Animals of Australia

There are lots of great Animals of Australia.

Australia’s long isolation from other continents has helped evolution to create some of the most unique creatures in the world.

We have mammals that lay eggs, carry their young in the pouch and don’t walk, but bounce across the countryside. If you like animals, Australia won’t disappoint you. Here is some information on kangaroos, koalas and many other Australian animals (that are more interesting for travellers - not every Australian animal is covered!).

     Kangaroos by Nik Borrow via

Animals of Australia - Mammals

Monotreme animals - the only mammals in the world that lay eggs - are only found in Australia and Papua New Guinea. There used to be more of them but nowadays only two species remain. PNG has echidnas while Australia has both of the two species - the duck billed platypus that lives in freshwater streams and billabongs; and the hedgehog-looking ant eater echidna, which is a land animal. Platypus is found along the eastern coast of Australia, while echidna is one of the very few species that has adapted to every habitat on this huge continent, from snowy mountains to dry deserts and steamy hot rainforests.

      Platypus by Caroline Jones via

The second group of Australian mammals are marsupial animals – so classified because they carry their young in the pouch (although there are a few exceptions). While there are some marsupials in PNG and even South America, Australia has got the world's largest variety of them.

While the most famous ones are kangaroos, koalas, wombats, possums and Tasmanian Devils, there are numerous less obvious ones like bandicoots, bilbies, quolls, dunnarts, numbats and gliders. The kangaroo-like ones are called macropods, and apart from kangaroos they include rat- and tree kangaroos, quokkas, pademelons, wallabies, rock wallabies and wallaroos.

         Koala by Steven Penton via

Although the third group of mammals - placental animals - doesn't originate in Australia, we do have placental mammals. Bats arrived air ways while dugongs, whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions arrived water ways, and are all Australian native animals. Dingoes were introduced so long ago that they, too, are most often considered natives.

But then there are the introduced placentals such as foxes, rabbits, deer, buffalo, and feral cats, horses, donkeys, pigs, camels and goats, which are not natives and which all in different ways cause harm to our ecosystems. Some were wild animals that were released to the nature out of stupidity, others - ferals - originate from domestic animals that were brought to Australia as pets or livestock but went back to the wild. It's impossible to get rid of introduced animals because without natural enemies they thrive well in their new ecosystems.

     Dingo by Anna Siegel via

Animals of Australia - Birds

Mammals are not the only interesting group of Australian animals. Australian birds also amaze with their colours, size, sounds and smartness. The most sizeable ones are the flightless emu and cassowary. The largest flying birds are jabirus and brolgas, while the heaviest ones are pelicans. The most colourful ones are parrots, and the smartest ones are cockatoos - both quite common birds everywhere in Australia – from the streets of cities to the most remote outback. The most distinctive sounds are made by kookaburras - Australia's largest kingfishers. And Australia's owls and birds of prey are also large and impressive.

       Emus by Ed Dunens via

Animals of Australia - Frogs and Reptiles

Our most famous reptiles are of course the dangerous snakes and crocodiles, but we have also got some beautiful geckos, lizards, dragons, monitors and goannas. We have got turtles living in freshwater creeks, swamps and billabongs as well as in the ocean. And we have some interesting frogs as well as the introduced cane toad.

    Crocodile by LaggedOnUser via

Animals of Australia - Insects and Spiders

Our spiders are not as deadly as they are made to sound, and our insects are harmless. Some of them grow impressively large, particularly in the tropics. Cockroaches the size of your thumb, stick insects the size of your hand, and some of the northern moths and butterflies are larger than small birds.

uslysses butterfly
    Ulysses butterfly by Dev WR via

Animals of Australia - Fish and Coral Reef

Like elsewhere in the world we have plenty of fish, including sharks, even whale sharks, and we also have dangerous jellyfish in northern Australia. But the most colourful fish is found in coral reef, and Australia has got plenty of it.

coral reef fish
    Coral reef fish by Robert Linsdell via

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, which contains 1500 species of coral fish, 4000 types of clams and snails, and countless other marine species. And it is not the only coral reef in Australia.

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