Animals From Australia
Animals in Australia, such as the koala and kangaroo, are famous. But have you heard of the sex-crazy antechinus, the headless chicken monster, the bum-breathing turtle or the deadly box jellyfish? Australia's wildlife is full of surprises.
Some of the most unique and fascinating animals in the world live in Australia. While the kangaroo and koala are well-known, many other creatures are equally intriguing. Take the antechinus, which has bizarre sex-crazy mating habits. Or the headless chicken monster, a deep-sea creature that looks like something out of a horror movie. Then there is a turtle that actually breathes through its rear end! Or what about the box jellyfish, the most venomous animal on the planet? Discover these and hundreds of other incredible native Australian animals here.
The Kangaroo has an upright body, powerful hind legs, a long tail and can grow to 2m tall. The female has a pouch on her belly in which she carries her baby. Kangaroos hop using their hind legs and can reach speeds of 70kph. They are the only animal that walks on five legs!Read More
The Platypus is a bizarre aquatic mammal with a bill like a duck, webbed feet like an otter, a tail like a beaver, and lays eggs like a lizard! But once the baby hatches, the mother feeds it milk like a mammal. The platypus has receptors in its bill that act like a radar to locate its prey underwater.Read More
The Koala has thick fur, large fluffy ears, small eyes, a big flat nose, and no tail. It lives in eucalyptus trees and sleeps up to 20 hours a day. It has paws with opposable thumbs and padded feet to cling to trees. It is sometimes called a Koala Bear, but it is not a bear at all.Read More
The Quokka is a small hopping marsupial with an almost human-like smile, earning it the nickname “the world’s happiest animal”. It has a rounded body, greyish-brown fur, small ears and large dark eyes. Despite their friendly nature, quokkas should be treated with respect and caution.Read More
The Blobfish has a bulbous head, a large mouth and a soft jelly-like body which gives it buoyancy. In its deep-sea habitat, the blob fish looks like a typical bottom-dwelling fish. But out of the water, its body collapses into a gooey blob—giving it the title of the world’s ugliest animal.Read More
The Kookaburra is a stocky bird with a large head and a prominent beak. It has a loud and distinctive bird call that sounds like human laughter. Hence its other names, Laughing Kookaburra and Laughing Jackass. Kookaburras eat lizards, frogs, snakes and other small animals.Read More
Cassowaries, with their dagger-like claws and powerful kicks, are the most dangerous bird in the world and also the second-largest bird. Only 4,000 Southern cassowaries live in the wild. They may soon become extinct.Read More
The Echidna is a small dome-shaped mammal covered in sharp spines. It lays eggs like a reptile, but the mother feeds its young milk like a mammal! The echidna has a rubbery snout with highly sensitive electro-receptors for detecting prey. It uses its sticky tongue to catch ants and termites.Read More
Blue Tongue Lizard
The Blue-tongued Lizard, also known as the Blue-tongued Skink, gets its name from its bright blue tongue, which it sticks out to scare off predators. It is an omnivorous slow-moving medium-sized lizard. It is a popular pet because of its docile nature and distinctive appearance.Read More
Headless Chicken Monster
The Headless Chicken Monster is a bioluminescent deep-sea swimming sea cucumber. It gets its nickname because it sometimes looks like a decapitated chicken. It is also called the Spanish dancer because of its graceful swimming movements. It has a soft body with sticky, transparent skin.Read More
The Dingo is a medium-sized Australian wild dog with a lean, muscular body, yellow, red or black fur, pointed ears, and a bushy tail. It is an intelligent, opportunistic hunter and scavenger that is highly adaptable and survives in various environments. The Dingo is Australia's apex predator.Read More
The Black Swan is a large water bird with striking black plumage, a long neck, and a red bill. It makes high-pitched musical bugle-like sounds. The Black swan is omnivorous, feeding on aquatic plants, insects, and small animals. The term "black swan event" is named after these birds.Read More
The Emu is a giant, flightless Australian bird with shaggy feathers, a small head, large eyes and a long, slender neck. It can run at 50kph for long distances. It is the second-largest bird in the world and has a deadly kick which can cause serious injury to a human if provoked.Read More
The Wombat is a solidly built burrowing herbivorous marsupial with coarse brown or black fur. It has short, powerful legs with strong claws for digging for food and tunnelling underground. Wombats walk slowly and grunt loudly if threatened. They do cube-shaped poop!Read More
Red Bellied Black Snake
The Red-bellied Black Snake is a sleek, venomous snake with a shiny black upper body, a red belly and sides. It is carnivorous, eating small animals. It has small hollow syringe-like venom-injecting fangs. It accounts for 16% of all snake bites in Australia, but its venom is rarely fatal to humans.Read More
