Australia has some of the weirdest animals in the world. Where else would you find animals that hop with their babies in a pouch? Or see a platypus that looks so strange that people thought that it was stitched together from the parts of lots of other animals. Or find a sea creature called a headless chicken monster.
Koalas are cuddly tree-dwelling mammals with large noses. They spend their entire life in trees and sleeps up to 20 hours a day. Some people refer to them as Koala Bears, but they are not bears at all. They are marsupials.Read More
Platypuses have beaks like a duck, webbed feet like an otter, tails like a beaver, and lay eggs like a lizard. About the size of a small cat, this animal is a semi-aquatic mammal referred to as monotreme.Read More
Kangaroos have a triangular, upright body supported by two disproportionately large hind legs, small forelimbs, and large thick tails. The female of the species has a pouch in which she carries her young.Read More
Wombats are burrowing herbivorous marsupials that look like baby bears. They are shy animals rarely seen in the wild. Wombats walk very slowly and grunt loudly if threatened. They do cube-shaped poo!Read More
Emus are the tallest and fastest land bird in Australia. They are the second tallest and second fastest bird in the world. They may look down at you intimidatingly, but they are just curious and harmless unless provoked.Read More
Red-bellied black snakes are venomous snakes with black upper bodies and bright red sides and bellies. They account for 16% of all snake bites. They are also called a Red belly Black Snakes or Common Black Snakes.Read More
Blue-tongued lizards come in a variety of sizes and colours. If threatened, they stick out their large blue tongues and hisses loudly to scare off predators. They are slow-moving skinks that feed during the day.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. With only 1,200 Southern cassowaries left in the wild, they may soon become extinct.Read More
Dingoes, the wild dogs of Australia, originated from semi-domesticated dogs brought to Australia by humans 5,000 years ago. They generally avoid humans, but are unpredictable and have been known to attack or bite.Read More
Echidnas are small egg-laying mammals called monotremes. They are the oldest surviving example of early mammals. They lay eggs like birds and reptiles but feed their young milk like a mammal.Read More
Quokkas look like the happiest animals in the world. With their smiley faces, they seem to love posing for selfies. About the size of a domestic cat, they are relatively agile and capable of climbing small trees and shrubs.Read More
The Tasmanian devil is a scary and boisterous marsupial with blood-curdling screams like a devil. It is the world's largest carnivorous (meat-eating) marsupial. It is extinct except on the island of Tasmania.Read More
Laughing kookaburras are the world’s largest kingfisher. They have loud and distinctive bird calls that sounds like human laughter. They are carnivorous and love feasting on snakes, which they bash against a branch to kill it.Read More
Redbacks are the second most dangerous spider in the world. They have a black pea-shaped body with a red stripe, a warning to keep away. Most redback bites occur when humans invade the spider's "space".Read More
Sharks are a group of fish called Elasmobranchii that don't have bony skeletons. They are mostly harmless. The media wildly publicise shark attacks, but they are very rare. There are 182 species in Australian waters.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 cold-blooded, 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 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
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
Black swans are large aquatic birds found in estuaries and waterways of Australia. They make a high-pitched musical bugle sounds. While graceful in flight and in water, black swans walk rather clumsily on land.Read More
Possums are nocturnal marsupials mammals 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
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
Tasmanian Tigers (Thylacine) were marsupial wolves that had stripes like a tiger. Resembling a large, short-haired dog with a stiff tail, they were the largest carnivorous marsupial. People hunted them to extinction.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
The headless chicken monster is a deep-sea swimming sea cucumber that gets its name because its body shape looks like a decapitated chicken. It is bioluminescent and has a see-through body with internal organs visible.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
Sugar gliders are small arboreal, nocturnal marsupial mammals that glide from tree to tree and eat the sugary nectar of plants. They are about 250mm long and very agile. It can glide up to 90 meters from tree to tree.Read More
Blobfish are the ugliest animals in the world. They have jelly-like bodies and live in the ocean at depths of over 1,000m where they look like tadpoles. On land, its body collapses, and it looks like a slime blob.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
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
Cuttlefish are intelligent creatures and experts at using colour, shape, and texture for camouflage. They can put on spectacular colour and light displays. Cuttlefish are related to squid and octopuses.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 only 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
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
Swift parrots, also known as the Red-faced or Red-shouldered Parrot, are small green and yellow birds with long pointed wings. These rather noisy birds are the fastest parrots in the world. There are only 2,000 left in the wild.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
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
Numbats are small marsupial anteaters that eat termites. They weigh about 700 grams. They forage for termites during the daylight.Read More
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and most spectacular coral reef in the world. It has the world's most diverse range of underwater animals.Read More
Leadbeater's Possums are fast-moving marsupials that live high in the forest canopy and leaps gracefully from one tree to another.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
Gilbert's potoroo is the world's rarest marsupial. It has long front limbs with craved claws with which its digs for 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
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 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 paws.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 dead 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 a wide variety of colours and usually have vertical bands across their bodies. They live amongst poisonous sea anemones.Read More
Tree kangaroos are kangaroos that live in trees. They climb by wrapping the forelimbs around a tree and hopping up with their powerful hind legs.Read More
This turtle breathes through its bum, yes its anus, and it can remain submerged for days. It's about 45cm and lives to over 100 years.Read More
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 massive 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 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 Rakali, a semi-aquatic native placental mammal, lives in burrows on the banks of rivers. It eats insects, fish, crustaceans, snails, and frogs.
