Australia is one of the few places in the world to be proud of its native animals. There’re numerous animal species that are unique and are to be found only here. Its wildlife is full of various reptiles and mammals, fishes and birds, and other frightful and fearsome creatures that couldn’t be found nowhere else but on the country-continent.
Well, what’s the first association you make when you hear Jaws? Yes, exactly, the world famous movie by Spielberg and the bloody white shark that attacks innocent swimmers. The white death (6.4m long / 3.300kg in weight) as it’s often nicknamed is a common representative of the coastal surface waters of Australia.
Apart from these jaw monsters, there are others (close relatives of dinosaurs) that locals and tourists alike are frightened of in Australia. These are saltwater (or estuarine) crocodiles that are the biggest and largest reptiles in the world. They can reach 10m in length and one ton in weight. They’re the most incredible and fearsome reptiles ever, with a horrific exposition of 24 sharp crocodile teeth that causes the death of at least 2000 human victims annually, according to the official statistics. Today they are between 100 and 200 thousand in number in Australia and have the ability to live both in salt waters and freshwaters.
Knock, knock on wood not to meet face-to-face any of these jaws in my life. And you, folks, simply be careful when you are in the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Cape York Peninsula with its wild savannahs and tropical rainforests where sharks and crocodiles will be your “friends”.
By the way, you won’t be that safe on the Australian land as well because wild Dog Dingo (a stranger coming from Asia, actually) could attack you from ambush somewhere in the Australian desserts, grasslands and forests. Or you might meet personally with one of the 1 million wild camels wandering freely through the desert.
But, as a matter of fact, aside from all these pretty scary species, Australia is the single natural habitat of marsupials in the world. The word comes from the Latin marsupium which means pouch. Namely that pouch protects babies and contains teats and thus they are “breastfed” with mother’s milk. Young mammals grow up in the pouch and leave it when they turn one year. The most notable Australian marsupials are Kangaroo, Koala and Wombat that live both on land, in desserts and in the surrounding oceans.
A kangaroo is recognized as the Australian national animal and the country- continent is the most common place to find it. Roos, as they are often nicknamed in Australia, are hopping and speedy animals with long tails. They push off the ground owing to their hind legs and their hop can reach 13 metres in length and their speed – 70km/h. Their long tails prevent them from walking backwards and having a rear vision. They almost always live and move in flocks called mobs. There is one very sweet fact about kangaroos, i.e. a baby kangaroo has also a name – joey. There are about 45 types of Roos, the Red kangaroo being the biggest and largest marsupial (1.5metres) in the world. Unfortunately, nowadays humans are the biggest threat to kangaroos and cause their extinction. Roos are often hunted because of their meet or killed in the desert by passing-by Australian Roadtrains.
Koalas are very pooh and sleepy marsupials. They sleep 20 hours a day and the rest of the time they stand still and don’t move. Usually they could be found in the crowns of eucalyptus trees. They’re quite pretentious because their nutrition consists of eucalyptus leaves from only 13 types of trees. When they are awake they are capable of eating from ½ to 1kg of green mass. By the way, eucalyptus leaves are rich in essential oils and maybe that’s why they cause such a slumberous effect on them.
As to Wombats, they are clumsy and pooh overweight hamsters whose length reaches between 50-130sm and weight – 20-40kg. They are herbivores that live in underground holes, dwellings and complexes and hide themselves in hollow logs and trunks. They are spread out almost all over Australia but especially, on the island of Tasmania they are very friendly and not afraid of humans.
Finally, here are some of the Australian most famous birds. Black Swan is associated with the Western parts of Australia. Emu is the second largest living bird on Earth (after ostrich) and is uniquely connected with the country. The fauna emblem of the capital region is the body-grey Gang-gang Cockatoo (males are with a scarlet red crest). As to lemon-coloured crest White Cockatoo, it’s a popular talkative pet when in captivity.
And so on, and so on …. 🙂 Charles Darwin got astonished with the natural diversity of Australia. The same applies to anyone who visits the country. 🙂