The Tasmanian Devil is a muscular marsupial about the size of a small dog. It is known by this name because of its blood-curdling screams, eerie growls, black colour, foul odour and aggressive behaviour. It is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial and prefers to eat dead animals.Read More
The Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the Thylacine, was a carnivorous marsupial that looked like a yellowish-brown dog with a stiff tail and dark stripes on its back. Humans caused its extinction at the start of the 20th century by hunting, habitat destruction and introducing diseases.Read More
The Shark has a streamlined body with a cartilaginous skeleton. It has sharp serrated teeth and a powerful jaw, making it an apex predator. It has an incredible sense of smell and can detect blood from kilometres away. It also has an organ called the lateral line, which senses vibrations in the water.Read More
The Redback Spider is the second most dangerous spider in the world. Females, which are deadly, have black pea-shaped bodies with a red stripe on top of their bodies. The male is tiny and harmless is often eaten by the female after mating. A bite from a female redback spider can kill a human.Read More
The Sugar Glider is a tiny, nocturnal marsupial that loves sugary foods and glides through the air like a tiny paraglider. It has soft, grey fur, large eyes and ears and a bushy tail for gliding. It is a popular pet due to its small size, playful nature, and ability to bond with humans.Read More
Frilled lizards open their mouths wide and ruffle out their scaly red and yellow frill like an umbrella to scare off predators. If this display doesn't scare off an attacker, they turn tail and run away at great speed.Read More
Salt-water crocodiles are ferocious amphibious, carnivorous reptiles with scaly skin and a broad snout crammed with pointed teeth. Their other names are Estuarine Crocodile and Indopacific Crocodile.Read More
Eastern Brown Snake
Eastern brown snakes are the second most venomous snake in the world and responsible for the most snakebite fatalities in Australia. They have slender bodies, with colours ranging from brown to tan to burnt orange.Read More
Box jellyfish are the most venomous animals in the world. A sting from one can kill a human in less than 4 minutes. They are pale blue and hardly visible. They get their name from their four-sided box-like shape.Read More
Wallabies are small to medium-sized hopping marsupials with compact legs built for agility in forested areas where it lives. They are almost identical to kangaroos but smaller. They are referred to as macropods.Read More
Possums are nocturnal marsupials that live in trees, only come out at night and rear their young in a pouch. They range in size from the tiny pygmy possum, which is 70mm to the brushtail possum a meter in length.Read More
Lyrebirds are ground-dwelling pheasant-sized songbirds that are amazing mimics. They can imitate almost any sound they hear. These can include chainsaws, mobile phones, and horns.Read More
Red kangaroos are the largest marsupials and the largest hopping animal in the world. Standing up to 2 meters tall, it can hop at over 60kph. Each hop covering up to 9 meters. 15 million of them live in the Outback.Read More
Reef stonefishes are the most venomous fish in the world. Spines along their backs inject highly toxic venom and intensely painful venom. They camouflage themselves to blend effortlessly into their environment.Read More
Thorny Devil lizards are armoured with spikes and have excellent camouflaging skills. These attributes offer them superior protection from would-be predators. They are about 20cm in length and eat black ants.Read More
Antechinuses are little marsupials with pointy noses. Their appearance is similar to a mouse. They are ferocious hunters, preying on insects and small animals. They have a suicidal oversexed sexual behaviour.Read More
The mimic octopus is a master of disguises. It can change its appearance to imitate many dangerous sea creatures to frighten predators away. The mimic octopus lives in shallow, murky waters.Read More
Greater bilbies are small, nocturnal, omnivorous marsupials with rabbit-like ears and pointy pink snouts. They have muscular forearms and claws for digging their burrows and uncovering buried food.Read More
Cuttlefish are cephalopods and are related to squid and octopus. They experts at using colour, shape, and texture for camouflage. As a result, they can put on spectacular colour and light displays.Read More
Corroboree frogs are highly poisonous amphibians with striking yellow and black longitudinal markings. These frogs walk rather than hop like most other frogs. There may be as few as 50 left in the wild.Read More
Marsupial moles literally swim underground through the sand. They have no eyes or ears and have a bony shield to protect their noses. They are probably one of the most unusual and least understood animals in the world.Read More
Swift parrots, also known as the Red-faced or Red-shouldered Parrot, are small green and yellow birds with long pointed wings. These noisy birds are the fastest parrots in the world. There are only 2,000 left in the wild.Read More
Gouldian finches are beautifully coloured grass finches. They were once found by the millions but are nearly extinct in the wild. Gouldian finches feed on both ripe and partially-ripe grass seeds.Read More
