the striped marsh frog
- the whistling tree frog
- the dwarf tree frog
- Peron's tree frog
- the threatened red-crowned toadlet.
The rock platforms of Bouddi National Park marine extension are fascinating displays of biodiversity. Explore and discover the amazing array of shell fish (molluscs) and crustaceans (arthropods).