Fascinating Animals

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Unique Animals of Australia

Here are some unique animals of Australia, that I have personally seen, or have some knowledge or interest in.   I have listed below or after the Gallery (photos) a list of the Animals names, against the number of each picture.   Click on the name in the List after the Gallery to go to a page that gives information about that animal. 

The Numbat (picture 10) is the fauna emblem of Western Australia.

You can open this page in a new Tab, then you can click on Picture number 1 and advance from picture to picture by clicking on the white arrow on the right hand side.  Press Esc in the upper right corner to leave the Photo Gallery.

1.  Woylie – see below please for information.

2.  Bilby

3.  Bungarra or Monitor Lizard or Sand Goanna

4.   Chudith or Western Quoll

5.   Dugong – see below please for information.

6.   Emu

7.   Galah – see below please for information.

8.    Koala

9.    Magpie

10.   Numbat

11.    Pygmy Possum

12.    Quokka

13.   Red Kangaroo

14.   Sea Dragons (Australian Sea Horses)

15.   Yabbie

The Platypus is also unique to Australia, and information about it can be found on  this   page of National Geographic.

As a third year Biology student in the 1980s a friend and I carried out a fauna (animal) and flora (plant) survey of the Perup forest, near Manjimup, Western Australia.  There we sampled the animal population there, including a cute Pgymy Possum, that fitted into my hand and a Bungarra.   Students before us had caught a rare Western Quoll or Chuditch, which although they look beautiful and soft and nice, are, on the other hand, quite wild.

Likewise, the famous Koala Bears look soft and cuddly, but beware the bear if it is not in a good mood, for it can give you a nasty scratch.  The Bilby is famous for being a chocolate representative at Easter time, and not many Aussies would never have seen an Emu or a Red Kangaroo.

Of course, many Aussies will tell you about the “maggies” or black and white Magpies that like to swoop upon you and grab some strands of hair for their nests.

The Quokkas are soft and furry and shy, and can be patted, and are unique to Western Australia, namely Rottnest Island.   I saw some cultured baby Sea Horses at the Kalbarri Seahorse Sanctuary, where they educate visitors all about Australian Sea-Horses, and retail sea-horses so wild sea-horses are not taken from their natural habitats (homes).

Some other uniquely Australian creatures that I really like follow.

Dugong

The dugong or Sea Cow is endangered.   I researched it and wrote a fact sheet about it, when I was doing voluntary work for the Conservation Council of W.A.  Dugongs are large grey mammals which spend their entire lives in the sea. Fully grown, they may be three metres long and weigh 400 kilograms. Dugongs swim by moving their broad whale-like tail in an up and down motion, and by use of their two flippers. They come to the surface to breathe through nostrils near the top of their snouts. Dugongs’ only hairs are the bristles near the mouth.

n Australia, dugongs are protected as “vulnerable” under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 (EPBC Act), which lists them as marine and migratory species, and various State and Northern Territory legislation.   Dugongs are not actually restricted to Australia, but sadly, are now few in number and bordering upon becoming extinct.  These migratory and herbivorous creatures are found in the shallow coastal water of Northern Australia as well in parts of Indo-Pacific Ocean.

Most of the important dugong habitats in Western Australia are protected in marine parks, marine reserves or proposed marine parks.   Sadly, Dugong numbers around Queensland have been dropping dramatically, due to loss of sea-grass which they feed upon.   This is due to floods, and perhaps to dredging.   Also, they are still being fished or caught by traditional people.

Dugongs have important cultural and social values for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in coastal areas of northern Australia. Hunting these species is important for maintaining family relations (kinship) and social structure, has important ceremonial and community purposes and also provides valuable protein in regions where fresh food is expensive and difficult to obtain.  Dugongs also get entangled in fishing nets, and face the effects of ocean dredging.

Under the Native Title Act 1993, Traditional Owners have the right to take marine resources, including hunting of dugongs for personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs and in exercise and enjoyment of their native title rights and interests.

If the Dugong in Australia is not looked after, it will soon be on the Endangered rating of the International Union for Conservation of Nature scheme.

Source:

http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/species/dugongs/index.html

Galah

Galah

Some say these pretty pink and grey birds are a nuisance, but there is a group of them in my street, and I really love them.   I knew someone once whom had a Galah companion, that was really smart and could talk.   Once when I was at the Kalbarri Bird Park, I saw a Galah in a small cage, and silently (telepathically) asked the bird to do a trick for me.  He or she did so by hanging from the roof of her/his cage withher/his beak, until I asked the bird to stop doing so.

The Galah is one of the most widespread of Australia’s parrots, being found in all states. It is only absent from the most arid country and from the tip of Cape York. It prefers open grasslands and woodland, is a common species in the cities and towns, and has adapted well to farmed land. The species is gregarious, often forming flocks of several hundreds, although when foraging for food these large flocks will often split into small groups, coming together again at the evening roost site. Feeding is often done on the ground and their food in the wild is dominantly seed, nuts and fruit, and they can cause major damage to cultivated grain crops. For this reason the bird is regarded as a pest species in many parts of its range, and licensed culling is permitted in certain states.

The breeding season extends from July to December in the south and February to July in the tropical north. A nesting hollow is lined with leaves and twigs carried into the nest, and usually 3 or 4 eggs are laid. Incubation is shared by both parents over a 30 day period and the babies leave the nest at about 8 weeks old.

Source:   http://www.birdsnways.com/mowen/galah.htm

Woylie

Baby Woylie

Last, but not least, here is my friend, in the 1980s with a cute baby Woylie!!   As Biology students, we accompanied the Forests Department staff on a check of tagged Woylies in the south of Western Australia.  I was standing there, right next to my friend.  The woylie is a small marsupial (animals with a pouch in which females carry their young) that lives on the Australian  continent.  Distantly related to the kangaroo, they once occupied most of the Australian mainland.  However, by the 1970s their numbers were reduced to only three areas.

In the 1990s, woylies were the first species to be removed from the endangered species list, thanks to fox control.   However, to date, it has been estimated that the Woylie population has been on the decline recently.   Scientists estimate that 80 per cent of woylies have gone since 2006, due to a disease, which they are trying to overcome, in tandem with a Woylie Management Plan in the Perup.

Sources:

 http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2010/05/24/2908101.htm

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/06/23/3251998.htm

FOR MORE UNIQUE ANIMALS TO AUSTRALIA, CLICK ON  THIS  LINK HERE

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One thought on “Unique Animals of Australia

  1. Johno on said:

    Australian animals are so cute and unique. We should be putting more effort in saving them and their habitats.

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