On this page you’ll find an Australian animals list that includes not only the country’s most famous animals, but also many of its lesser-known species.
There are pictures and facts about each animal, plus links for you to follow if you want to find out more about a particular species.
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List Of Australian Animals – Introduction
Australia is a big country with many different animal habitats. Australia’s deserts, rainforests, reefs, swamps, bushlands and mountains provide homes for many different types of animal.
Many of Australia’s animals are ‘endemic’ to the country. This means that they are only found in Australia, and nowhere else on Earth.
The main reason for this is because Australia is surrounded by sea, and isolated from the rest of the world. Many Australian animals have evolved on their own, and haven’t been able to spread to other countries or continents.
Australia is particularly well known for its marsupials,
Marsupials are mammals whose young – known as ‘joeys’ – are raised in special pouches in the mother’s body. Although marsupials are also present in the Americas, there are many more species found in Australia.
Many of Australia’s most famous animals, such as kangaroos, wallabies, and koala bears, are marsupials, and naturally they’re all on this list!
We’ve also included other famous Australian animals, such as crocodiles, dingoes and emus, together with many animals that are just as amazing, but maybe not quite as well-known.
However, if you’re an Australian wildlife expert, then you should have heard of most, if not all, of these animals.
If you’re not an Australian wildlife expert … you soon will be!
Active Wild Australian Animals List
Our Australian animals list is by no means definitive, and we’ll be adding new species regularly!
Bandicoots are marsupials that are endemic to Australia and New Guinea. (As we saw above, if an animal is ‘endemic’ to an area, then it isn’t found anywhere else.)
There are over 20 species of bandicoot – most are rabbit-sized, and all have long legs, thin tails and pointed noses. Bandicoots are omnivores that forage for food in their bushland habitat.
You can find out more about bandicoots here.
Bilbies are small marsupials that are well adapted for life in a desert environment. They have strong legs and claws for burrowing and finding food. Their long tongues help them to forage for seeds, insects and bulbs.
Click here to find out more about bilbies.
Black swans are elegant birds with black feathers and bright red bills. Black swans inhabit wetlands across Australia. They eat plants and algae, and use their long necks to find food.
Many Australians would rather the cane toad was not on a list of Australian animals! Cane toads secrete poison from behind their ears as a defence against predators.
The cane toad is an invasive species in Australia and has spread rapidly across the country since its introduction in the 1940s. Cane toads are a threat to many native Australian animals, who fall ill after eating the toads.
Find out more about Cane Toads here: Cane Toad Facts.
Cassowaries are large, flightless birds. There are three species of cassowary; only the Southern Cassowary is found in Australia.
Cassowaries are fast runners, and they can also use their powerful legs and clawed feet as weapons.
Learn more about cassowaries here: Cassowary Facts.
There are two types of crocodile found in Australia: the Freshwater Crocodile, and the larger Saltwater Crocodile.
Both are dangerous animals, with armour-plated skin and strong jaws full of sharp teeth. Crocodiles are ambush predators: they lie in wait for their prey to draw near before attacking with explosive speed and power.
Saltwater crocodiles are not only the world’s largest reptiles … they’re also the world’s largest land predators!
You can read all about Saltwater Crocodiles here.
The dingo is a wild dog that lives in the deserts, grasslands and forests of Australia. It is a subspecies of the gray wolf.
Dingoes play an important role in indigenous culture, and feature in stories and ceremonies. Depictions of dingoes have been found in aboriginal stone carvings.
Read more about dingoes here.
Dugongs are closely related to manatees. The dugong has a unique snout that is shaped downwards as an adaptation to feed in seagrass habitats. Dugongs can live for up to 70 years, and in the past have been hunted for meat and oil.
Read more about dugongs here.
Echidnas are members of a very strange group of animals called ‘Monotremes’ – mammals that lay eggs.
Echidnas are also known as ‘spiny anteaters’, but – although their diet consists of ants and termites – they are not related to the anteaters of the Americas.
Read more about echidnas here.
Emus are large, flightless birds that are able to run at high speeds thanks to their long legs. Emus use their sharp claws and webbed feet to defend themselves against aggressors.
Frill-necked lizards are found mostly in the northern tropics of Australia. They get their name due to having large ruffs around their necks, which are opened when the lizard feels threatened. The brightly-coloured ruff is connected to the lizard’s jaw bone, and is designed to scare off predators.
Find-out more about this amazon reptile here: Frill-Necked Lizard Facts.
