Although Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, it is home to more than 10 percent of the entire world’s biodiversity. Some of the amazingly weird and wonderful creatures that call Australia home include kookaburras, kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, and red back spiders.
The kookaburra is the world’s largest kingfisher. Known for its song’s eerie resemblance to human laughter, the kookaburra sings to mark its territory. Carnivorous, these birds enjoy snacking on small snakes and occasionally even other birds.
The kangaroo appears on the Australian coat of arms and nearly everything else Australian. The kangaroo is a macropod, or a creature with longer hind legs than forelegs and a muscular tail. More than 55 different kangaroo species are spread across the continent. Some can even weigh up to 200 pounds and may attain speeds of 30 miles per hour.
Although the koala is commonly called a bear, it’s actually a marsupial closely related to the wombat. This cuddly looking creature is fairly lethargic and lives off eucalyptus leaves, moving about for only a couple hours a day. They’re most commonly found in eastern and southern Australia.
The dingo is another well known Australian animal. This wild dog species is the largest carnivorous mammal in the country. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia before being introduced in Australia between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. Small and reddish gold in color, they tend to live alone or in packs.
The red back spider is another creature unique to Australia. It’s a member of the widow family, and the female can grow up to one centimetre long with a brilliant red or orange mark on its back. It creates a funnel-like web and its venom is toxic to humans, although it rarely bites them.
Australia is a vast continent that can provide you with a multitude of reasons to visit. While you may be able see a few, or even all, of these creatures in some zoos, there’s nothing quite like visiting them in their natural habitat.