A staff member with items from the collection in the Discovery Centre

Have you discovered something unusual in your backyard or on your travels throughout Queensland? Whether it’s a curious critter or a mysterious object, our team of experts are here to help. 

From identifying animals to learning about the weird and the wonderful objects you find or delving into queries about objects and stories within the museum, our knowledgeable team can answer questions about Queensland’s incredible natural and cultural heritage.

Before submitting a question or a photo using the form below, please take the time to read our Guidelines below.

Please be aware, due to the safety of our staff and the Museum’s collections, Queensland Museum no longer accepts vertebrate specimens (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) in person or via post for identification or collection purposes. 

Have we answered your question already? Find out what people have been asking our experts

Ask An Expert Guidelines

Please take responsibility for your own safety. Don’t put yourself at risk of being bitten or stung and assume all unknown animals have the potential to harm you.

If your enquiry relates to a suspected pest, biosecurity hazard or biosecurity breach, please contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Specimens collected from human skin or containing human tissue should be sent to a medical pathology service provider. Queensland Museum does not have medical diagnostic equipment nor does it offer a diagnostic service for potential human or veterinary pests or pathogens.

You can ask our helpful and knowledgeable staff questions about the museum as well as questions about Queensland’s animals, invertebrates, rocks, fossils, people and history.

Inquiries are limited to two per person/organisation per month. This is to ensure fair access to our service.

Please note, we can not provide a valuation of your object.

Queensland Museum does not answer any questions relating to medical entomology.

Please see our Collection Donations page

It’s all in the detail - photos should capture as much detail as possible so we can provide an identification. The more information we have on the item, the better our identification can be!
  • Look, record but don’t touch - please don’t touch or disturb animals in their habitat as there is a risk of hurting yourself and/or the animal.
  • Focus - make sure the specimen/animal/object is in focus.
  • Scale - try and get something (a rule, pen coin etc) in for scale.
  • Quantity - the more photos, the better. Try taking from different angles – capturing legs, head shape, spines, body, patterns etc.
  • Location - tell us where the specimen/animal/object was found.
  • Detail - for fossils, rocks and minerals, tell us as many interesting characteristics and features such as weight (in grams), size (in millimeters), whether it is magnetic or for minerals, if can it be scratched.

If possible, provide clear images or bring specimens to us in person. However, if you need to send it in and your animal is alive you will need to kill it by leaving it in a freezer for at least a day. Unless it is a hard-bodied insect that has already dried, you will need to prevent it rotting. Immerse it in methylated spirits for at least 2 days, then remove, and wrap in cotton wool. Place into a sturdy container with a tight-fitting lid (e.g. a small screw top plastic bottle).

We may be able to identify some fossils, rocks and minerals with good quality photographs and detailed information. It is vital that any queries about rocks or fossils include details of the location where the specimen was found. This information provides geological context for the specimen and can commonly give clues to its age. If we can’t assist you, we will endeavour to assist with other services of resources.

Please note that we do not return geological specimens by post.If you are sending a geological specimen, wrap up the item and place it into a padded postal bag, remembering to include a letter that has your name, contact details, where and when you collected the specimen.

Queensland Museum no longer accepts vertebrate specimens (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish) in person or via post for identification or collection purposes. You can submit high resolution photos of specimens to our experts. Please refer to our photography guidelines.

Always contact us first before sending cultural items. Never send unsolicited donations of any cultural items. Please leave Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural sites and objects as they are. The disturbance or relocation of cultural material can greatly diminish its cultural and scientific significance and it is also illegal. Queensland Museum does not enforce this legislation, but we strongly encourage you to leave such artefacts in their original location. For more information on the legislation protecting these sites and objects please refer to the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage website.

Queensland Museum no longer accepts vertebrate specimens (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) in person or via post for identification or collection purposes. You can continue to submit photos of specimens to our experts via the form below.


In general, if you bring a geological (fossil, rock or mineral) specimen/item to us in person we won’t be able to immediately identify it. We will give you a receipt and then you can pick up your specimen/item on a return visit, after it has been identified.

Contact information

Question details

Please select an option from the relevant category below. *

Your question

Please enter your question below and provide precise locality/contextual information about where your specimen was found/seen if possible or state if location is unknown or not applicable.

Attachments

Valid file types are image, video, audio, pdf and word (gif, jpg, jpeg, png, heic, pdf, mp4, avi, mov, hevc, mp3, wav, docx).

Privacy notice

Queensland Museum will only use the personal information you submit in this form to answer your questions, to provide you with the information you have requested or to make requests regarding your question. Further information about the types of information collected and stored by Queensland Museum can be found on our website: http://www.museum.qld.gov.au/privacy-and-security-statement.

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.


You might be interested in