Numbats are small termite-eating marsupials. They are sometimes called Banded Anteaters or Marsupial Anteaters. They weigh about 700 grams and forage for termites during the daylight.Read More
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest and most spectacular coral reef, with a diverse range of underwater animals. It comprises 2,900 coral reefs and 600 idyllic islands and is over 2,300lm long.Read More
Leadbeater's possums scamper along branches in the high forest canopy and leap gracefully from one tree to another. They are extremely rare.Read More
Spotted Tailed Quolls are the size of a large cat. They have many sharp little teeth. They are the second-largest carnivorous marsupial.Read More
The Gilbert's potoroo is the world's rarest marsupial. It has long front limbs with craved claws with which its digs underground fungi (truffles).Read More
Dugongs are plant-eating marine mammals. Because of their sleek appearance and large teats, ancient sailors thought they were mermaids.Read More
The brushtail possum is a semi-arboreal nocturnal marsupial. It has a bushy prehensile tail, which it uses to grasp onto branches.Read More
Funnel Web Spider
The Sydney funnel-web is the deadliest and most aggressive spider in the world. Its bite can kill a human in 15 minutes.Read More
Bandicoots are small omnivorous marsupials with pointy snouts, large hind feet, and hop. There are 20 species of bandicoots in Australia.Read More
Night Parrots are small ground-dwelling nocturnal parrots. They are the world's most mysterious and elusive birds. Only about 250 survive.Read More
The Giant clam is the world’s largest sessile mollusc. It can grow up to 1.5 meters and weigh 230 kilos. It has large protruding blue iridescent lips.Read More
The Ringtail possum is a small arboreal, nocturnal marsupial that holds its tail in a tight coil. It has two thumbs on each front paw.Read More
The Tawny Frogmouth is a nocturnal insect hunter that looks like an owl. It camouflages itself by fluffing its feathers to look like a tree stump.Read More
The Musky rat-kangaroo is the smallest macropod and the only kangaroo that doesn't hop. As its name suggests, it looks like a rat and has a musky smell.Read More
Clownfish come in various colours and usually have vertical bands across their bodies. They live amongst poisonous sea anemones.Read More
Tree kangaroos live in trees. They climb by wrapping their forelimbs around a tree and hopping up with their powerful hind legs.Read More
The White-throated Snapping Turtle breathes through its bum, yes its anus, and it can remain submerged for days. It's about 45cm and can live to over 100 years.Read More
Stick Nest Rat
The white-tipped-stick-nest-rat lived in central Australia. It built its nest of sticks, which it added to over the years, making a huge nesting mound.Read More
The antilopine kangaroo is the only kangaroo that lives entirely in the tropics. It has a face that looks like that of an antelope, hence its name.Read More
Sea anemones are small marine invertebrates closely related to coral and jellyfish. They catch prey with their venomous tentacles.Read More
Fairy Penguins are the smallest penguin species in the world. It goes fishing during the day and eats small fish and crustaceans.Read More
The lesser bilby was a small omnivorous marsupial that became extinct in 1950 due to rabbits and predators such as feral cats and foxes.Read More
The woylie is a nocturnal marsupial with a long tail which it wraps around a bundle of nesting material and transports it home.Read More
Flying Fox (Bat)
Flying Foxes are relatively large flying herbivorous mammals. Most do not use echolocation but instead rely on their keen sight.Read More
The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is a very noisy large white parrot with a large yellow crest that it fans out. It eats berries, seeds, nuts and roots.Read More
The blue-ringed octopus bite is painless and may go unnoticed. However, its toxin acts quickly. Death may occur in as little as 30 minutes.
Tiger snakes are large, aggressive snakes responsible for the second-highest number of bites in Australia. Their venom is neurotoxic.
The goanna is the largest lizard in Australia and the fourth-largest in the world. If threatened, it whips its tail, bites, and claws its victim.
Dolphins are very vocal, playful, intelligent, and social animals that live in groups of up to 15. They feed on invertebrates, fish, and squid.
Australia has 56 species of colourful parrots. It has two-thirds of the world’s cockatoos and around one-eighth of the world’s parrots.
Australian sea lions have stocky bodies, a large head, and short narrow flippers. The male is twice as large as the female. They hunt fish and squid.
Red-eyed Tree Frog
Red-eye tree frogs live in Australian rainforests and wetlands. They are nocturnal hunters that feed on moths and insects.
Rakali (Water Rat)
The Rakali, a semi-aquatic native placental mammal, lives in burrows on the banks of rivers. It eats insects, fish, crustaceans, snails, and frogs.
Taipans are large, fast-moving snakes. They are some of the most venomous snakes in the world but prefer to avoid confrontation with humans.
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
Peacock mantis shrimps have the fastest punch in the world, creating small implosions in the water that generates heat, light, and sound.
