A Complete Guide to Australian Wildlife

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Australia is a massive country that is also one of the seven continents in the world. A land that displays the outstanding beauty of nature and is home to a collection of extraordinary wildlife. It contains over one million species of animals and plants that fascinate everyone. Many of those animals are unique to Australia and are not found anywhere else in the world. This iconic nation has a wide variety of animals, from incredible kangaroos to unique platypus and much more. These animals are amazing creatures, and some of them can even be friendly to humans. However, it is still important to be cautious at the same time.

This complete guide will take you on a fascinating journey through Australian wildlife. It will provide you with complete information about the variety of animals you can see, locations where you can spot animals, and places in which you can get close and play with these amazing little wonders of nature. The knowledge you will get from here will be sufficient to spark your curiosity and passion to explore the phenomena of Australian wildlife. So, pack your bags and get ready to watch the amazing animals, and do not forget to pack your camera to take some stunning pictures of your encounter with the animals.

What kinds of animals can be found in Australia?

Australia has a diverse range of animals that can be found. You can see a large number of animals. From small to big, all of those animals are unique and have their own special traits, which makes them such incredible creatures of nature. Below, you will see a list of some of the most popular animals.

1. Kangaroo

Kangaroo

The first animal on our list is the kangaroo, which is considered the national animal of Australia. There are four different types of kangaroo species, and their names are: red kangaroo, also called Macropus Rufus; eastern grey kangaroo; western grey kangaroo, scientifically called Macropus giganteus; Macropus fuliginosus; and antilopine kangaroo, also called Macropus antilopinus. Kangaroos are the world’s largest marsupials. Australia has a massive population of kangaroos; it is said that for every person living in Australia, there are about 2 to 3 kangaroos.

There are more than 11 million red kangaroos and over 2 million western grey kangaroos in Australia. Some lesser-known facts about kangaroos are that they are great fighters and can display amazing boxing skills. For kangaroos, boxing is a very common thing. That is their way of playing with each other and becoming stronger, as well as even settling disagreements if they arise. Even though having a boxing match and fighting might sound pretty dangerous, many people find it quite cute when they see kangaroos boxing. Other than that, they are also stunning swimmers.

2. Wombat

Wombat

The wombat is the second-largest marsupial in Australia. These animals, on average, weigh about 54 to 89 pounds (25 to 41 kilogrammes) and are about 3 to 3.5 feet (36 to 42 inches) long. These chubby grasseaters are more elegant than they seem. Wombats have an incredible speed and can go up to 40 kilometres per hour (25 miles per hour). They live in eastern and southern Australia and can be easily found in these places.

Even though wombats kind of resemble cute teddy bears, they do have powerful claws that they use to dig underground tunnels. They are herbivores and only consume grasses, shrubs, roots, bark, and some other woody things to help them with their constantly growing teeth. Wombats do not have an unfriendly nature and can become friends with humans. However, they can also be quite dangerous. Young wombats can be kept as pets, but as they mature, they develop an aggressive nature and can attack humans if they sense any kind of threat from them.

3. Koala

It is another category of marsupials. Koalas are fluffy animals that are mostly found dwelling on trees. These animals are some of the most lazy animals on the planet. They spend their day sleeping for about 18 to 22 hours a day, and the remaining time they spend eating. Koalas consume about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of food, and they love to eat eucalyptus leaves. These are small animals with only a length of 62 to 86 cm (25 to 34 inches) and a weight of about 4 to 16 kilograms (8.9 to 35 pounds).

However, the location also affects the weight of these animals. The koalas found in Victoria are bigger and twice as heavy as the koalas found in Queensland. Even though they are small, they are considered the largest animals that live on trees. Koalas can be easily found in Australia, where the population is between 96,000 and 240,000. One of the biggest misconceptions about koalas is that they are bears. Many people have heard the term ‘koala bear’ but the truth is that they share more characteristics with other marsupials like the wombat. 

4. Platypus

Platypus is quite a unique animal, as it falls into the category of mammals, but instead of giving birth to young ones, it is built to lay eggs. The mammals that lay eggs are called monotremes. Platypus are quite shy creatures that live in rivers, creeks, and lakes in Australia. They are also considered quite strange because of their appearance, which looks like a mixture of three different animals. They have beaks like a duck with a tail that looks similar to beavers and a body structure that resembles a mole.

One of the interesting facts is that their beaver-like tails are not meant to help them swim but to store fat if there is a shortage of food. The size of a platypus depends on their gender; an adult male can be 16 to 25 inches (1.3 to 2.08) long and can weigh up to 1.8 to 6.6 pounds (817 to 3000 grams), while females are smaller and measure 15 to 22 inches (1.25 to 1.83 feet) in length and weigh 1.2 to 3.6 pounds (545 to 1633 grammes).

