Australia is a land of kangaroos and tender koalas but there is more than that. It’s a huge island where to discover the most incredible and strange species on the planet.
The endemic Australian fauna is among the richest and most varied in the world and it has always been one of the main attractions of this land. In fact, this continent is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and lizards, besides two species of unique marine crocodiles and fifty kinds of marine mammals. Most of these animals are unique in the world and cannot be found anywhere else.
If you're lucky – or if you live here long enough - you might spot many of them in their natural habitat. But if fate does not assist you or you are here for a short stay do not worry: you can visit the numerous natural parks in the country, which cover extremely vast geographical areas in order to protect the local flora and fauna. Here you will have the chance to come across lots of creatures, some pretty and cuddly, others definitely scary.
From the typical Australian marsupial animals such as…
The Koala bear: together with the kangaroo, the koala is the Australian marsupial mammal par excellence. But unlike the latter, it can climb trees! He loves to doze on large eucalyptus plants, devouring buds and leaflets (about half a kilo a day). If it comes down, it's just to move to another tree!
The Wombat: it is a nice marsupial that looks like a guinea pig with a sweet nose but it weighs about thirty kilograms and can reach a speed of forty kilometers per hour! But be careful: you will only be able to see it at night, because during the day it shelters in its den.
The Quokka: thanks to its smiling-looking face, the quokka was elected the happiest animal on earth! This small marsupial is very sociable with men, but, being a rare species, there are high fines if the animal is mistreated. In nature, in fact, the quokka lives in a restricted area in the south-west of Western Australia.
The Kangaroo: legend has it that the name kangaroo comes from an exploration in Australia of Lieutenant Cook and naturalist Sir Banks. Running into this animal, they asked its name to a local inhabitant, who replied [kangaroo], the equivalent of [I didn't understand] and so it got its name in the English language apparently. A uniquely Australian animal, the kangaroo has become the symbol of the nation and is depicted on the Australian Coat of Arms.
The Tasmanian Devil: do you remember the fierce and fast Taz of the Looney Tunes? The famous Tasmanian Devil is actually a rather shy animal, a marsupial carnivore that lives only on the island of Tasmania but don't make him angry: he has forty-two very sharp teeth, he can reach twelve kilos and be up to seventy centimeters long! The peculiarity of its name derives from the verses that the animal emits, especially at night, which seems to have reminded the first explorers of diabolical screams. Unfortunately, it is currently in danger of extinction due to a terrible facial tumor that has drastically reduced the presence of this animal on the island.
…to the deadliest animals on Earth!
The Tiger snake: this snake, named for the colored transversal bands that characterize it, is among the most poisonous and dangerous in the world. You can see it moving among the fronds in the southern regions of Australia. Usually it is one meter long, but a male specimen can even reach a meter and a half! Although the antidote to its venom is readily available, the mortality is very high and Aussies are scared to run into one of them in their backyards.
The Marine crocodile: among the largest reptiles on the planet, this crocodile can grow up to five meters in length! It is a predator of large animals (such as water buffaloes), but it can also attack humans, camouflaging both in the water and on land. The mode of attack of the marine crocodile is known as tour of death and consists in grabbing the prey and making it turn quickly. It lives in salt water, which is why Australian beaches are always equipped for all types of aggression and have warning signs in the areas where it is present.
The Box Jellyfish: it is one of the most dangerous and lethal animals for humans in the world. This species is widespread in the tropical seas of Queensland, along the Australian Great Barrier Reef. In some areas there are special nets to protect the water from this animal, but it is always better to be careful and ask before diving in. With its tentacles even three meters long, the Box Jellyfish has an extremely powerful poison, capable of killing a man in less than three minutes.
And some more strange animals:
The Dugong: brother of the manatee and cousin of the elephant, for centuries this spectacular animal has inspired the ancient marine tales about mermaids. This huge herbivorous mammal spends its days grazing aquatic herbs. Several legends have sprung up around his figure: according to some he is the bearer of good luck and his tears are considered the main ingredient of love potions.
The Emu: it is the second largest bird in the world after the ostrich and this typical Australian animal can reach almost two meters high, weigh fifty kilos and run up to fifty kilometers per hour!
The Echidna: widespread in Australia, the echidna, or spiny anteater, can measure up to fifty centimeters in length. Its body is covered with spines that he uses to defend himself when he feels threatened. It is one of the two mammals, together with the platypus, which lays eggs.
KOALA and PLATYPUS
KANGAROO and TASMANIAN DEVIL