Handfish prefer to walk on their pectoral and pelvic fins rather than swim. They live at depths of 5-40m and eat crustaceans and worms.
Red-fronted parakeets were quite common till about 1879. They became extinct because of hunting by humans and as a result of the feral cat.
Humpback whales travel up from the Antarctic to give birth and feed their young. They can grow to 12 – 16 metres and weigh 36,000 kgs.
Plains wanderers are small quail-like birds that live in semi-arid grasslands. They prefer to run rather than fly and fall easy prey to foxes.
Loggerhead Turtles are the largest hard-shelled turtles in the world. They are carnivorous, feeding on shellfish, crabs, sea urchins, and jellyfish.
The eastern bettong became extinct on the mainland in the 1920s as the result of the introduction of the red fox and rabbit.
Lion fish has zebra-like stripes and venomous spines. A sting from a spine can be very painful but not fatal to humans.
Gastric-brooding frogs incubated their babies in the mother's stomach. They became extinct in the mid-1980s due to a pathogenic fungus spread by humans.
Green turtles feed on seagrasses. They also eat the venomous box jellyfish. They get their name from the colour of their fat.
The exotic mandarin fish has no scales for protection. Instead, it is covered in smelly toxic mucus and spines to deter predators.
The Textile Cone's harpoon-like tooth can pierce the skin, rubber gloves and wetsuits. Its venom causes respiratory paralysis and eventual death.
Australian Wildlife Australian Fauna
Australia is home to some of the most unique wildlife on Earth. An astonishing 69% of its mammal species, 93% of reptiles, 94% of amphibians, 46% of birds, and 96% of invertebrates are found only in Australia. The exceptional uniqueness of Australia's fauna is the result of its prolonged geographic isolation from the rest of the world. For millions of years, Australia remained isolated from neighbouring landmasses, preventing the influx of new animal species. Consequently, the resident wildlife underwent distinct evolutionary changes, adapting to the country's arid and challenging environment in splendid isolation.
There Were No
Mice, Apes & Monkeys
Until Europeans came to Australia in 1788, there were no hoofed animals (like horses, cattle, goats, deer, etc.) in Australia. There were no apes or monkeys in Australia either.
Starting from about 5,000 years ago, humans have brought many new animal species to Australia. For example, the dingo was brought to Australia by ancient seafarers about 5,000 years ago. Then, starting from 1788, European settlers introduced many other animals such as cattle, sheep, camels, and rabbits. These animals are certainly not native to Australia and are referred to as Introduced Australian Animals.
There are three types of mammals in Australia. These are monotremes, marsupials, and placentals.
Monotremes first appeared between 145–99 million years ago and are the oldest type of Australian mammals. Two out of the five known species of monotremes in the world live in Australia. The echidna and platypus are two such animals found in Australia.
Marsupials appeared about 64-65 million years ago and are the second oldest type of mammal found in Australia. They occupy every niche of the Australian habitat and range from the large red kangaroo to marsupials smaller than a mouse.
Placental mammals are relatively recent arrivals to Australia. Bats were the first to arrive, getting here about 23 million years ago. Rodents came 5-10 million years ago. These animals reached Australia by flying or hitching a ride on floating debris and crossing the oceans that separated Australia from Asia as Australia stated drifting slowly closer to Asia. These placental mammals make up a tiny percentage of the total mammalian population. Humans introduced several animals. The dingo was the first of these, coming here about 5,000 years ago. Beginning in 1788, many types of placental mammals such as cattle, foxes and rabbits were brought to Australia.
Australia has many amphibians and reptiles found nowhere else in the world.
Snakes – Australia has 140 species of land snakes and 32 species of sea snakes. Of these about a 100 are poisonous snakes. The bite from about 12 of these can be fatal to humans. The taipan and red-bellied black snake are some such poisonous snakes.
Lizards – There are over 700 species unique to Australia alone.
Frogs – Four families of native frogs numbering 230 species inhabit the continent. One hundred thirty-five of these are unique to Australia.
Crocodiles – Australia has two species of crocodiles. The Saltwater crocodile is the world's largest and can weigh as much as 1,000 kilos, and is known to attack humans. Freshwater crocodiles are much smaller and do not attack humans.
Turtles – There are 35 species of freshwater turtles. Six species of sea turtle also visit the coastlines.
Ratites such as the emu and cassowary are large flightless birds similar to the ostrich. The emu lives in the Australian Outback. And the critically endangered cassowary lives in the tropical rainforests of Australia.
Megapods such as the Mallee fowl, trace their ancestry as far back as Gondwanan time. These stocky birds look somewhat like chickens, but they have small heads and large feet (that's why the name "megapod" meaning big-feet). These birds are usually found in forested areas.
Other birds, such as Kookaburras, are the world's largest kingfishers.
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