15 Amazing Exotic Animals Native To Australia

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Animals native to Australia
Photo by Tobias Begemann, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

Animals native to Australia are mystifyingly peculiar and have unique characteristics. The Marsupials are the most famous of the native animals. One can find a diverse range of native Australian animals, from flightless birds to egg-laying mammals to large aquatic birds to the most venomous marine animal.

Ever wondered what would have happened if evolution didn’t happen the way it is now!! Imagine a horse-sized mouse or, the other way around, a mouse-sized horse!!. How about a tailless webbed foot cat?!!

What if a million years ago, continental drift severed each continent into individual islands. Based on the location and environmental factors, Flora and fauna in each island would have unfolded diverse over time. That’s precisely how evolution happened in Australia!!

The development of native Australian animals has not been tampered with over time, as the Australian continent is like a giant island. The entire continent was isolated throughout until maybe with the commencement of trade.

Early European settlers brought in many animals for hunting and domestication; the previously isolated Australian geographic now has many introduced invasive animals like feral cats and cane toads that threaten Australian wildlife.

1. Kangaroo—Most Widespread of the Animals Native to Australia

Animals native to Australia, Kangaroo
Photo by Laurie Boyle, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Mammal, Marsupial
  • Food Habit: Herbivore; Grasses, leaves, flowers, herbs
  • Sound or Noise: Chuckle, Chortle
  • Lifespan: 20 to 25 years in captivity, 6 to 10 years in the wild
  • Habitat: Each Kangaroo species has its habitat in Australia.

Kangaroos are generally Large Macropodids and one of the unique native animals in the Australian continent. There are 65 species of Macropodids; however, only five to six species can be considered as large. The smaller kinds of kangaroos are extremely rare.

They move by hopping; the muscular hind legs and strong tails help balance while they bounce. They can cover more than 9m in a single bound. The mating season of Kangaroos is a sight!! The largest male fights for dominance and females by boxing, biting, and kicking with their powerful hind legs.

Red Kangaroo, Eastern grey kangaroo, Western grey Kangaroo, and Antilopine Kangaroo are the larger known species. There are subspecies as well. Kangaroos are found in abundance; each region in Australia has an evolved version of Kangaroo.

Wallabies are medium-sized kangaroos from the family Macropodid.

2. Tasmanian Devil—Almost Extinct of the Animals Native to Australia

Animals native to Australia, Tasmanian Devil
Photo by EOL Learning and Education Group, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Marsupial
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Screams, grunts, snarls
  • Lifespan: Up to five years
  • Habitat: the Island state of Tasmania, forest and coastal scrublands

The Tasmanian Devil is the largest carnivorous marsupial and is nocturnal. These species are extremely endangered and on the verge of extinction. They have thick black or brown fur, with a white stripe across. They were named Devil by early European settlers because of their snarling and display of rage when threatened.

The powerful bite of the Tasmanian devils can easily crush bones. When Tasmanian Devils are stressed, they exude a horrible odor. A weird fact about the Tasmanian Devil is that they sleep in the bodies of their prey, allowing them to continue eating their nap. Tasmanian devils, like all Marsupials, store fat in their tails, so one can tell the animal’s health by the looks of their tail.

Tasmanian Devil was abundant in mainland Australia, but with the introduction of Dingo, their numbers declined. In addition, a deadly cancerous face tumor began to kill them; the tumor did not allow them to eat, and hence most died of starvation.

3. Koala—Cutest of the Animals Native to Australia

  • Type : Mammal, Marsupial
  • Food Habit: Herbivore
  • Sound or Noise: Grunting, high pitch squeaking, especially when threatened
  • Lifespan: 13 to 18 years
  • Habitat: Southeastern and Eastern Australia, mainly in the Eucalyptus forest

Koalas look like teddy bears, with brown-grey fur, furry ears, a round head, and a black nose. A Koala is tailless; they have flat cartilage and are furry at the bottom, which allows them to sit comfortably on trees.

Their paws are well adapted for gripping and climbing trees, rough padded palm and soles, sharp claws; each paw has five digits, two of which are opposable. Koalas are territorial and mark their scents on trees and surroundings.

Their senses of hearing and smell are highly advanced. They are nocturnal and live on trees. They are incredibly picky about food, and they thrive on leaves and barks native to Australia. Eucalyptus leaves are a favorite food of Koala, Koalas; however, select eats only 30 varieties out of 600 species of Eucalyptus trees.

