Australia is home to the most interesting and strangest wildlife in the world, with a huge variety of creatures ranging from marsupials to reptiles. Residents and travelers expect to see kangaroos jumping down the street, koalas dangling from a neighbor’s tree and the odd deadly snake hiding around the next corner.
If you’re planning a trip to Australia you would be foolish to miss out on seeing some of these incredible animals. Here are the most amazing and best animals in Australia…
1. Megabats/Flying Foxes – one of the most unique flying animals you’ll find in Australia
Bats in Australia are scarily huge, in fact, the largest of these species can weigh up to one kilogram and have a wingspan of nearly 5 foot.
They are otherwise known as flying foxes because they are so much larger than the average bat.
They live in large colonies and are one of the smartest of all Australian animals. They may look blood-thirsty but thankfully they only feed on fruit, flowers, and nectar, sleeping in the day and hunting for food at dusk and during the night.
If you come across one just be warned they can carry viruses harmful to humans so don’t get too close!
2. Kangaroos – the Australian animal which is also the national symbol
When people think of Australian animals, the kangaroo is definitely somewhere at the top of the list. Found all over Australia, they are actually the largest marsupials on the planet today. Kangaroos can reach heights ranging between 5 and 6 feet tall, and they can weigh up to 120 pounds.
They use their powerful hind legs to hop and their tail to keep their balance. Not only do they travel fast, but they can leap up to 30 feet in one swift jump!
Kangaroos mainly feed on grasses and other plants, and they can live in a variety of habitats but they prefer flat, grassy plains and wide open spaces. You might even spot a few sunbathing on beaches too!
3. Wombats – super cute marsupials
Found in the forests and bushlands, this is one of the cutest Australian animals you can find. The common wombat weighs about 60 pounds and is roughly equivalent to the size of a pig.
Wombats have strong claws and legs that they use for burrowing. Because they are diggers, wombats have backwards-facing pouches to keep their babies protected from pouches full of dirt. They are nocturnal animals, so they usually come out at night to look for food.
They mainly eat leaves, plants, and roots and prefer wet, forested areas with slopes. You’ll find these adorable creatures in the southeastern coastal regions of Australia, including eastern New South Wales, eastern and southern Victoria, southeastern South Australia, as well as Tasmania.
4. Dingoes – Australia’s famous wild dogs
One of the more well-known Australian animals, these wild dogs can be found throughout most of the country. Dingoes are medium in size, and usually weigh between 30 and 55 pounds.
They can be sandy blond, reddish-brown, tan, black, or a combination of colors.
Dingoes have known scavengers, but they regularly feed on rabbits, possums, rodents, lizards, and sometimes even kangaroos. Nowadays dingoes are usually cross-bred – a pure dingo is very hard to find. The large sand island Fraser Island is a great place to see these animals first-hand.
5. Quokkas – known as the happiest animals in the world
You won’t find these adorable animals just anywhere in Australia but around 10,000 of them live on Rottnest Island which is a wonderful protected nature reserve located offshore from Perth, in Western Australia.
They’re super cute and many people visit the island to try and get a famous “Quokka Selfies” this is because the marsupial is said to the happiest animals on earth due to them always seeming to be smiling.
6. Koalas – one of the most famous and cutest animals in Australia
When you think of soft and cute, these Australian animals might be the first to come to mind. Koalas usually have gray and white fur and notably large ears.
Koalas have very bad eyesight and depend on their excellent senses of hearing and smell to protect them from predators.
They use their strong arms and claws to climb eucalyptus trees in search of the succulent leaves that exclusively make up their diet. Koalas spend most of the day sleeping, and only a few hours are reserved for climbing and eating.
7. Saltwater Crocodiles – the world’s largest living crocodilian
The largest reptiles on Earth, “salties” are probably the most feared when it comes to Australian animals. Males are much larger than females, and are usually about 14 feet long. Some have even reached lengths of 18 feet. They weigh anywhere from 1200 to 2200 pounds and they are definitely best viewed from a distance!
They usually feed on other reptiles, fish, and birds – but have been known to eat animals as large as cattle and buffalo, too. Saltwater crocodiles have lifespans of 60 to 80 years, and these Australian animals are endangered.
If you fancy seeing one first hand you’ll have plenty of choice as their range extends from Broome in Western Australia through to the entire Northern Territory coast all the way down to Rockhampton in Queensland.
8. Tasmanian Devils – the incredible and now quite rare Australian animals
Easily one of the most amazing animals in Australia these cute fellas are found mainly in Tasmania and along the southeastern coast of Australia, these are the biggest carnivorous marsupials at about 3 to 4 feet in length.
They are black in color with unusual white markings on their chests that make each one unique.
Tasmanian devils are nocturnal, and they usually eat birds, lizards, or scavenge the remains of dead animals they come across. Several Australian animals are considered endangered, and sadly this is one of those species.
9. Sugar Glider – gorgeous tiny marsupials native to Australia
These super-cute possums are native to Australia and live in family groups.
They love all things sweet (such as sap and nectar) hence their name and they can also glide, hence the other part of their name.
