There are a range of habitats around Uluru and throughout the park. Learn the Anangu words for each of these environments and the types of plants and animals to thrive there.


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Puli (rocky areas)


Only plants that can live in shallow, barren soils are found here. Anangu burn around puli to protect it from wildfires. Many animals come to drink or shelter in puli, but return to other habitats to graze and breed.

Walpa Gorge

Plants and animals found in puli:

  • kanyala (euro)
  • waru (black-footed rock-wallaby)
  • tjilkamata (echidna)
  • arutju (fat-tailed antechinus)


Karu (creek-lines)


Anangu usually find good supplies of water here. Although creeks are normally dry, waterholes can remain for months. Anangu dig for water along the creek beds and collect grass seeds, firewood, and timber for carving tools.

Ephemeral rain pools from water run-off at Uluru provide ideal breeding sites for Uluru's frog fauna

Plants found in karu:

  • kaltu-kaltu (native woollybutt)
  • muur-muurpa (bloodwood)
  • itara (river red gum)


Puti (acacia scrubland, often stony foothills)


Where the ground is hard and sometimes stony, kapi tjintjira (freshwater claypans) form after good rain and animals come to drink. Puti wanari is flat country and the ground storey can be spinifex or other grasses hiding many animal burrows. When the burrows flood during rain, the animals head for higher ground.

Plants and animals found in puti:

  • wanari (mulga)
  • tjala (honey ants)
  • Malu (red kangaroo)
  • kanyala (euro)
  • pintjatanpa (rabbit)
  • mingkiri (mice/small dasyurids)
  • tarkawara (spinifex hopping-mouse)


Pila (spinifex plains, low areas between dunes)


Pila is the most common habitat in the park. There are many trees and shrubs that provide seeds for animals and Anangu. When kjanpi (spinifex) is old with a ring in the middle Anangu burn it to allow new growth.

Plants and animals found in pila:

  • kurkara (desert oak)
  • watarka (umbrella bush)
  • kuur-muurpa (bloodwood)
  • kaliny-kalinypa (honey grevillea)
  • tarkawara (spinifex hopping mouse)
  • mutingka and muluny-mulunypa (striped skinks)
  • kuniya (woma python)
  • lungkata (centralian blue tongued lizard)
  • tjakura (giant desert skink)
  • kalaya (emu)
  • kipara (bustard)
  • tuuka (fox)
  • ngaya (cat)


Tali (sand dunes)


This habitat is very fragile. Spinifex and green shrubs grow here. In the mornings you can see networks of tracks on the sand. Many animals of the tali protect themselves by burrowing into the sand and emerge after rain. Generally, the small mammals that live in pila are also found in tali.

Plants and animals found in tali:

  • pukara (desert thryptomene)
  • watarka (umbrella bush)
  • walkalpa (emu poison bush)
  • nyitu (nut bush)
  • itjaritjari (marsupial mole)
  • mutingka (small skinks)


Nyaru (burnt or regenerating areas)


Pila and tali become nyaru after they are burned, with similar animals in both habitats. Animals flock to the nyaru after a fire because many types of food plants, such as seed grasses and succulents regenerate here.

Plants and animals found in nyaru:

  • tarkawara (spinifex hopping mouse)
  • tjantjalka (military dragon)
  • kampurarpa (desert raisin)
  • wiriny-wirinypa (bush tomato)