Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Cats and newts on invasive species hitlist; Morocco’s earthquake damage; Claude the naughty koala; and the world’s oldest chicken.



The smooth newt:

Squiz Kids Shortcut to… Invasive Species:

Tectonic plates map:

Peanut the chicken:

Claude the koala:

#Sponsored: Alex Rider: Nightshade Revenge –

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War has been declared on feral cats around the country – and a most curious new addition to the invasive species threatening Aussie native wildlife is starting to rear its slimy head.

This week, the federal government – which is the politicians we send to Canberra – outlined a new plan to rid the country of the millions of feral cats that prowl our bushland eating native animals. 

Bad feral cats! 

A feral cat is a cat that is not domesticated … which is to say, it’s a cat that lives in the wild, without an owner, without anyone giving it a bowl of food each night – which means it hunts and kills whatever it can.

This week, the Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said that feral cats kill 6 million native animals every night in Australia. Which is frankly a staggering number.

I’m sure if you own a tabby – yours is just delightful. 

Traps enabled by artificial intelligence, and nationwide programs to stop feral cats from breeding are among measures being introduced. 

And it’s not just feral cats that are a problem. Feral pigs, foxes, rabbits, cane toads, carp and feral deer are all among what’s called ‘invasive species’ doing untold damage to our environment. Oh dear. 

And get this .. there’s a new-ish kid on the invasive species block .. the smooth newt. How good is that name? It’s a little salamander which was introduced to Australia via pet shops back in the 90s and has since escaped capitivity and gone wild – with some experts warning it has the potential to occupy all of southern Australia. Yikes. 

Smooth newt … cool name, not such a cool effect on our environment. 

I’ve stuck a link to photos and info about the smooth newt in today’s episode notes – as well as a link to a very cool Squiz Kids Shortcut we’ve done on Invasive Species. 

You’re very welcome .. 



Hey team – just a reminder that this is our last week of Squiz Kids Today daily news podcasts before we break for the holidays. Christie will be presenting this term’s final Squiz Kids Today tomorrow, and also the final Kids v Adult Weekly News S’Quiz on Friday – then we go into school holiday programming – with some excellent Bumper School Holiday Quizzes, a new edition of the Squiz Kids Book Club and the usual round of Shortcuts and Squiz The World episodes  …. Subscribe to Squiz Kids in your favourite podcasting app and all the content will magically appear .. or otherwise hop onto our website: .. and have yourselves a very happy holiday … 



Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Morocco – where the country is still in shock following the massive earthquake that shook the ground on Friday.

Rescue workers were yesterday still searching for survivors amid entire villages of collapsed mud-brick homes in the Atlas Mountains, near the city of Marrakesh. 

Many families have been left homeless and continue to take shelter under tarpaulins as relief agencies fly into the country to help what the United Nations estimates is more than 300,000 people who have been impacted by the quake.

Seismologists: who are people that study earthquakes – say that the quake happened when the two tectonic plates on which Morocco sits pushed up against each other. In Morocco’s case, it’s the African tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate which ground up against each other. I’ve stuck a link in today’s episode notes to a map of tectonic plates of the world.  



And it’s well done today to Peanut the chicken .. who this week was recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest chook in the world.

Peanut – who lives with her owner Marsi in the United States – almost didn’t make it to being a chick – let alone a 21 year old chicken.

You see, Peanut couldn’t peck her way out of her shell as a chick – and Marsi was about to throw the egg that Peanut was in into a pond when she suddenly heard cheeping from inside it and broke open the egg to let Peanut out. 

Twenty one years later and the pair are inseparable .. Peanut lives in the Marsi’s living room and lives what any chook would have to admit is a pretty cushy life. 

Retirement home for chickens … you heard it here first.

I’ve stuck a link to video of Peanut in today’s episode notes. Again. You’re welcome. 




Usually this segment is reserved for amazing people doing amazing things – but today I’m giving a great big Squiz Kids Salute to Claude the mischievous koala – who made headlines last week for sneaking into a plant nursery in Lismore and munching her way through $6,000 worth of eucalyptus seedlings.

A seedling is what we called a baby tree. And they’re really delicious, if you’re a koala with an appetite. Which clearly Claude is. 

She snuck into the nursery not once, but several times under the cover of darkness and gorged herself on thousands of seedlings. The nursery owner thought he had a possum problem, until he came to work one day and found Claude clinging to a pole next to a pile of empty seedling trays … clearly too full after a night of pigging out to clamber out of the nursery to her hideaway. 

Claude has been relocated to a forest nearby with lots of eucalyptus trees .. but i have a feeling she’ll be back. You can’t keep a good leaf thief down, afterall.  




Imagine being plucked out of school to join a spy agency and fight against an evil organisation determined to control the world … 

Because that’s the story of Alex Rider – teenage superspy – and the plotline of his latest adventure book, Nightshade Revenge.

It’s the perfect read for anyone who loves spies, action and adrenalin-filled adventure. 

Join Alex- the teenage James Bond –  as he dives into the world of virtual reality gaming to battle the evil forces of Nightshade.

Alex Rider: Nightshade Revenge by kids author Alex Horowirtz is the 14th book in the Alex Rider spy series which has sold over 21 million copies around the world. 

Keep an eye-spy out for it in bookstores and our episode notes today


This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What’s the name of the koala leaf thief from Lismore?
  2. What’s the name of the two tectonic plates underneath Morocco? 
  3. What’s the name of the world’s oldest chicken?





It’s September 13 – today’s the day for the MTV Music Video Awards … I wonder if I’ll get one this year? Probs not. Also on this day 38 years ago, the first ever Super Mario Bros video game was released … happy birthday Mario.


It’s also a special day for these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Erin from Brisbane, Henry from Tempe, Penny from Gulgong, Patrick from Cronulla, Jack from Bondi Beach, THeodore from Baulkham Hills, Bitty from Campbelltown anD Mathilda listening over in Geneva, Switzerland. 


Belated shout outs go to… Andrew from Darwin, Willow from Quirindi and Sophia and Sophie from Mosman. 


Classroom shoutouts today go to … year 5 and Mr Makeham at St Patrick’s Primary School in Gundagai, class 4P and Mr Mr D’Amore at Mary Immaculate Primary School in Bossley Park, class 3T and Mrs Bell at Presbyterian Ladies College in Sydney, class 5B and Mrs Woodward at Queen of Peace Parish Primary School in Altona Meadows, class 1B and Mrs Botham at Waratah Public School, class 6W at St John’s The Apostle Primary School in Narraweena, to Miss Carr’s class at Oran Park Anglican College and lastly to the amazing teacher support officer – Ms Somerville at St Columba College in Andrews Farm. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Claude
  2. African and Eurasian
  3. Peanut