Their daily diet constitutes three or four species of Eucalyptus, and the rest are considered snacks. These leaves are highly toxic, and Koalas come equipped with a rather long toxin digesting organ called the caecum. It takes time to break down the toxins and digest, and thereby Koalas sleep more than 80% of the day.

Being a marsupial, koalas give birth to an undeveloped fetus (Koala infants are called a joey); a young Koala lives with its mother, feeding on her secretions, for around a year, until fully developed. A unique trait of koalas in their upside-down pouch for the joeys, unlike the upright pouch on Kangaroos and other Marsupials.

Koalas are now officially a critically endangered species, their decline due to deforestation, wildfires, and reproductory disease. Koalas are being protected in Australia’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

4. Wombats—Bashful of the Animals Native to Australia

Photo by Chris Fithall, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Marsupial
  • Food Habit: Herbivore
  • Sound or Noise: Squeal, grunt, hiss
  • Lifespan: 15 years in wild, 20 years in human captivity

Habitat—Hilly country woodlands along the Dividing Range in southeastern Australia, from southeastern Queensland through New South Wales and Victoria into South Australia, as well as in Tasmania.

Wombats are short, stubby, tailless nocturnal Marsupials with heavy bodies, small eyes, and short ears. They are burrowers, and farmers consider them a pest. Their teeth become worn out due to their rough fibrous diet, and they regrow over time.

Wombats are shy animals and usually burrow themselves from a threat. They are territorial and mark their scents on trees. There is flat cartilage at the bottom of a Wombat. Wombats poop hence come out cube-shaped, yet another uniqueness found in Australian animals.

A female wombat has a downward-facing pouch for the joeys.

5. Platypus—Most Unique of the Animals Native to Australia

Photo by Klaus, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Mammals
  • Food Habit: Carnivore
  • Sound or Noise: Soft growl
  • Lifespan: Upto 12 years
  • Habitat: Eastern Australia

Platypus is the strangest and most fascinating of the Australian mammals. They have a duck’s beak, a beaver’s tail, webbed feet, and otter-like fur. It looks like various parts of different animals have been stitched together.

They are born with teeth that eventually fall off. Platypuses don’t have stomachs; therefore, they can’t store food, leading them to munch all day. They store fat in their tails, just like the Tasmanian Devil. They are the only mammals having the capability of laying eggs.

Platypus usually hunts underwater and closes their eyes beneath; they rely on their leather-like bills equipped with electroreceptors. They have two nostrils on their bill, just like a crocodile, and can breathe by generally being underwater and skimming their bill on the surface. They close the nostrils when they dive. Their flat tails collect reeds and sticks for nesting and burrowing.

The male Platypus has poisonous veins that are extremely toxic; the primary purpose is to fight away other males during mating. However, no human deaths have been linked to Platypus. They live in small streams and rivers, feeding invertebrates, fish, frogs, insects.

While the other mammals have nipples, Platypus has none. A cub of Platypus consumes secretions from the female. Predators of these Australian animals are Snakes, water rats, eagles, etc.

6. Dingo—Hunters Among the Animals Native to Australia

Photo by Chris Fithall, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Mammal
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Howl
  • Lifespan: 10 to 18 years
  • Habitat: Everywhere in Australia, except Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia

Dingo is Australia’s wild dog. Dingoes, unlike native Australian animals, are an introduced species. They are highly adaptable to any environment, from deserts to rainforests. They have the appearance of domesticated dogs, but they are dangerous predators.

They have sandy yellow, brown fur, a white chest, and a distinguished fox-like milky white-tipped tail. They collaborate to hunt down stronger powerful animals like the Kangaroo. These wild dogs are family creatures and mate for life.

Typically, their pack consists of family members, blood-related. Being territorial animals, the dominant male patrols and mark their territory. Males leave the pack once they reach adulthood; females, on the other hand, stay to help their mother nurse the young cubs.

Predators that hunt dingo cubs are snakes, hawks, and Alligators. These wild dogs leave their den when they notice a predator lurking nearby. Dingos have gained acceptance as an Australian animal because of their significant help in hunting down and eradicating introduced invasive pests.

7. Cassowary—Most Primitive of the Animals Native to Australia

Cassowary
Photo by Arjan Haverkamp , on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Bird
  • Food Habit: Omnivore
  • Sound or Noise: Raspy growl, rumble
  • Lifespan: Up to 30 in the wild and up to 50 years in captivity
  • Habitat: Nort East Australia, tropical rainforests and wetlands

Another one of Australia’s iconic species is the cassowary, the heaviest bird in Australia. Because of their dagger-like talons, they are regarded as the most dangerous bird on the planet. When defending their young, they are highly territorial and violent.

