Endemic Species of Australia

Endemic Species of Australia

2018-11-28

Australia is home to some of the world’s most interesting animals. Its diversity of fauna is partly due to the country’s wide variety of habitats, including deserts, swamps, reefs, bushlands, rainforests, and mountains. Additionally, Australia’s geographical isolation from the rest of the world has resulted in many endemic species, that is, species that live in only one place.

An overview of Australian animals must focus heavily on marsupials. They are fascinating creatures, and about 70 percent of the world’s marsupial species live in Australia. The main, distinguishing characteristic of marsupials is that most species carry their young in a pouch. The better-known marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and wombats; we’ll get into some of those later in this article.

There are so many amazing Australian animals, it’s hard to select just a few. To narrow things down, this article favors cuteness! You won’t find a single snake or lizard, and even the birds are left out—it’s all about furry faces and fluffy ears!

Read on to discover six of the most adorable endemic animal species Australia has to offer.

Wombat

Wombats are stout little marsupials, measuring about 40 inches in length. They can adapt to a variety of habitats and are often found living in the mountains, forests, and fields of south-eastern Australia.

They may look cuddly, but wombats have strong claws and sharp teeth. They feed mostly at night, choosing to hang out in their burrows during the heat of the day.

Breaking wombat news is a rare thing, so it would be a shame to overlook a very recent discovery pertaining to wombat droppings. The strange truth is that wombats poop cubes! After researching this phenomenon, scientist have determined that wombats’ intestines are irregularly shaped, with two narrow grooves that help form the square pellets.

Koala

Koalas, which are sometimes called “koala bears,” are not members of the bear family. The koala is a tree-dwelling marsupial whose closest living relative is the wombat. They live in the coastal areas of eastern and southern Australia.

A koala has a chubby, tailless body, and its round ears and long nose seem a little too big for its head, resulting in a comical appearance.

Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves almost exclusively, and since the plant matter contains so few nutrients, they spend most of their time sleeping.

Bandicoot

There are about 20 species of bandicoot, a small marsupial found on the Australian mainland and surrounding islands. It looks a little bit like a rat, but the bandicoot is genetically closer to a rabbit.

Their size makes them easy prey for predators, so bandicoots live where there are a lot of hiding places, like forests and swamps.

Bandicoots are omnivores, and after hiding all day, they emerge from the brush at night to hunt for insects, small rodents, fruits, berries, and nuts.

Platypus

The platypus is a monotreme, a type of mammal that lays eggs instead of birthing live young, and it’s one of the strangest looking animal in Australia, or maybe the entire world.

A platypus has the bill of a duck, a beaver’s tail, and the feet of an otter. The weird combination of features seems so implausible that, in 1799, when scientists first examined a preserved platypus body, they deemed it a hoax, proposing that someone had sewn the body parts of several different animals together!

Platypuses are semiaquatic, with waterproof fur that lets them spend a great deal of time in water. They are also one of the very few venomous mammals—the males have a spur on their hind foot that can inject a powerful venom capable of killing smaller animals and causing extreme pain in humans.

Echidna

The egg-laying mammal called an echidna is the only living species of monotreme besides the platypus.

While they are also known as ‘spiny anteaters’, and they do eat ants, echidnas are not related to the anteaters that live in North and South America.

Kangaroo

The kangaroo is a marsupial that has done quite well for itself in Australia—about 35 million of them roam the country, a number that far exceeds the human population.

Large, powerful hind legs and massive feet enable kangaroos to employ hopping as their main way of getting around. Hopping is an extremely energy efficient means of locomotion, and kangaroos are the only large animal that does it. Perhaps this is due to the rough terrain of their habitat and the need to conserve energy in a place where there’s not much food and water available.



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