Australia is a the largest in the world. While some early seafarers discovered the island around five thousand years ago, it was otherwise isolated from the rest of the world until European settlers first arrived. This isolation meant that the animals living there would evolve separately from species elsewhere on the planet. This led to them evolving very different solutions to survival, resulting in some very different animals. Although they would have been almost mythical in the days of the early settlers, we now know a lot more about the animals that call Australia home.
Some of these animals, such as the kangaroo, are almost comical to us because of the unusual way in which they move around. Some, like the koala, are favoured by children for their cute appearance. Some are even so bizarre that they lead some people to suspect that they may have been hoaxes. Others, however, are positively dangerous and should be kept at a safe distance at all times. Regardless of whether they are loveable or fearsome, they are all fascinating and have sparked the imagination for generations.
Many of these animals have been the subject of much study in the wild and in zoos. Many people have their favourites, and here’s a look at some of the most popular of all.
Australian Animal #10: Kangaroo
Arguably the best known of all of Australia’s animals is the kangaroo. They are common throughout the island nation and can be found living in a range of habitats. They are perhaps best known for their quite unique method of getting around, which is by hopping. Their powerful hind legs are ideally adapted to this way of moving around and they are able to travel at high speeds over long distances. Their legs are also used for kicking when in fights with other kangaroos.
As a marsupial, the kangaroos’ babies, known as joeys, will stay in their mother’s pouch when they are young. Here, they will drink their mother’s milk and grow in relative safety until they are ready to enter into the big wide world permanently. Kangaroos have adapted excellently to living in the heat of Australia and can go for long periods with drinking water. They will often be found under trees taking shelter from the intense Australian heat.