Australia is home to a wide variety of animal species, many of which are only found on this continent. A large group of Australian mammals is marsupials. These mammals carry their young in pouches. Another special kind of mammal that can be found here is the monotreme. These mammals are unique because they lay eggs rather than give birth to their young. Australia is also known for its many insects, reptiles, and amphibians. As a result, mammals and birds have been chosen as Australian animal emblems.
Kangaroos are marsupial mammals found in Australia and Tasmania. Marsupials carry their young in a pouch. Kangaroos have large and powerful hind legs and oversized feet. They also have a long and robust tail that helps them balance. Recent research revealed that balancing is not the only way kangaroos use their tail. They use it as a third leg when they walk. During this special three-stage walk, they plant their front legs and tail first, then push off the tail to move forward and produce their hind legs next. Kangaroos are some of the only large animals that use hopping as their primary mode of locomotion.
Kangaroos are herbivores and eat plants, leaves, and grasses. Adult kangaroos can live for months without drinking anything at all. They live in groups called ‘mobs’ and are very social. Kangaroos are some of the most popular Australian animals. They became the symbol of Australia and appeared on many logos and even on some currencies.
The emu is the world’s second-largest bird after the ostrich. Emus can reach up to 190cm in height. They are flightless birds. Emus have long necks and sharp beaks. They have three toes on each foot. They also have a hoof on each of their feet, which they use for fighting and protection from predators.
They are omnivores, and their diet includes grains, flowers, berries, and insects. When food is plentiful, emus will eat a lot of it and store it in their bodies as fat. They can then survive prolonged periods without eating. They live in flocks or pairs. Emus can travel long distances and, if needed, can sprint as fast as 50km/h. Their plumage differs in color depending on their environment. It helps them to blend in with their surroundings.
The echidna is one of the most adaptable Australian animals in most Australian habitats, including deserts, coastal forests, and meadows. The most distinguishing feature of the echidna is its long, narrow snout with a long tongue perfect for catching insects. Its back and sides are covered with sharp, white spines called quills. They curl up into a ball when threatened, exposing only their quills. It is how echidnas protect themselves from predators. Their diet consists of ants, termites, and larvae. Echidnas make good use of their sharp claws, which they use to search for insects inside rotting logs.
Possums are marsupial mammals that live in trees. They’re known for their long tails. Different species of possums vary in size. The Tasmanian pygmy possum is the smallest marsupial in the world. Here are some quick facts about them:
This tiny animal averages just 7cm in length and weighs 10g. Possums are native to Australia, and there are 23 possum species on this continent. They’re nocturnal, which means they’re mainly active at night. Possums commonly eat eucalyptus, other tree leaves, nectar, flowers, and fruit.
Koalas are another example of native Australian animals. Although they’re often incorrectly referred to as ‘koala bears,’ they are marsupials. They’re related to kangaroos and wombats. Koalas have a distinctive appearance. They’re tailless, stout, and grey-brown. They have a large head with fluffy ears and a large nose.
Koalas are arboreal, which means they live in trees. Their sharp claws help them to climb branches. Their front paws have five digits each, with two acting like thumbs. It helps them hold on to branches and grip their food. Koalas can commonly be found in eucalyptus woodlands. They can eat up to one kilogram of leaves per day. These adorable animals are primarily sedentary and can sleep up to 20 hours daily. They need this large amount of sleep because their diet of leaves is deficient in nutrients and energy.
- Tasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian devil can only be found in the wild on the island of Tasmania. Tasmanian devils are marsupials, meaning that the females carry their young in pouches. It helps to protect newly born babies. Tasmanian devils have black fur and a white marking on the bottom of their chests.
These animals are carnivorous, which means they only eat meat. Their diet consists of lizards, frogs, insects, and carrion. They can eat up to 40% of their body weight daily. Tasmanian devils are known for their loud screech and ferocity when feeding. They have a powerful bite thanks to their large heads and necks. An interesting fact about Tasmanian devils is that they store fat in their tails, which is helpful when there isn’t much food around.
- Common Death Adder
The common death adder is a snake species native to Australia. It’s one of the world’s most venomous snakes. This snake has a triangular head and a black coloring with bands of red or brown. Death adders have the longest fangs of all Australian snakes. It lives in woods, grasslands, scrub, and heathland areas. This snake eats small mammals and birds. The common death adder is known for its unique hunting technique. First, it lies in wait, covering itself with leaves to blend into its surroundings. Then, when prey appears, the adder twitches its tail to attract the animal. When the animal approaches, the death adder quickly strikes and injects its venom to kill it.
The platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal. It’s only found in the small rivers and streams of eastern Australia. This striking Australian animal is one of the most exciting creatures out there. It’s duck-billed, has a beaver-like tail and webbed feet, lays eggs, and its body is covered in fur. Platypuses are monotremes, unique kinds of mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to their young.
These intriguing animals close their eyes and ears when underwater. They find their prey by using their sense of electroreception. It means that platypuses can detect electric fields created by the muscular contractions of their prey. They dig up worms, insects, and shrimp using their bills. Platypuses are excellent swimmers able to stay underwater for 30 seconds at a time.
Wombats are another species of Australian animals that are native only to Australia. They’re marsupial mammals. They’re small animals that resemble a cross between a bear and a pig, with brown to black coloring. They have short legs, a compact head, and strong claws adapted for digging. They are nocturnal, which means they’re mainly active at night.
The wombat diet consists of grass and roots. These animals live in extensive burrows made from the seeds of fallen trees, compacted soil, leaves, and rocks. The wombat’s pouch faces backward, ensuring they don’t gather dirt in their pouches when digging. An interesting fact about wombats is that they produce cube-shaped feces. They arrange these feces to mark their territories and attract mates.
Australia is home to both freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. Crocodiles are semiaquatic reptiles. Saltwater crocodiles are the giant crocodiles in the world. Males can grow up to five meters long. They also have the most substantial bite of any animal in the world. These reptiles are cold-blooded, which makes them very sensitive to cold. It is why they spend most of their day warming themselves in the sun.
Crocodiles are carnivores, eating meat and hunting for their prey. They mainly eat fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Crocodiles have potent senses, which is an advantage for these predators. Because their eyes, ears, and nostrils are on the top of their heads, they can lie low in the water as they wait for their prey. In addition, their teeth are being continually replaced, and they can replace each of their 80 teeth up to 50 times in their lifetime.
Which Australian animals are endangered species?
Many Australian animals are endangered. More than 86 types of animals are critically endangered. These include the bilby, wombat, Tasmanian devil, tree kangaroo, red-tailed black cockatoo, and more. These animals are at risk of becoming extinct. It is why we must protect them so that they don’t disappear from the world.