Tick your favourite Australian critters off your bucket list.
Drop in on Australias cutest critters. Australia’s unique birds and animals are well-known around the world. Everyone knows we have Koalas and Kangaroos, but did you know we have other unique birds and animals too?
Australia is a big country with deserts, rainforests, reefs, swamps, bushlands and mountains providing unique habitats for many different animals.
Many of Australia’s animals are unique to Australia.
As an island Australia is isolated by sea which means that many Australian animals have evolved in isolation.
Drop in on Australias cutest critters
Bandicoots are marsupials that are unique to Australia and Papua New Guinea.
There are over 20 species of bandicoot. Most are rabbit-sized with long legs, thin tails and pointed noses.
Bandicoots are omnivores that forage for food in their bushland habitat.
Bilbys are small marsupials that are well adapted to living in a desert environment.
They have strong legs and claws for burrowing and finding food. Their long tongues help them to forage for seeds, insects and bulbs.
Fun Fact: The bilby is such cute little animal that Australians celebrate Easter with chocolate replicas of bilbys instead of rabbits.All the best Aussies celebrate Easter with chocolate Bilbys. Get your Easter Bilby now! Click To Tweet
Cassowaries are large, flightless birds found in New Guinea and parts of northern Australia.
Fast runners, cassowaries can also use their powerful legs and clawed feet as weapons.
There are three species of cassowary but only the Southern Cassowary is found in north eastern Australia.
There are two types of crocodile found in Australia: the Freshwater Crocodile, and the larger Saltwater Crocodile. Both are dangerous. Crocodiles are ambush predators: they lie in wait for their prey to draw near before attacking with explosive speed and power.
Saltwater crocodiles are not only the world’s largest reptiles … they’re also the world’s largest land predators!
The dingo is a wild dog that lives in the deserts, grasslands and forests of Australia.
Dingoes play an important role in indigenous culture featuring in stories and ceremonies. Aboriginal rock art show depictions of dingoes in early aboriginal stone carvings.
Dingos are the only large predator on the continent other than human beings and literally enjoy top-dog status among Australian animals.
Emus are soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds with long necks and legs, and can stand up to 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in height.
Emus can travel great distances, and when necessary can sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph).
They forage for a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go for weeks without eating. They drink infrequently, but take in copious amounts of water when the opportunity arises.
Like Cassowary’s, emus use their sharp claws and webbed feet to defend themselves against aggressors.
Echidnas are members of a unique group of animals called ‘Monotremes’ – mammals that lay eggs.
Also known as ‘spiny anteaters’, an echidna’s diet consists of ants and termites, but they are not related to the anteaters of the Americas.
Frilled Neck Lizards
Frill-necked lizards are found mostly in the northern tropics of Australia. They get their name due to having large ruffs around their necks, which are opened when the lizard feels threatened. The brightly-coloured ruff is designed to scare off predators. This frill can also help regulate the lizard’s body temperature.
Frilled neck lizards run on their two hind legs and look quite comical as they scurry off into the bush.
The frilled neck lizard belongs to the dragon family and can grow up to 1 metre in length.
There are over 30 million kangaroos in Australia.
Kangaroos, like many of Australia’s most famous animals, are marsupials. Marsupials are ‘pouched mammals’. Wallabies and Wallaroos are closely related to the kangaroo.
Their babies are known as joeys, and climb up into the mothers pouch to feed and grow. Kangaroos get around by jumping on their hind legs rather than walking.
With a big nose, fluffy ears, and a soft smooth furry grey coat, the koala is one of our most recognisable creatures.
These marsupials spend most of their lives sleeping and digesting eucalyptus leaves. These leaves contain little in the way of nutrients, and koalas spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping in order to conserve energy.
Koalas are sometimes incorrectly called ‘koala bears’, but they are not members of the bear family.
The loud distinctive call of the laughing kookaburra is one of our most recognisable birds.
Kookaburras are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating mice, snakes, insects, small reptiles, and the young of other birds; they have also been known to take goldfish from garden ponds.
Kookaburras are in the kingfisher family. They have long beaks and brown and white feathers, with flecks of bright blue in their wings.
The numbat is a small creature that looks like a cross between a rat and cat.
The numbat has a reddish-yellow coat with stripes across its back, and a fuzzy tail.
Numbats use their pointed muzzles to forage in the dirt for termites, which they scoop up with their long tongues.
Is the platypus the world’s weirdest creature?
With the bill of a duck, the tail of a beaver, and the feet of an otter, it really is a strange-looking animal.
The platypus is a mammal, but lays eggs rather than giving birth to its young. Platypuses have waterproof fur that allows them to spend most of their time in the water.
Many kinds of possum live in Australia. Mostly they are small-to-medium-sized nocturnal marsupials and usually live in or around trees.
The Western Pygmy possum is the smallest possum in the world, with a body length of only 6.5 centremetres.
The common Brush Tail possum is the biggest, often as large as a domestic cat.
The quokka is a herbivorous marsupial around the size of a cat,
Quokkas look like miniature kangaroos, and their curious nature and charming looks make them popular with people.
The quokka uses its two front paws to forage with, and eats leaves and berries.
Quolls are nocturnal and often found in trees. They are carnivorous marsupials that eat rabbits, lizards, and small birds.
Quolls have brown coats that are marked with white rings.
The Sugar Glider has flaps of skin between its arms and legs. These act as wings, and allow the sugar glider to jump from trees and glide through the air.
The sugar glider is an omnivore (i.e. it eats both meat and plants). Its diet includes insects, leaves and eucalyptus sap.
Note: As a child I had a pet sugar glider and would walk around the house with him on my shoulder. He flew off one night but left me with some lovely memories!
The Tasmanian devil is classified as ‘endangered’. Its survival is currently threatened by the spread of a disease that now affects as much as 80% of its population.
This carnivorous marsupial makes a distinctive screeching sound when feeding.
The Tasmanian Devil was once native to mainland Australia but is now found only on the island state of Tasmania.
The thorny devil is only found in Australia. It has grooves in its skin that channel moisture to its mouth, and a false head to confuse predators!
This fearsome-looking lizard is found in the dry inland regions of Australia. Despite its aggressive appearance, the thorny devil is not dangerous. It’s primary food source is ants.
With strong claws and rat-like teeth, wombats are well adapted for their burrowing lifestyle.
Their pouch faces backwards in order to protect the new-born young from getting dirt flicked in their eyes.
Wombats are nocturnal creatures and stay in their burrows when the sun is too hot. They are most likely to be seen on cooler and overcast days.Drop in and see Australias cutest critters! Click To Tweet
Drop in and see Australias cutest critters when you visit Down Under
This is just a small selection of the many different animals found in Australia. You can get up close and personal with many of them in our zoos and wildlife parks or, if you’re lucky, you might just spot them in their natural habitat.
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Have we missed showcasing your favourite Australian critters? Let us know if there’s one we’ve not featured … there’s so many!