In this post we explore some of the main mammals you are likely to see on your Australian travels! While most are bundles of fluffy cuteness, there are a few strange ones just as delightful!
Koalas are laid back marsupials (mammals with a pouch) and sleep during the day in forks of Gum Trees. Their calls sound like a grunting noise when they are active (especially males) and rarely come to the ground, preferring to jump between trees.
Find them in south-east Australian regions in Gum Tree forests. To get up close head to Cleland Wildlife Park (near Adelaide) in South Australia for a Koala encounter! Head out early morning or dusk to see Koalas active but you can still spot them in the daytime! You can see them year-round!
Kangaroos are the most iconic Australian animal and there are 3 main species you’ll likely see; the Red Kangaroo, the Eastern Grey Kangaroo and the Western Grey Kangaroo. All Kangaroos are very muscular and reason enough, not to drive after dusk to keep you, your car and the ‘roos’ safe!
The largest is the Red Kangaroo, living in central Australia. Besides Western Australia, you will need to head inland to see these guys!
The Eastern Grey Kangaroo is common along the eastern coast. You can find them in mountain range bushland of Hall’s Gap in the Grampians, Victoria. This region is also a great camping getaway and puts on a glorious springtime display!
To see these guys get out early in the morning or late in the day. This is usually when they will feed and avoid the heat of the day.
Despite the name, the Western Grey Kangaroo is widely spread over the southern mainland. In Western Australia, they will come right onto the sand at Lucky Bay!
There is a related macropod (Kangaroo family) that actually lives in trees, called the Tree Kangaroo. There are 2 Australian species and both are isolated to northern rainforests of Queensland. We can’t wait to see our first in the wild!
Another animal often mistaken for Kangaroos is the Wallaby! The difference being Wallabies typically inhabit steep slopes, have longer tails and shorter, plumper bodies. Out of the 45 species in the macropod family, the largest 4 are considered Kangaroos. The remainder is Wallabies. With so many Wallaby species you will certainly cross their path in Australia!
Tasmanian Devils are a small animal with a big personality! Early Europeans heard their cries in dense forest nicknaming them ‘Devils’. While these carnivores certainly are ferocious, they tend to feed on carrion.
Tasmanian Devils are found exclusively in Tasmania. The Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park in Taranna works to improve their numbers and gives you a great introduction. You can also see the closely related and rare Eastern Quoll there. Devils are nocturnally active so keep an eye out from dusk onwards. If you do see one in the wild, never get too close!
The Quokka is a surefire favourite for Australia’s most adorable animal! Many a celebrity has posed with them because of their naturally smiling faces! But this cute fellow is just one of the many small mammals endangered in Australia (because of feral cats, foxes, and rabbits)! Other small mammals are Potoroos, Bettongs, Bandicoots, Numbats, Bilbies, Dunnarts, Possums, Sugar Gliders, and more. So don’t be alarmed if you think you saw a rat, it could well be a harmless, rare, native mammal!
While small mammals are found throughout Australia, the Quokka is purely in Western Australia. Islands are often refuges for these surviving populations because of their isolation. Rottnest Island is abundant in not just Quokkas but beautiful beaches too!
The Platypus is one creature you wouldn’t be crazy for questioning if it exists! They are real – just very elusive and strange with their duck-like bill, webbed feet, brown fur, poisonous spurs and beaver-like-tail. Not to mention they are a mammal that lays eggs (a monotreme)!
Find Platypus along the south-eastern edge of Australia, they will test your patience to spot! The best time of day go looking is early morning or late dusk. Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria or Warrawong Sanctuary, South Australia are best to head to if Platypus are on your “must-see” list! For the wild – Tasmania has very healthy Platypus populations widespread!
Wombats are burrowing specialists! Capable of constructing extensive homes into river banks and hillsides. 2 species inhabit Australia, mainly the Common Wombat. They have an incredibly tough hide for protection and can move surprisingly fast!
Avoid colliding with these guys on the road, they are a living bulldozer! Their range is commonly the south-east corner of Australia but Western Australia and Queensland do have populations. Morning and dusk are ideal to see Wombats. Head to Healesville Sanctuary for great close encounters in Victoria!
Echidnas are masters of defence, with a tubular snout and spikes that covering their body. When disturbed, they will burrow into the ground. They are solitary and secretive animals, coming together only to breed for a short season!
Some of the best opportunities to spot an Echidna is Kangaroo Island, South Australia or Port Campbell National Park, Victoria but they will appear in many states and places. Echidnas are active during daylight and can be seen year-round!
So hit the road with our guide to all Aussie creatures weird, wonderful and incredibly cute. We are sure you won’t be disappointed when you do spot our furry mates and they will have you fixated!