Exotic Animals Of Australia – The Land Down Under

People visit Australia for different reasons – the country has lively cities, spectacular scenery and a fascinating Aborigine culture. And many people go there to experience the country’s unique wildlife, animals that cannot be seen anywhere else, such as the koala bear, kangaroo, dingo and wallaby.

Australia’s diverse conditions and landscapes have contributed to the evolution of creatures with rare or unique characteristics. Millions of years of isolation from other land-masses have also given rise to flora and fauna that is unique to the country. Australia boasts an amazing 450 species of mammals, 2,000 species of fish and even an estimated 2,000 species of fly.

The kangaroo is perhaps the most instantly recognizable of Australia’s animals – well known to anyone who has flown the country’s airline QANTAS, as the airline’s striking logo. Surprisingly, there are actually over 60 species of kangaroo and most of them are found only in Australia – they can be seen all over the country, from tropical rain forests to hot deserts. The kangaroo is the largest marsupial in the world – it is not unusual for them to reach seven feet high.

Australia’s cuddly koala bear is almost as well known as the kangaroo, although it isn’t actually a bear – it’s a distant relation of the wombat. Koalas are definitely cuddly – in fact, they are probably one of the most docile animals in the world. If you come across a koala bear, chances are that it’s asleep – koalas spend around 80% of their lives asleep and the rest of their time eating.

If you have ever heard the cry of the Kookaburra, you will understand why the bird is also known as the laughing jackass. The bird actually belongs to the kingfisher family although it eats insects and small reptiles, rather than fish; the reason for its strange laugh? Some people claim the bird is laughing with man, others say it is the bird’s way of warning of bad weather.

The dingo is a wild dog, which was probably introduced to the continent from South East Asia. Despite their somewhat ferocious reputation, Dingoes are no more dangerous than any other domestic breed of dog. Dingoes cannot bark although they make up for it by yelping and howling. Unfortunately, the dingo is dying out due to man encroaching on the wilderness and the practice of interbreeding.

Wallabies are often mistaken for kangaroos – just like kangaroos they can hop and jump. They range in size from just a few inches to almost six feet long. They can be found all over the country in every kind of habitat – desert, forest and swamp. Wallabies can go a long time without drinking – in fact they can actually dig their own wells to locate water.

And perhaps the oddest of Australia’s wondrous creatures is the Emu – the bird that can run fast but cannot fly. Emus are enormous, often standing up to six feet above the ground; they are also a very old species, having been around for about 80 million years. The Emu has always been important to the Aborigines as it provides them with the
two things most important for them to survive, food and clothing.

Many of these exotic creatures can easily be seen in the wild, although there are also plenty of places throughout Australia where your chances of seeing them are greater. Australia has many natural parks and wildlife sanctuaries, many of which are designated as World Heritage sites. Several companies specialize in tours to the Outback or other parts of the country, offering the chance to observe animals and birds in the company of an experienced guide.

You can cuddle a koala at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary near Brisbane, spot wild kangaroos at Jervis Bay near Sydney and stroll through the country’s biggest butterfly sanctuary at Kuranda, near Cairns. The huge Kakadu National Park covers around 6,000 square miles in the north of the country near to Darwin and offers the chance to see over 75 species of reptile and around 200 species of bird.

And if you are spending your Aussie vacation time in Sydney, plan an escape to the nearby Wonderland Sydney theme park, a short distance from the city. In addition to the usual theme park rides, you can also enjoy a close encounter with many animals, including koalas, kangaroos and crocodiles – in fact there are over 50 species of native animal all in their natural surroundings.

A trip to the Land Down Under is an unforgettable experience. It is a chance to see some of the world’s most unique animals at home in some of the world’s most stunning scenery.

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