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, social animals that live in groups of up to 15 animals. 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 stocky bodies, a large head, and short narrow flippers. The male is twice as large as the female. They hunt fish and squid.
Red-eye tree frogs live in Australian rainforests and wetlands. They are nocturnal hunters that feed on moths and insects.
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 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.
Gastric-brooding frogs incubated their babies in the mother's stomach. They became extinct in the mid-1980s due to a pathogenic fungus.
Green turtles feed on seagrasses, but they also eat the venomous box jellyfish. They get their name from the colour of their fat.
The Textile Cone's harpoon-like tooth can pierce the skin, rubber gloves and wetsuits. Its venom causes respiratory paralysis and eventual death
It is the largest turtle of them all. It is called a leatherback because it doesn't have a hard shell but has leathery skin. It eats jellyfish and invertebrates.
Introduced animals are those animals brought to Australia by humans. The first animal introduced into Australia by humans was the dingo, a wild Australian dog. Other introduced animals were brought here for agriculture (cattle and sheep), transportation (camel and horse), sport (rabbit and fox), pleasure (myna bird and house sparrow), and pest control (cane toad). Some of these creatures have been disastrous to the Australian ecology.Read More
There are more than 330 species of marsupials ranging in size from the 2.1-meter tall red kangaroo to the tiny planigale, which is just 6cm in length and weighs only 4 gm (about as much as a teaspoon of sugar). Marsupials occupy all ecological niches in the trees, on the ground, and underground.Read More
Most native Australian animals are nocturnal. That is, they are only active when its dark. Being active at night allows these animals to cope with the extreme heat and aridity of the country. Coming out only at night when the temperature is cooler conserves precious water, which would be lost by being active in the hot sun.Read More
There are over 300 species of Australian animals that are endangered. They may disappear from the face of the Earth forever. In recent time, due to human activities, the number of species becoming extinct has accelerated at an alarming rate. Some species have become extinct in just a few years.Read More
Extinction is a natural process of evolution. Since the arrival of humans, however, extinction has accelerated alarmingly. Many species of Australian megafauna became extinct after the arrival of the Aboriginals. Since the arrival of European settlers in 1788, Australia has lost many hundreds of other native animals and plants.Read More
Ever wondered what animals are really native to Australia? Generally speaking, it is any animal that has been in Australia before the arrival of humans. The reason this definition is the best is because animals such as the koala and emu have been in Australia for millions of years and are unquestionably native. The dingo, on the other hand, which considered native by some, was only brought to Australia by humans about 5,000 years ago. Many other animals such as camels and rabbits were introduced by European settlers less than 200 years ago. These animals are definitely not native to Australia.
So any animal that was living in Australia before the arrival of humans is a native Australian animal.
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.
Rats and mice were the only animals that the Europeans didn't bring intentionally. They arrived as stowaways on ships.
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 arrived about 5-10 million years ago. These animals reached Australia by flying or hitching a ride on floating debris and crossing the oceans that separated Australian from Asia as Australia as it stated drifting slowly closer to Asia. These placental mammals make up a very small 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, the fox and rabbit were brought to Australia.
Australia has many amphibians, and reptiles found nowhere else in the world.
Lizards – There are over 700 species unique to Australia alone.
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 snake.
Frogs – Four families of native frogs numbering 230 species inhabit the continent. 135 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.
Australia has 800 species of birds of these 350 are only found in Australasia.
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.