These flightless birds from Australia have vestigial wings, and they have the appearance of a cross between an ostrich, a turkey, and a velociraptor. They feature feathery black hair, a magnificent blue head and neck, a horn-like casque on their head, and two wattles along their throat. The females are more dominating, lay eggs and then leave, while the male hatches the eggs.

Cassowary plays a crucial role in the regeneration of rain forests. They gulp down fruits as a whole, and only the flesh gets digested; the seeds are excreted all over the area. This guarantees that the seeds too heavy for wind or water get dispersed evenly. This bird can eat various fruits that are harmful to other Australian animals. Cassowary-digested seeds germinate significantly faster than regular seeds, maybe due to their manure.

8. Emu—Largest Bird of the Animals Native to Australia

Emu
Photo by Ed Dunens, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Flightless bird
  • Food Habit : Omnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Deep grunt, thumping
  • Lifespan: 10 to 30 years
  • Habitat: Australian Mainland

Emu looks like a colorless cassowary, brownish with a grey head and neck. They are flightless but extremely fast, jump very high, and are the second largest bird. Emu is now extinct in Tasmania but found in abundance on Mainland. Two of the four species have become extinct, both dwarf variants.

Emu eggs are distinct in appearance; they are emerald green in color with a bluish tinge; the eggs are formed in three or four thin layers, each layer of teal, creamy white, brown, or even grey.

Due to this, compared to other birds’ eggs, emu eggs are preferred by artists and crafters for egg art. The layers give an excellent contrast of color. The eggs are light sensitive and can change color to dark grey, and the inner layers are water sensitive, turning brown as soon as they come into contact with water.

Their talons are similar to that of the fossil remains of dinosaurs that existed million years ago.

Emu egg
Photo by Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

9. Crocodiles—Predators of the Animals Native to Australia  

  • Type: Reptile
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Roar, Growl, Bellow
  • Lifespan: 40 to 100 years
  • Habitat: Northern Australia, Western Australia, and Queensland

Crocodiles are formidable predators. They have tough but sensitive amour, webbed foot, and a third transparent eyelid that appears underwater. They are nocturnal, and like all reptiles, the females lay eggs. They sleep with one eye open, and one-half of the brain is active, keeping a watch out for predators and potential threats.

Australian wildlife has two species of crocodiles; one is the saltwater crocodile or estuarine crocodile, and the other is freshwater crocodiles. The freshwater crocodile lives in freshwater and marine islands; they grow up to 3 meters. They attack only when threatened.

Photo by Bernard DUPONT, on Flickr, Copyright 2022

The saltwater crocodile is highly aggressive and sometimes lives in salty coastal areas; they are also found in freshwater. They grow up to 6 meters and can gulp down a prey whole.

Crocodiles became nearly extinct, they used to be hunted for their skin, which has become a fashion statement, but they are now protected Australian animals.

10. Funnel-web Spider—Creative of the Animals Native to Australia

Funnel web spider,Animals native to Australia
Photo by Doug Beckers, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Invertebrates, Arthropod
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Stridulations
  • Lifespan: Upto 20 years
  • Habitat: East coast Australia, Tasmania

There are up to 40 species of a funnel-web spider, ranging from small to large and black to brown. Some of them are highly toxic with fast-acting venom. The Funnel-web spider gets its name from its funnel-shaped web; the web usually is T or Y shaped and opens to its burrow.

The funnel shape triggers a curiosity in their prey; the prey walks in themselves, and the spider grabs them at the entrance. The webs are equipped with tripwires, alerting the spider of prey in the vicinity. They have a glossy hard exterior and sharp curved fangs.

11. Frog—Environment Sustenance Indicators of the Animals Native to Australia

Green tree frog, Animals native to Australia
Photo by Stephen Michael Barnett, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Amphibian
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Croaks usually, Varies as per species
  • Lifespan: Varies as per species
  • Habitat: Varies as per species

Australia has more than 230 species of native frogs; it is believed that there are more to be discovered. Their size, color, lifespan, and habitat vary according to the species type.

In Australia, the cane toad is an introduced species that has become an invasive pest. Cane toads are a menace to native species because they are very toxic and adaptable to arid, saline, and even cold regions.