Great White Shark
One of the great ocean predators, great white sharks can grow to up to 6 metres in length. These big fish prey upon seals, sea turtles, other fish, and sea birds. Great white sharks sometimes come close to land and have been known to attack people.
Read more about great white sharks here.
No list of Australian animals would be complete without the kangaroo! There are over 30 million of these leaping marsupials in Australia.
Kangaroos travel by jumping rather than walking, and their tails and legs are specially developed to help them do this. Kangaroos are marsupials, and after being born their babies climb up into special pouches on the front of their mothers’ bodies. Here they continue to grow for several more months before being able to jump around by themselves!
Learn more about kangaroos here.
With a big nose, fluffy ears, and a smooth grey coat, the koala is a very recognisable creature. These marsupials spend most of their lives sleeping and digesting eucalyptus leaves. These leaves contain little in the way of nutrients, and koalas spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping in order to conserve energy.
Koalas are sometimes called ‘koala bears’, but they are not members of the bear family.
Read more about koalas here.
If you’ve ever thought someone was laughing at you in the Australian bush don’t worry, it was probably just a kookaburra; their call sounds like human laughter. Kookaburras are a kind of kingfisher. They have long beaks and brown and white feathers, with flecks of bright blue in their wings.
Find out more about kookaburras here.
The numbat is a small creature that looks like a cross between a rat and cat. The numbat has a reddish-yellow coat with stripes across its back, and a fuzzy tail. Numbats use their pointed muzzles to forage in the dirt for ants and termites, which they scoop up with their long tongues.
Could the platypus be the world’s weirdest creature? With the bill of a duck, the tail of a beaver, and the feet of an otter, it’s a very strange-looking animal.
The platypus is a mammal, but lays eggs rather than giving birth to its young. Platypuses have waterproof fur that allows them to spend most of their time in the water.
Read more about platypus here.
There are many kinds of possum living in Australia. These small-to-medium-sized nocturnal marsupials and usually live in or around trees. The Western Pygmy possum is the smallest possum in the world, with a body length of only 6.5cm. The common Brush Tail possum is the biggest, often as large as a domestic cat.
Around the size of a pet cat, the quokka is a herbivorous marsupial. Quokkas look like miniature kangaroos, and their curious nature and charming looks make them popular with people. The quokka uses its two front paws to forage with, and eats leaves and berries.
Find out more about quokkas here.
The quoll is a carnivorous marsupial that eats rabbits, lizards, and small birds. Quolls have brown coats that are marked with white rings. Quolls are nocturnal, and are often found in trees.
Find out more about Quolls here: Quoll Facts.
The Sugar Glider has flaps of skin between its arms and legs. These act as wings, and allow the sugar glider to jump from trees and glide through the air.
The sugar glider is an omnivore (i.e. it eats both meat and plants). Its diet includes insects, leaves and eucalyptus sap.
This carnivorous marsupial makes a distinctive screeching sound when feeding, hence its name, which is often shortened to just ‘devil’.
The Tasmanian devil’s survival is currently threatened by the spread of a killer disease that now affects as much as 80% of its population. Because of this, the Tasmanian devil is classified as ‘endangered’.
Find out more here: Tasmanian Devil Facts.
Wallabies are closely related to the larger kangaroo. Wallabies, like kangaroos, are macropods, and have powerful legs for jumping. There several different types of wallaby, and they range greatly in size and habitat preference.
With strong claws and rat-like teeth, wombats are well adapted for their burrowing lifestyle. Their pouch even faces backwards in order to protect the new-born young from getting dirt flicked in their eyes. Wombats are nocturnal creatures and stay in their burrows when the sun is too hot. They are most likely to be seen on cooler and overcast days.
You can find out more about wombats here.
The final species in our Australian animals list is the Yabby. Yabbies are crayfish that vary in colour from black to bright blue. They are found in swamps, streams, dams, and rivers. Yabbies feed on algae, and any fish they happen to find. A popular summer activity for Australian families is to catch yabbies and cook them on a barbeque!
Australian Animals List Conclusion
We hope that you have enjoyed reading this list of Australian animals. This is just a tiny section of the many different species found in Australia.
Have we missed anyone? Let us know if your favourite Australian animals aren’t on this list and we’ll try to include them!
- Learn more about Australia’s incredible birds here: List of Australian Birds.
- Discover more amazing animals here: Animals: The Ultimate Guide.
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