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The secrets of the night at Lake Tinaroo

Landscape Photography with marysejansenart

What happens after sunset …

Sunset over Lake Tinaroo by Maryse Jansen
Sunset over Lake Tinaroo

Looking at this idyllic campsite, isn’t it hard to believe that at night things can get very ugly??

We drove in and were immediately taken with this beautiful spot, looking forward to the approaching sunset over the lake! We had arrived at Lake Tinaroo in Danbulla National Park in tropical north Queensland. We set up camp and started preparing dinner, in the meantime enjoying our beautiful views over the lake!

Giant White-tailed Rats operate here at night!

Then our teenager came back from the toilet where they had seen a sign and reported back that there was a warning that Giant White-tailed Rats operated here at night! These creatures could gnaw through plastic, cloth and tins, they could even open jar lids … anything to reach something edible! Chances were they could do serious damage to you vehicle by cutting through the cables and other parts in your motor block as well -we found out later it is said this could be prevented by leaving your bonnet open! Apparently these rats are also good climbers, so it was advised to keep all food and related items such as cooking utensils secured in the car at night!

The setting sun

As the sun was setting, Venus appeared brightly in the sky – it was beautiful indeed! The water was almost perfectly still, reflecting the backdrop of the mountains and the colours of the sunset in the sky like a mirror.

While enjoying these stunning views we started fantasizing about what was going to happen when it got dark. How gigantic were these Giant Rats actually? We could just picture the human-sized creatures (or even bigger!?) forming a gang, roaming the campsites at night! We wondered how large the area was that they operated in…

To be on the safe side, we did pack everything but ourselves and our sleeping gear into the car before we retreated and left a little light on in our campsite which was also advised to deter them.

The real deal

We made it unscathed through the night and I looked up what the real deal is with these Giant Rats:

Giant White-tailed Rats are a native rodent to north-east Queensland and are found in wet forested areas. They weigh up to 1 kg and are the size of a rabbit or a small domestic cat. Definitely quite large for a rat, but of course nowhere near where our imagination had taken us!

Their sharp teeth and strong jaws allow them to gnaw through the hardest nutshells. Even the notoriously hard to open Macademia nuts can be opened by these rats, which is something not many animals can do! (Check out another animal that can crack Macademia nuts with ease here). Therefore they are an important propagator of these and other trees. I also found out that they are solitary animals so the idea of a gang could also be abolished! They actually look cute too!

It is sensible to heed the warning signs though if you want to have a happy camping experience. That is what we did and we had absolutely no damage to our gear and supplies. We enjoyed the camp thoroughly because the place is absolutely stunning!

Are you interested to find out what happens at sunrise at Lake Tinaroo? Read my next post ‘Surprise at Sunrise over Lake Tinaroo’.

If you’d like to read more stories about my landscape photos, click the button below and subscribe to receive the e-book ‘5 of my favourite Landscape Photographs and the Stories behind them’ for free!

If you are interested in purchasing ‘Sunset over Lake Tinaroo’ or would like to see what it looks like on the various products, please head to my shop. Or check out other images in my Beautiful Sunsets Gallery!

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