Australia has some of the most unique Mammals anywhere in the world. Animals such as the Kangaroo, Koala and Platypus are only found in the beautiful country of Australia.
Since Australia is separated from other countries in the world there are unique animals that cannot be found anywhere else! This is true of many of Australia’s mammals, birds, reptiles and insects.
In this post, we will look at just 12 of the special mammals that live in the continent of Australia.
Many people all around the world, both kids and adults, have heard of Australia’s national icon, the kangaroo. Most people also know that the female kangaroo has a pouch to keep her baby in.
The baby kangaroo is called a Joey and, once it is big enough, can be seen poking its little nose out of the pouch so that it can see what is happening around it.
When the joey gets too big to stay in the pouch it still likes to put its head inside its mum’s pouch so it can have a drink of milk.
Australia has different species and type of kangaroos, with two main species, the Grey Kangaroo and the Red Kangaroo. These live in different parts of the country.
The grey kangaroos live around the coastal regions and in the Aussie bush around the coast.
The red kangaroos are bigger in size than the greys and live in the hotter parts of outback Australia.
Kangaroos usually travel at speeds of around 20 km/h (13 mph), but if they get scared then they can hop really fast, even up to speeds of 70 km/h (44 mph)!
Plants and grasses are the main things that kangaroos eat, but they also sometimes eat different fungi that they find around the place.
They often sleep during the day and come out to feed in the night. This is the time that drivers need to watch out for kangaroos hopping across the road! Often they can also be seen feeding in the early morning or around sunset.
There are so many interesting things to say about the kangaroo that it really needs a book of its own. So we will end by saying that kangaroos are true blue Aussies that live around much of the country.
When you visit Australia be sure to go to a wildlife park where you can get up close to the kangaroos. You may even be able to pat them and feed them.
Be sure to watch out for our future book that will be entirely on Aussie kangaroos!
Probably the second most well-known Aussie marsupial is the adorable and cuddly koala, and it is one of the most cute animals of the world.
Koalas also have a pouch, like the kangaroos. The baby koala is also called a joey.
When the joey is first born it is tiny and only weighs around 0.5 g (0.02 oz). That really is not very big! The joey then needs to crawl all the way up into the mum’s pouch. It then finds a teat to latch onto to so it receives the milk it needs to grow.
When the joey is about seven months old it comes out of the pouch to look around. It always stays close to the mum and loves to ride on her back for protection.
Koalas like to eat gum leaves from a variety of different eucalyptus trees.
Some of the main threats to koalas are motor vehicles and dog attacks. Approximately 4000 koalas die every year from these two sources.
The Possum is the name given to around seventy different Marsupials found throughout the world, the majority of which live in Australia. They love to live in trees and are great climbers. They also jump easily from one tree to another!
The only real thing that these possums have in common is their long thick tails and their social nature. Apart from that, they can vary greatly in size with some reaching a maximum weight of around only 10 grams such as the Pygmy possum, with others reaching up to 7 kg.
One of the most common possums in much of Australia is the brush-tailed possum. As you may guess these Aussies have big, fluffy tails!
The majority of possums are herbivores, but there are also a number of omnivores in addition to this. The Herbivores eat plants and fruit, while the Omnivores eat things like frogs, insects, small snakes and very small mammals as well as fruit and plants.
You can find them in most locations around Australia, with a greater amount being found in areas, which have vast amounts of vegetation. Over the past few years, many possums have worked their ways into towns and cities to feed, most of them have adapted quite well to this new environment.
04. Tasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian Devil is a marsupial found only in Tasmania, which is the southern most State in Australia. Tasmania is separated from the main continent of Australia and is like a big island.
Also called by Aussies, the Tassie devil, it is the largest marsupial in the world that is a carnivore.
This particular animal feasts upon whatever it can get its hand upon, from insects up to small wallabies. When it does catch its prey, the Tassie devil refuses to let go until it is all eaten up! Often it finds dead animals and eats them rather than killing something that is alive.
Their fur is black with a white stripe on the chest and on its bottom. They can grow up to be the size of a small dog. The Tasmanian devil is well known for the repulsive odor that it gives off, and the terrifying screech that it lets out often in the urban areas of Tasmania.
The Tasmanian devil is a solitary creature, although it does share a communal area with other members of its family.
Up to four baby devils can grow in the mum’s pouch and they are called imps or joeys. These imps leave the pouch at around four months old.
The Wombat is a medium sized marsupial found in Australia. They like to eat grasses, roots and leaves.
There are three species of wombats, all are only found in Australia.
The Common Wombat is found along the east coast from southern Queensland down to Tasmania. The Southern-Hairy Nosed Wombat is found along the south coast.
The Northern-Hairy Nosed Wombat is only found in a very tiny spot in Queensland. In fact, it is critically endangered with only around 200 left in the wild.
One of the unique things about this particular marsupial is that its pouch is facing backwards.
This is incredibly important as the Wombat is a keen digger, and having a backwards pouch ensures that dirt does not get into the pouch. This protects the baby wombats in the pouch.
Wombats look cute, but if they feel threatened then they can get angry and attack. They have large claws and huge teeth, which help them protect themselves.
Wombats can even run up to 40 km/h (25 mph) so predators need to watch out! If you ever encounter a Wombat that has gone crazy, it is suggested you climb up a tree until they are calm again!
The Quokka is a small macropod (meaning “big feet”) native to Australia. This means that it shares similar features to other members of the macropod family such as the kangaroo. But the quokka is a great deal smaller than kangaroos and wallabies.
If you look closely at the picture, then you might even be able to see a little tiny joey peeking out of its mother’s pouch!
