Australian animals are among the most interesting and unique in the world!
Easter bilbies are an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional chocolate rabbit. But the real bilbies are much harder to find – living secretive lives in isolated deserts across Australia, waiting for the right conditions to start a family.
The Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the largest carnivorous (meat eating) marsupial in the world. A small animal with a stocky and muscular build, they reach an average 30 inches in length, and can weigh up to 12 kilograms.
Sometimes called the spiny anteater, the short-beaked echidna (pronounced e-kid-nuh) measures 30-45 cm (13.5-17.5 in.) long and weighs 2-5 kg (6.5-14.5 lb.). Although it resembles a porcupine or hedgehog, closer inspection of the echidna reveals some of the animal’s more unusual traits.
The Emu is the second largest bird on the planet (after ostrich) and the largest bird in Australia, where it lives. It prefers life in woodlands, scrublands, grasslands and forests. Emu is a flightless bird whose ancestors lived at the same time as dinosaurs.
Kangaroos are not just found on mainland Australia, they are found natively in Australia, Tasmania, New Guinea and on surrounding islands.Kangaroos are the largest living marsupials in the world and the red kangaroo is the largest of all and can grow up to 2 metres tall.
Although you may have heard people call them koala ‘bears’, these awesome animals aren’t bears at all – they are in fact marsupials. A group of mammals, most marsupials have pouches where their newborns develop.
Koalas are found in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia. They have grey fur with a cream-coloured chest, and strong, clawed feet, perfect for living in the branches of trees! These cuddly little critters measure about 60cm to 85cm long, and weigh about 14kg.
The spotted-tailed quoll, or tiger quoll, is mainland Australia’s largest carnivorous marsupial. It is about the size of a domestic cat, but has shorter legs and a more pointed face than a cat. Its fur is rich red to dark brown, and covered with white spots on the back which continue down the tail. The spotted tail distinguishes it from all other Australian mammals, including other quoll species. However, the spots may be indistinct on young animals.
The average weight of an adult male is about 3.5 kgs and an adult female about 2 kgs.
The Red-necked wallaby is reddish brown with grey tips on the fur, pronounced reddish-brown neck, paler grey chest. It has a black muzzle, white stripe on the upper lip, paws and largest toe are black ( looks a bit like they have socks on).
This wallaby is fairly common in Queensland , northeastern New South Wales and Tasmania. It lives in eucalypt forests, where you would find open areas nearby, and in tall coastal heath areas. It is a grazing animal, eating mainly grasses and herbs.
The Red-necked Wallaby is mainly solitary, but will be seen grazing together at night, if disturbed they will scatter in all directions.They shelter in dense patches of forest during the day, coming out early evening just before dusk to graze.
The platypus, *Ornithorhynchus anatinus*, belongs to the smallest mammal order in the world, the monotremes, or egg-laying mammals. The only other member of this exclusive club is another Australian, the echidna.
Found only in eastern Australia, the platypus makes burrows in the steep banks of creeks and rivers and hunts for small prey such as shellfish, fish, tadpoles and insect larvae in deep pools.
The wombat is the largest burrowing mammal. Indeed, it is such an accomplished burrower that early settlers called it a ‘badger’. However, its closest relative is in fact the koala. With its short tail and legs, characteristic waddle and ‘cuddly’ appearance the wombat is one of the most endearing of Australia’s native animals.
The common wombat was once found throughout southeastern Australia but now, partly as a result of European settlement, is restricted further to the south. It occupies Tasmania, eastern New South Wales and eastern Victoria with scattered populations in southeastern South Australia and southwestern Victoria.