Weird and Wonderful Aussie Animals

Australia is one of only 12 “megadiverse” countries that together account for 75% of the world’s total biodiversity. It is home to more than 1,000,000 plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on earth. Here are just a few:

  • A platypus has the bill and webbed feet of a duck, a fur-covered body, a flat, beaverlike tail, eyes on the top of its head, and venomous spurs on its hind legs. When the first one was sent to England for identification, scientists were sure it was a hoax.
  • Full-grown wombats can weigh up to a whopping 80 pounds! They are territorial animals, but will share their burrows with visitors.
  • Lyrebirds can mimic almost any sound — including other animals, whistles, car alarms and even chainsaws.
  • Kangaroos, wallabies, wallaroos, and pademelons are adapted to live in many environments: deserts, wet rainforests, rocky mountainous areas, and even trees!
  • Koalas could be the world’s fussiest eaters: they munch only on leaves of a few varieties of eucalyptus trees, and also eat a little dirt.
  • Opossum-like Sugar Gliders can cover distances of more than 300 feet in a single leap, gliding on a thin sheet of skin between their forepaws and ankles.
  • Dingos have only lived in Australia for around 3500 years. Scientists think they were brought to the continent by Asian sailors.
  • Echidnas have spines, eat termites, and are monotremes (egg-laying mammals). In the winter, they form “mating trains” where up to eight males will follow a female around for about a month.
  • Quokkas look like wallabies and are a little bit larger than a house cat. They have long, brown fur, small faces, fuzzy ears, and a hairless tails. Quokkas are able to reuse part of their own waste, if they can´t find any food or water.
  • Emus are the world’s second-largest bird, and can run xxx miles/hour.

Here are excellent places to enjoy Australian wildlife:

  • Healesville Sanctuary is one of Australia’s most recognised attractions, showcasing more than 200 species of Australian wildlife, only one hour away from Melbourne. Get closer to Australia’s wildlife, featuring unique experiences with kangaroos, koalas and amazing birds of prey.
  • Kangaroo Island is literally crawling with wildlife. The koalas aren’t being cuddled — they’re relaxing at home in native trees. The seals aren’t performing — they’re lazing beside you on the beach. There are echidnas, platypus, goannas, wallabies and kangaroos. All thriving. All mesmerising.
  • Wildlife Wonderland. Visit the Giant Earthworm Museum, Wombat World, koala heaven, kangaroo centre, emu land, and the Great White Shark exhibition (between Melbourne and Phillip Island).
  • Phillip Island Penguin Reserve is Australia’s most popular natural wildlife attraction. Every night of the year, just after sunset, the world’s smallest penguins emerge from the sea after a day’s fishing and waddle ashore to their sand dune burrows. Elevated boardwalks and viewing stands allow you to enjoy all the ‘penguin action’ without disturbing them or their burrow homes.

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