5. Echidna

Echidna is the other mammal besides Platypus that lays eggs. These animals are about 36 to 53 cm (14 to 20 inches) in length and weigh up to 6 to 7 kilograms (13 to 15 pounds). However, the size and weight can be based on their gender, as females are smaller and usually weigh less than males. Echidnas have spikes on them, similar to porcupines. The body structure of an echidna looks similar to a merger of a hedgehog and an anteater.

Many people find baby echidnas attractive and adorable. These babies are called puggles. Male echidnas have their spurs located in the same place as the glands, and they also get bigger with the passing of time, especially when it comes to breeding season. They also have a very strong sense of smell that helps them find their mates, look for food, and sense any kind of danger. Their claws are like shovels that give them the power to dig deep in the ground for food.

6. Tasmanian devil

Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil is another animal that falls into the category of marsupial. These marsupials are the largest carnivores in the world. They used to live on the mainland before, but now they can be found only on the island in the southern state of Tasmania. These devils are not very big and are the size of a small dog that weighs only 4 to 15 kilograms (9 to 33 pounds). When they are standing, their height is about 30 cm (12 inches). They have dark brown and black fur with multiple spots on their sides and a big white stripe that runs across their breasts.

Tasmanian devils have really strong jaws to attack their prey and finish them so that they can enjoy their meal. They are absolutely awesome climbers and can quickly climb any tree with ease. These animals also have a keen sense of smell, which helps them to track their prey. They have 42 teeth that grow constantly, which helps them chew down on the bones of their prey. Despite all these facts, they are not a threat to humans, as they never attack or show any aggressive behaviour unless they feel threatened. Even in these circumstances, they are more likely to run away from the situation rather than start a fight.

7. Whales

Whales

Whales are amazing animals that have about 90 different kinds of species in the world. Many people consider whales to be fish since they live in water and have body structures similar to those of fish, but the fact is that whales are actually mammals. They belong to the cetacean family and cannot breathe underwater since they do not have gills; instead, they need to come to the surface of water to breathe. There are many different kinds of whale species that can be seen in Australia. You can see Baleen whales such as the Sei whale, Bryde’s whale, Pygmy right whale, Blue whale, Antarctic minke whale, Humpback whale, Dwarf minke whale (subspecies), Fin whale, and Southern right whale.

Even tooth whales like the Sperm whale, long-finned pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, short-finned pilot whale, dwarf sperm whale, melon-headed whale, Grey’s beaked whale, Andrews’ beaked whale, True’s beaked whale, and Ginkgo-toothed beaked whale. Between the months of May and November, you can spot humpback and southern right whales migrating. The waters of Australia are home to a Humpback whale named Migaloo. Lots of whales can be seen on the Australian coastline, giving people a perfect chance to see the migration up close.

Places where you can meet closely with animals

If you want to see the animals closely or meet them and have the desire to touch and pet them, then there are a few places built especially to fulfil these desires. You can visit these places with your friends and family to have the experience of feeling the skin of these amazing creatures, which will leave you with a great memory that will last a lifetime. Below, you will see the places where you can satisfy your desire for a close encounter with animals.

1. Zoos

Zoos

There must be lots of animals that you have only seen in pictures, on television, in books, or on the internet but never encountered in real life. So, you must have the desire or wish that you could see them in real life. Well, there are a large number of zoos in Australia, with over two hundred facilities that include zoos that are open to the public, statutory zoos, and strange animals. Here are some names of the most famous and reputed zoos and wildlife parks, including bird parks and reptile parks.

Some of the most famous zoos where you encounter a lot of animals are the Australia Zoo, Taronga Zoo, Perth Zoo, Melbourne Zoo, Monarto Safari Park, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Adelaide Zoo, Sydney Zoo, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Crocosaurus Cove, Australian Reptile Park, Halls Gap Zoo, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Crocodylus Park, Tasmania Zoo, Pearcedale, Alice Springs Desert Park, Symbio Wildlife Park, Featherdale Sydney Wildlife Park, Caversham Wildlife Park, Kyabram Fauna Park, Territory Wildlife Park, Mogo Wildlife Park, Wildlife HQ, Birdland Animal Park, Cohunu Koala Park, Ballarat Wildlife Park, David Fleay Wildlife Park, Tasmanian Devil Unzoo. Each one of these zoos is well-known for providing the best experience to their visitors.

2. Aquariums

Aquariums

If you are a fan of aquatic life and want to see these marvellous marine creatures from a close perspective, then this next place is the perfect option for you, as you will get to meet many different types of fish. There are many aquariums in Australia, and we have picked some of the best ones for you to ease up your work. The best aquariums to visit in Australia are Cairns Aquarium in Cairns, AQWA The Aquarium of Western Australia in Perth, National Zoo & Aquarium, SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium in Sunshine Coast, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium in Sydney, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium in Melbourne, Ocean Park Aquarium in Francois Peron National Park, and Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures in Wangetti.

