Posted by: travelrat | August 10, 2011

We Didn’t See Cassowaries, Either!

Daintree Rain Forest: 20th August 2010.

When we went on safari in Kenya in 1994, Jacob, our guide, had a little trick. ‘Lions?’ he’d say ‘There are no lions here!’ or ‘We will see no elephants today!’ which was a sure sign that we would see the named creature, and plenty of them.

I think Mal, our guide in the Daintree Rain Forest, has read the same book. I asked about cassowaries, and he said it was unlikely we’d see any as, despite the fact that they’re quite capable of disembowelling you, are really shy and reclusive creatures. But, there are signs along the road, warning motorists to look out for them. Including one that has been altered by some anonymous wag. The ‘powers that be’ ordered its removal, but public opinion led to its reinstatement, where it continues to amuse passers by … and features on postcards and other souvenirs.

We stopped at the Marranja Boardwalk, for a short walk along it through the rainforest and mangrove swamps. Mal pointed out a strange thing, where a strangler fig had killed its host tree, but, instead of dying off itself had survived, and thrived. He checked it carefully for snakes, and other harmful creatures before allowing us to photograph its interior.

What are these? asked someone, pointing to a little white flower. ‘I call them ‘Little White Flowers’!’ said Mal, explaining that he wasn’t very well up on flowers. ‘But, there’s a pretty good flower book in the bus, if you really want to know’

He didn’t … which made me wonder if, maybe, he was one of those tiresome people who try to score points for themselves by catching the guide out?

And no, we didn’t see any cassowaries!


  1. Hi Keith,
    What a magnificent tree trunk, so very different, it’s amazing how they can survive no matter what.
    It is a shame you didn’t get to see any cassowaries, they do make a beautiful photo with their gorgeous colours on their heads, the blues and the red really stand out.

    • The remarkable thing about this is that usually, when the host tree dies, the parasitic strangler fig dies with it ….

  2. Oh, I’m so sorry you didn’t get to see the cassowaries. That tree trunk looks like a carving. Amazing!

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