July 12, 2024

From the Ocean to the Desert: 7 Incredible Animals of Australia

When people picture Australia, they imagine an island filled to the brim with poisonous spiders and snakes. They’re not entirely wrong, of course. The most dangerous animals in Australia are often world champions; take the Western Taipan, for example.

Don’t let that discourage you from visiting the land down under. The animals you can find in Australia have a lot more to offer than just signing your death warrant. Unique animals in Australia often have a fascinating history behind them. They may even be friendly.

Read on as we discuss seven animals, some of them endemic to Australia, that are well worth the visit to see.

  1. Sea Animals You Can Find in Australia: Whale Sharks

Whale sharks aren’t mammals, per se, but they belong to the animal kingdom. Don’t let the name throw you for a loop. Whale sharks are not whales in any sense of the word; they just happen to look like them.

They are massive, though. If you’re lucky, you might spot a whale shark upwards of 18 meters on your whale watching tours. Don’t let the size fool you, as whale sharks are harmless to humankind.

You’ll find these beasts of wonder off Australia’s west coast, specifically on the Coral Coast. Go at the right time of year–between March and July–and you can snorkel with them in their natural habitat.

  1. Great White Sharks

If you’d like something just as big but with a bit more bite than bark, consider the Great Whites.

These are some of the largest sharks in the world, able to live as long as humans. They may only reach a “paltry” 6 meters in length, but these suckers are dangerous to swim near without expert training and proper precautions.

Instead, we recommend going cage diving. This drops you into one of those steel cages, impervious to the risk of bites. It puts you up close and personal with some of the world’s most vicious killers.

If not, you can always go shark sighting. If you’re lucky, you might spot one going in for the kill. Great Whites are wicked hunters that give their prey no quarter, and they’ll give you a show if you’re patient.

  1. Crocodiles

Crikey, mate! Steve Irwin (bless his soul) may no longer be around. But his best friends still are–crocodiles.

Don’t confuse them with alligators. Crocs are bigger, nastier, and can swim in salt and freshwater.

Even though you wouldn’t ever want to swim alongside these monsters, they are well worth seeing with your own eyes. They can bob just below the surface, holding their breath for minutes to capture prey.

Crocodiles inhabit every corner of Australia, but we’d recommend heading to a controlled environment like Crocosaurus Cove. Here, you can do the “Cage of Death” and face a croc head-on.

  1. The Dingo

A dingo may look like a dog, but it’s not simply a feral mutt. Dingoes are native to Australia, minus Tasmania. They’re some of the largest Australian carnivores and will actually eat kangaroos!

Dingoes go way back in Australian and Aboriginal folklore. If you visit the desert areas of Australia, you may well hear them yapping in the distance. They are quite intelligent, so take caution if you ever see one nearby.

Some zoos will have them, but dingoes live far and wide in the deserts. Like coyotes, these are the sorts of animals you ought to see in a chance encounter. For example, when you are driving through the outback on the way to your next adventure.

  1. The Tasmanian Devil

The Tasmanian Devil certainly doesn’t look like a being from the underworld. It’s an ugly, rodent-looking thing that could be cute if viewed in the ideal light.

The reason recently-arrived Europeans named it the devil was only partially because of its black hair. Most of that name derives from its bad temper and the gut-wrenching screeches it makes. Needless to say, keep your distance since these little fellas are as aggressive as honey badgers.

They may not be the sort you can pet, but they are worth seeing. These marsupials are some of Australia’s smallest yet deceptively wicked survivors.

  1. Kangaroos

Kangaroos are the number one animal that people picture when they think of Australia. And why wouldn’t they be? They are absolutely bizarre bipedal animal that hops instead of walking and has a built-in stomach pouch.

They’re a close cousin to wallabies, who also make up part of the Kangaroo family. In fact, you might be surprised to learn there are more than fifty species of kangaroo.

Kangas are quite aggressive if provoked, but otherwise, they tend to be friendly. And most of all, they’re cute.

  1. Platypus

Fun fact about the platypus: when foreign biologists first got their hands on one, they thought it was fake. They believed someone had stitched together a beaver’s body with a duck’s bill. We can only imagine the reaction they had when they discovered that they were very much real.

Platypuses make up a key component of the monotreme family. These are exclusive to Australia, with waterproof fur and webbed feet. They’re a bit shy and prefer to keep to the quietest rivers and any coastal areas in the east.

Another fun fact: male platypuses are venomous. It’s unlikely you’d ever hold one in your hands. If you do, though, watch out: they have enough venom in their spur to kill a full-grown male.

To make the platypus more confusing, they lay eggs. That’s right, they don’t give birth as you’d expect from most mammals. But make no mistake, a platypus is still a mammal despite this bizarre feature.

Visit Australia Today to See All Kinds of Animals

The animals you can find in Australia will certainly be unlike any others you might find, even in the most remote islands or deepest jungles. You have egg-laying mammals, creatures that hop, and marsupials that scream like demons. This is only the beginning of a long list of wild animals in Australia.

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