Green tree frog 

Lives up to 16 years, found in Northern and Eastern Australia; their skin secretions have antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Corroboree frog

Lives at least nine years, extremely rare in the wild, found in National parks in South Australia, Striking black and yellow stripes, poisonous frogs that live on the ground.

Motorbike frog

Found in South-West Australia, the mating call sounds like a motorbike changing gears, good climbers, nocturnal, ground-dwelling.

12. Australian Sea lion—Unmistakably Smart of the Animals Native to Australia

Australian sealion
Photo by Phil Kirkpatrick, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Marine Mammal
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: bark, growl, cluck
  • Lifespan: 12 to 16 years
  • Habitat: Western Australia, Southern Australia

Australian sea lions have a stout body with short, strong flippers; they are excellent climbers known to climb up to 3o meters. The males are usually brown or dark grey and the females silver grey and cream.

Australian sea lions have the longest weaning period, up to 18 months for a single pup. They forage for food from the sea bed, hunt alone, and are usually found on the southern coast of Australia. A highly social animal found in large colonies on the sandy beach. The males are considerably larger than the female sea lion. The sea lion is a gentle and inquisitive Australian animal.

They are declining in the wild due to overfishing and entanglement in the nets.

13. Australian Box Jellyfish

Australian Box jellyfish
Photo by gautsch., on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Invertebrates
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous, Crustaceans, fish, worms
  • Sound or Noise: Not particularly, a school will have movement sound
  • Lifespan: Up to 3 months in the wild, 7 to 8 months in a lab
  • Habitat: Northern Australia, Great barrier reef, Western Australia coast

The Australian box jellyfish is the world’s most venomous marine species. Its name comes from the shape of its body, which is fashioned like a box. The tentacles on this animal’s four corners are particularly poisonous and can stretch as long as 3 meters.

The sting from this Jellyfish is fatal and can cause cardiac arrest in two to four minutes. The only predator to Australian box jellyfish are the sea turtles; they devour the jellyfish head first and are equipped with unique features to protect them against this venomous marine animal.

Box jellyfish has 24 eyes; two are fully developed and can extract color information from their surroundings. They have a ring of sensory nerves below their body, which takes sensory input from the eyes and distributes signals to each part. This helps them in their agile movement, hunting, avoiding obstacles, and mating.

14. Snakes—Deadliest Reptiles of the Animals Native to Australia

Red-bellied black snake
Photo by Scott Eipper, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Reptiles
  • Food Habit: Carnivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Hiss
  • Lifespan: Varies as per species
  • Habitat: Distributed all over Australia

Australia is home to 150 species of land snakes and a little more than 30 species of sea snakes. Of these, 60 of them are considered the most venomous snakes. Sea snake has a paddle-like tail that enables swimming and a flattened lateral body, like an eel. They do not have gills, so they surface now and then for air.

Eastern brown snake

Found in eastern and central Australia, very fast and the second most venomous snake in the world.

Red-bellied black snake

Found in East Australian coastal areas and Venomous.

Tiger snake

Found in South Australia, highly venomous. Tiger snake is now declining due to human intervention in their natural habitat.

Black-headed python

Found mainly in Northern Australia, this Non-Venomous snake has a significant blackhead and a creamy brown body.

15. Grey-headed Flying-fox—Forest Nurturer of the Animals Native to Australia

Grey-headed flying-fox
Photo by Caroline Jones, on Flickr, Copyright 2022
  • Type: Mammal
  • Food Habit: Herbivorous
  • Sound or Noise: Squeals, squeaks
  • Lifespan: Around 15 years
  • Habitat: Southeast coast

Grey-headed flying foxes are large bats whose wings can spread out to 1 meter. They rest hanging upside down and disinfect by urinating on themselves. Females have a reddish-brown neck, whereas males have a yellowish neck. The Flying fox helps the ecosystem by dispersing seeds from one place to another and plays a major role as other Animals native to Australia. They help in cross-pollinating Eucalyptus and other native trees. There are seven different species of flying foxes.

Conclusion

Some features in animals native to Australia are especially unusual, such as the territorial call of a kookaburra that sounds like human laughter, marine and freshwater turtles with snake-like necks, stonefish, the venomous fish in Australian waters, or the rare Night parrot; Australia is home to numerous distinct species.

Of the famous animals, many are critically endangered, and some even extinct. With the introduction of the Environmental Protection of Biodiversity and Conservation Act red list, Some animals like the freshwater fish Murray cod, Corroboree Frog, Regent honeyeater, Bellinger River Turtle, and more are safe from the brink of extinction.

 

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