This nocturnal animal can be found on the majority of the small islands, which lay just off the coast of Western Australia, although they are most prominent on Rottnest Island, which is just off the coast of Perth.
The Quokka is incredibly friendly towards humans, however laws in Australia prevent humans from coming in direct contact with the animal.
They can grow up to a maximum of 90 cm (35 inches) in length, but are often only the size of a family cat. Quokkas are vulnerable, as they only exist in limited areas.
The Potoroo is a critically endangered marsupial, which lives in Australia. The reason for their slow decline is due to large amounts of habitat destruction around where they live.
There are three different types of Potoroo living within Australia. The first two are the “long-nosed Potoroo” and the “long-footed Potoroo”.
The third species is Gilbert’s Potoroo. They were almost totally extinct, but are now beginning to increase in numbers slowly. There are less than 100 of this mammal left in Australia. All of them located in the south-east of the country.
The Potoroo is a nocturnal animal, which hunts alone. It is very unlikely that you will see one of them in the wild due to its low numbers.
Potoroos feast upon the plants and small insects that live around them. Sometimes they are also called a rat kangaroo.
08. Sugar Glider
The Sugar Glider lives in the eastern and northern parts of Australia. Its name comes from the fact that this small possum (which is a marsupial) glides through the trees of Australia. And also because of its love for sugary treats, such as native fruits and nectar!
The Sugar Glider is a nocturnal animal, which is the reason behind its incredibly large eyes at the front of its body. These big eyes allow this small Aussie to see very well at night.
Generally speaking, the Sugar Glider is a highly sociable animal, so if you see one of them, there is likely to be many more about. Due to their small size though they are not always easy to see in the wild. They are quite small and can fit in the palm of an adult’s hand.
Their main diet is insects, although during the colder months when insects are scarce, they have been known to feast upon tree sap.
The Bilby is a highly endangered desert marsupial, which resides in various locations around Australia. Sometimes for Easter in Australia you can find chocolate Bilbies in the shops as well as chocolate bunnies.
The Bilby is characterized by its very long nose, and huge ears. They are very similar in appearance to Bandicoots.
Bilbies can grow up to a maximum length of 55 cm, but are usually around 40 cm (16 inches). The female is usually smaller than the male.
Drivers are also warned to keep an eye out for bilbies on the road.
It is a nocturnal animal, which eats a whole host of different foods from spiders and termites to fruit, seeds and fungi.
They are unique in the fact that they don’t actually need to drink water, all of the water they need comes from their food. This makes them perfect as a desert animal.
The Quoll is a marsupial, which lives in mainland Australia. There are now four different species residing in Australia (there used to be six, but two are now extinct!)
Like many of Australia’s other marsupials, it is a nocturnal animal, which very rarely comes out of its hiding place during the day. At night, it feasts upon a variety of small animals around where it lives. Lizards, snakes, birds, insects, frogs and fruit are all part of the quoll’s diet.
Generally speaking, the Quoll is a solitary animal and likes to live alone. However, when mating season rolls around in the winter, they become a great deal more sociable. It is not uncommon to see huge groups of them around this time.
The quoll can grow up to 30 cm (12 inches) in length, although the size varies greatly depending on what species you are dealing with.
11. Short-beaked Echidna
One of the two monotremes that live in Australia is the Short-beaked Echidna. There is also another species called the long-beaked echidna that lives in New Guinea, which is a country just north of Australia.
The word Echidna is not pronounced as it looks. When you speak this word outloud you say “Ee-Kid- Nah”
The Echidna is a solitary animal characterized by the hair and spines that are all over its body. They closely resemble a hedgehog, but they are not related at all.
For most of the time they live alone and only come together to mate over a couple of weeks each year. The female then lays one egg, which goes directly into her small pouch.
About ten days after the egg is laid the tiny echidna, about the size of a grape, hatches out and stays in the pouch. Baby echidnas are called puggles.
The Echidna feeds upon small insects, much in the same way in which an anteater does. This means it will suck all of its prey up from inside anthills or broken logs using its very long and powerful nose. Echidnas have no teeth, which means they can only eat small creatures such as ants and termites.
The Platypus is also a Monotreme, which means that it is an egg-laying animal. It can be found in streams and creeks in the eastern part of Australia. It is also called the duck-billed platypus.
The Platy pus is a semi-aquatic animal and is well known for its unusual appearance. It seems to be almost a cross between a duck, a beaver and an otter.
There is no doubt that this Australian mammal is unique with nothing like it anywhere else in the world.
This Aussie mammal does not have a pouch. Rather it lays its eggs into a burrow that the parents have already dug out.
When the baby platypuses hatch they feed off the milk from their mother. Unlike other mammals the mother platypus does not have teats. Rather the milk comes through glands in the skin on the platypus’ tummy and the babies drink these droplets. The babies stay in the burrow for up to four months with only short trips outside.
An interesting fact about the Platypus is that they are one of only a few mammals, which are venomous. The male platy pus has a small spur on its foot that can cause intense pain to anything or anyone that comes into contact with it!
The Platypus detects its prey by using small electronic waves, which come from its beak. It spends about half of every day searching for enough food to eat. Tadpoles, shrimp, water beetles, insect larvae and worms all form part of its diet.
In this post, we have looked briefly at 12 Australian mammals. With more than 350 mammals native to Australia we have just touched the surface of the beautiful creatures that live in this vast land.
When you do travel to Australia then you will be able to get up nice and close to our kangaroos, koalas and other marsupials and monotremes in our many zoos and wildlife parks around the nation.