When you, your friends, and your family visit these places, then you all will get a chance to see a variety of different shapes, sizes, and colourful fishes. You will also gain lots of knowledge and information about how they live by seeing them up close. Taking your little ones with you can be a great idea, as they will get the chance to learn about so many new things. Some of this aquarium even displays sharks, corals, turtles, and mammals.

3. Sanctuaries

Sanctuaries

Sanctuaries are another one of the places where you can have a close encounter with the animals in Australia. It is a safe place specially built for the protection of people like refugees, some valuables like ancient antiques, and animals. There are several sanctuaries located throughout Australia. Some of the most reputed sanctuaries are Healesville Sanctuary in Badger Creek, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Gold Coast, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, Billabong Sanctuary in Nome, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park in Pearcedale, Koala Park Sanctuary Sydney in Sydney, and Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary in Mylor.

These are highly well-known sanctuaries that you can visit with your friends and family to meet animals up close, learn about them, and have an amazing and memorable time there. These places are home to many native animals, as they provide them with a semi-natural environment to live in. Their main objective is to protect these animals and only focus on their rehabilitation; apart from that, they also offer every kind of help to animals, such as giving them food and looking after their health and well-being. They even treat the wounds of wild animals and provide them with proper medication before setting them free in the wild.

Locations where you can spot wild animals

Meeting the animals in zoos, aquariums, and sanctuaries is great, but watching the animals in the wild and how they live and grow in their natural habitat can give you an experience on another level. There are a number of places where you can spot animals in the wild. However, watching them in the wild can be a bit dangerous, so make sure you maintain a safe distance and are not involved in any activity that will make the animals feel threatened by you or that they might attack to defend themselves. Below you will see a list of the places where you can enjoy seeing the animals in the wild.

1. Oceans

If you are the type of person who loves the ocean and wants to see marine life, then you are in the right place. There are more than 60 different types of marine animals that you can spot on your epic wildlife journey in Australia. You, your friends, and your family can see some of the most spectacular ocean creatures, as it provides you with a great opportunity. There are many places that offer you a tour to watch the sea animals, and some of them even give you the chance to get in the water and see them up close.

You will get to see amazing animals like whales, dolphins, whale sharks, manta rays, sea lions, and many more. The names of the animals mentioned are quite well known for being gentle with humans. Dolphins are the most playful animals, and they love to have fun with humans. Even though whale sharks are the third-biggest creatures in the world, they never show any kind of aggressive behaviour towards divers. Manta rays are no threat to humans either, as they are very calm and delicate animals and are not predatory in nature. However, be extra cautious while you are in the water, as there are some other animals that can be dangerous.

2. Rainforest

Rainforest

The ocean is great for seeing marine animals, but you can’t see land animals underwater. To spot terrestrial animals, you need to visit the rainforest area. The northern tropical zone in Australia is home to a strange variety of animals that are perfectly suitable for them and can live comfortably in that environment. These animals include both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles, water buffalo, southern cassowary, one of the flightless birds, two types of kangaroos, and numerous different species of birds that include jabiru, incredible black-necked storks, and elegant brolga.

One of the world’s oldest rainforests is the Daintree Rainforest. It is such an amazing place, with the overwhelming beauty of nature everywhere you look. There are 666 different species of animals living there, along with 220 beautiful butterfly species and more than 2,800 types of plants. Many animals, plants, and insects in this rainforest are so rare that they are not found anywhere else in the world. This makes it a perfect place to visit. Another fun fact about this forest is that, because of its amazing beauty, this place was chosen to shoot for the movie Avatar.

3. Grasslands

Grasslands

Grassland is a large area that is completely covered by large grass that continues to grow in locations where trees cannot thrive. This makes grasslands an ideal home for small mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles. You, along with your friends and family, can take a safari tour of the grasslands to see amazing wild animals like lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, caracals, falcons, vultures, warthogs, ostriches, gazelles, servals, hippo, impalas, southern flying foxes, leopards, gemsbok, bat-eared foxes, common waxbill, greater kudu, saddle-billed stork, giant anteater, agamas, rhinoceros, hyenas, aardvark, mercats, black mamba, and oxpeckers.

However, always remember that these animals are wild carnivorous animals that can attack humans, so be careful not to step out of your Landcruisers. Visiting the grassland can be a great idea as it provides you with the opportunity to see how the wild animals live in their natural habitat, and if you get lucky, you might get to see some action on how they fight to protect their territory and how they hunt to survive. This experience can surely be enlightening, and you will learn more about these amazing creatures by watching them live.

