Australia is the smallest continent and the biggest island on earth. The continent is well isolated, and this can be said to be one of the reasons for its unique ecology. It also has diverse weather and climatic condition within the continent which varies from the semi-arid deserts to the rainforests, grasslands, and mountain ranges.
Kangaroo is a herbivorous ground marsupial and is the official sign of Australia. They can be found on the currency of Australia to the Qantas Airlines Jet. There are four species which are the red kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo, western grey kangaroo and antilopine kangaroo. The females carry the young one in its pouch. With the habitat in the arid desert, the animals have some adaptations to face the extremely hot climate which includes the intense blood vessel network on the forelimbs to keep them cool. The hind legs and the tail are immensely powerful allowing the animal to stand up on their hind legs.
The Australian anteater is known as Echidna or the Spiny Anteater. It’s shaped like a dome with spiny spikes. Like most other Australian animals, the Echidna is an egg laying mammal. It resembles the porcupine and has a long snout with a sticky tongue like the anteater using which it catches the ants. The spikes serve the purpose of self-defense as in porcupine, and the sharp claws help the animal to burrow deep into the soil for safety and for finding the prey.
The platypus is a native to Australia, and when the animal was first introduced to the Europeans in its pelt form, they refrained from believing that the creature existed. It is the only kind which is a mix of avian, reptilian and mammalian characteristics. It has the beak like a duck, feet of an otter, lays eggs and resembles the tail of the beaver. The fur is two layered allowing air insulation keeping the animal warm and even facilitates buoyancy in the water.
It is a rare kind of wild dog which is the largest carnivore in Australia and is found to be related to the grey wolf. There are controversies over the Dingo being a native Australian animal and it has been assumed to be bought it from China about 4000 years ago. The Aboriginals of Australia have domesticated this beast, but yet it retains its wild characteristics. They commonly have a red or yellow coat, those in the alpines have white fur and the ones in the forest have dark hair with markings.
Koala is a cute marsupial animal that is facing extinction. They were initially hunted for the skin leading to near extinction situation in late 1920’s. At that time, it was nearly eliminated from South Australia. Soon after, it was taken into notice, and these rare species were saved from execution through a public outcry. The numbers then increased considerably beyond 100,000. The government organizations and nature reserves are taking special care of these animals to release them into the wild and enhance their numbers.
Wallaby is a marsupial which resembles the kangaroo and seems like a smaller version. There are over thirty species of wallaby known. The animal is native to Australia and was immensely preyed by the carnivores due to its small size. This was recognized by the animal-friendly conservationists of Australia, who came into action to save these rare species. All the different species of this animals can be found in Australia alone, so if see a wallaby try to find the species as they range from the nail-tail wallaby to the pretty-face wallaby.
These are not bats but marsupial mammals that look like baby bears. They are nocturnal in habit staying active at night. Even though it looks very much like a bear, the animal is in no way related to a bear and probably more connected to the koalas. They are found only in Australia. The largest marsupial being the kangaroo, the wombat comes second. There are two species of wombats, the common wombat, and the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Even though they are related, they genetically differ by 8% at the gene level.
Bilbies are small omnivorous marsupials that are mostly found in the Australian Outback. Some of them grow to the size of a rabbit, but most of them are small like the rat. They have been placed on the vulnerable animal list due to the sudden fall in the population. They live in the desert areas and have the delightful adaptation of not needing water, and they obtain their water supply from the food they consume.
Wallaroo, as the name suggests, is a blend of characteristics of the Wallaby and the Kangaroo. It is almost difficult to identify between a kangaroo, wallaby, and Wallaroo. Wallaroos have their elbows close to their body and keep broad shoulders. Wallaroos live a solitary life and keep away from the desert region and have their home inside the cold caves.
The Tasmanian Devil has been enlisted as an endangered animal and is confined to the Tasmanian island. It is one of the unique carnivorous marsupials and is the largest of its kind. The name devil has been given to this small animal that is more like a dog, due to its guttural noise and screeching screams. It has an awful and aggressive behavior, smells foul and is dark in color with red ears resembling the devil in most ways. It had occupied the Australian mainland some 400 years ago according to fossil studies.
It is one of the rarest birds and resembles the prehistoric turkey and is classified as a dinosaur bird. It’s on the verge of extinction. It has that sharp look of the turkey, and the legs are rather sturdy with pointed claws which will strike in times of threat. It is one of the most dangerous birds in the world. The number of cassowary bird has been noted to be about 1200 and are found in the rainforests of northern Queensland.
The Kookaburra is also known as the Laughing Kookaburra and is a kind of Kingfisher which is a land carnivore, unlike the other Kingfishers which feed on fishes. The call of this bird seems like loud human laughter and therefore the name Laughing Kookaburra. The bird is adapted to live in the Australian climate with thick feathers.
Between 1912 and 1979, there were no sightings of the bird, and it was considered to have been extinct. After 1979 rare sightings had been noted but proper information was not available. It was later in 2012 that a live bird was captured. It is a nocturnal bird and has mysterious characteristics. It feeds on grasses and herbs.