Best time of the year to see Australian animals

After learning so much about Australian animals, you must be curious and want to go on a trip to explore Australian wildlife. Before you step out of your journey, you need to know what time of the year is best to see the animals. There is no benefit to taking a trip if you don’t get to explore the wildlife in Australia. The chances to see wild animals depend on the season you wish to visit.

If you have the desire to dive in the water and swim with the dolphins and whale sharks, then you should visit in the season of autumn (March to May). If you are an ornithophile and love to watch birds, then visiting Australia in the winter (June to August) is best for you. In the spring season (September to November), you will get the chance to see baby koalas stepping out of their mother’s pouch. Summer (December to February) is the best season if you wish to witness the little turtle hatchlings heading towards the sea. Every season has something special to offer in Australia.

Australian animals are seriously at risk of extinction

Many of the animals that are unique and can only be found in Australia are at serious risk of extinction. There are multiple reasons for their deaths and the decrease in their population. The change in climate conditions is a reason that some animals are not able to survive, and the loss of their habitat is another reason. Let us not forget the natural disasters that occur from time to time, especially the famous and extreme wildfire in Australia that started in December 2019 and continued to burn down the forest until January 2020.

Some of the most vulnerable and endangered species are Far Eastern curlew, Eastern quoll, Black-flanked rock-wallaby, Woylie, parrot, Honeyeaters, Gouldian finch, Bettong, Purple-crowned fairywren, Koala, Greater Gliders, Wombats, Possums, Frog, Tasmanian devil, Silver-headed antechinus, Thylacine, Southern right whale, Dugong, Macropods, Bilbies, Lizards, Northern quoll, Greater bilby, Great desert skink, Norfolk parakeet, Black-footed tree-rat, large-tooth sawfish, Potoroo, Long-footed potoroo, Dunnart, Dunnart, Anstisia alba, Flying foxes, and Red handfish. Many incredible organisations are doing everything they can to protect these animals from extinction.

Conclusion

Australia is a massive country that is home to a variety of wildlife. You get to see so many different types of animals, from the national animal kangaroo to one of the most unique animals, Platypus. We provided you with detailed information about the animals and locations for your proper exploration of these amazing creatures. Australia’s wildlife displays the variety and strength of nature. However, there are plenty of species that are now endangered, but multiple organisations are doing their best to protect them, and they continue to study these remarkable animals to share more information and knowledge with the world. It is really important for us humans to do everything in our power so that we can protect them for the survival of their future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Australia is well-known for its wildlife, as more than 78 percent of animal categories like mammals, reptiles, and amphibians are only found in Australia. There are also some plants that are unique to this continent. Animals like kangaroos, frogs, dingoes, wombats, wallabies, koalas, echidnas, and platypus are common in Australia.
Some interesting facts about Australian wildlife are that it has 86 percent of various mammal species, 95 percent of different types of frogs, 93 percent of diverse reptile species, and over 40 percent of distinct types of avian species. Each one of them can only be found in Australia and nowhere else in the world.
Even though Australia has massive wildlife, There are a few factors that are threatening wildlife, such as the rapid change in climate conditions, the mass removal of unwanted plants for a particular area, wild animals and weeds, catching too many fish, also called overfishing, mining in inappropriate areas, illegal trafficking of wildlife, and several natural disasters like floods, droughts, and forest fires, especially in the year 2020, that burned about 24 million hectares (243,000 square kilometres).
Platypus is one of the most unique and unlikely animals in the world, particularly in Australia. These animals are members of Cloaca. The most amazing thing about this animal is that it is one of the two mammals that lay eggs. Its appearance resembles that of about three animals. The structure of its body is like a mole with the tail of a beaver and a beak that looks similar to a duck. The size of a platypus is about two to three feet long and weighs about one to two kilos.
Australia is a gigantic country as well as a continent that has probably two hundred thousand (200,000) to three hundred thousand (300,000) species. Only about a hundred thousand categories have been studied to this point in time. There are about 250 species of native mammals, 580 species of aquatic and land birds, 660 species of reptiles, 200 species of frogs, and over 2,000 species of marine life.
The Daintree Rainforest is located in the north of Queensland. It is one of the most biologically diverse areas in Australia and is home to an overwhelming collection of wildlife. Because of this, this forest is a very popular place to visit for lovers of nature and people who love to see wildlife, especially wildlife photographers.
Australian wildlife is extremely important, as there are many types of animals and plants that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This makes the protection of wildlife absolutely necessary. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy, or AWC, plays a crucial role in providing protection to the wildlife of Australia. It provides security for some of the most iconic wildlife that is at risk of extension. This includes 75 percent of mammal species, 89 percent of bird species, 55 percent of reptile species, and 58 percent of amphibian species.

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