Sugar Gliders mostly live in wet and dry forests and woodlands, but as with all wildlife no matter how cute they look please look but don’t touch!
10. Giant Wrasse – meet Wally the most famous fish on the Great Barrier Reef
When you head to the Great Barrier Reef you may just come across Wally the legendary giant humphead Maori Wrasse that lives off a boat tour marine base.
He’s famous because he’s inquisitive and playful like a giant underwater puppy and loves to greet the divers and snorkelers that swim there. He’s long been a local celebrity and loved for his great sense of humour and amazing posing for selfies.
His species are actually sadly endangered and can grow up to 230 cm and weigh 190 kg.
11. Galah – the beautiful Australian bird behind the famous phrase
As you travel around Australia you may hear the insult ‘you flaming galah.’ Well, this is the bird behind the phrase, although in reality, this bird is beautiful!
It’s a common bird found throughout Australia and they’re a very pretty grey color with rose-colored breast.
12. Long-Nosed Bandicoot – one of the most unique rodents in the world
These are both cute and odd-looking in equal measures, these marsupials are native to Australia and are usually 30 to 80 cm in length. They have a rat-like look (just cuter) with grey-brown coarse hair and a long snout nose which gives it a distinctive look.
The long-nosed bandicoots are omnivorous and they forage at night for invertebrates, fungi, and a variety of species of plants.
13. Inland Taipan – the deadliest snake in the world
We had to mention a snake in this list and if we’re going to mention an Australian snake in a country filled with deadly ones, we might as well mention the most deadly one. In fact, the Inland Taipan is ranked the deadliest snake in the world.
This snake is estimated to have enough venom in each bite to kill more than 100 men – yes really! Although there are some positives, this species of snake is actually quite shy and is unlikely to attack. Phew!
You’ll find these snakes (although we wouldn’t recommend trying to find one!) in semi-arid areas in central east Australia.
14. Kookaburras – the famous laughing bird
The kookaburra bird is one of the most fascinating Australian animals and it’s known especially for its funny human-like laugh. Kookaburras are usually about 18 inches long, and their markings are quite distinct.
Their bodies are a dark brown color on top and white underneath, and their wings have a beautiful smattering of gray and blue spots on them.
These native Australian birds can be found in forests and wooded areas – and tree holes are their preferred homes. The people of Australia are grateful to this bird for eliminating many known pests as it primarily feeds on small snakes, lizards, insects, and rodents.
Due to its high-pitched laugh-like calls at both sunrise and sunset, the kookaburra is commonly referred to as the “bushman’s clock.”
15. Duck-billed Platypus – an incredible animal once thought to be a hoax
This is a unique and truly incredible animal native to Australia. It’s actually such an extraordinary creature that it was first thought to be a hoax when they were first discovered!
You’ll find these semiaquatic, egg-laying mammals mostly in Eastern Australia as well as Tasmania. Definitely one of the most unusual creatures in the animal kingdom let alone Australia.
16. Thorny Devil – unique small lizards native to Australia
You’d be lucky to catch a glimpse of these incredible creatures who are also known as the mountain devil. They’re colored in camouflaging shades and also those incredible spiky spines.
It collects water by standing in a puddle or moist sand and then the water runs up its legs and spreads over the surface of its body to the mouth.
The species is endemic to Australia and live in the arid scrubland and desert of the interior of Australia so if you’re traveling through the Red Centre keep an eye out for them. Thankfully they are only small (up to 8 inches in length), and eat only small black ants.
17. Emus – the famous bird and another symbol of Australia
No list of Australian Animals would be complete without a mention of the incredible quirky birds. They are flightless, endemic to Australia and for birds are absolutely huge! They stand at a whopping 5feet (so taller than Tom Cruise?!) and weigh more than 45 kg.
They are also fast just don’t approach them as they can also belt out quite a kick. They live all over Australia but tend to avoid heavily populated areas, and prefer sclerophyll forests, savanna woodlands and grasslands instead.
18. Budgies – Australia is where you’ll see the gorgeous birds in their natural habitat
Aw, I have a huge soft spot for these colorful fellas, sadly they’re kept in cages all over the world but Australia is where you’ll find them as they’re meant to be – flying around free in the wild.
They’re cheeky and chirpy and a lot of fun to watch doing their thing and chomping on their favorite food, seeds.
They’re actually officially parakeets and you’ll find them through most of Australia’s interior west of the Great Dividing Range.
You won’t find them in Tasmania, Cape York, or the coastal areas of eastern, northern or south-western Australia though so don’t try looking for them in these places.
19. Numbats – a small endangered marsupial
Otherwise known as a banded anteater, the numbat bears 6 or 7 white bands across its back giving it this interesting nickname.
Numbats are fairly small – about 11 inches long with another 7 inches of tail. Weighing only 1 pound, they use their front feet to dig for termites, and their long tongues to pick them up.
They have 52 teeth, each one different in size and shape from the others.
20. Funnel Web Spider – one of the most amazing but scariest creatures in Australia
Sorry folks, we couldn’t write this list without a mention of at least one of Australia’s many scary (and often very poisonous) spiders – Australia is known for them!
Okay so they’re not cute but they are also incredible but I wouldn’t recommend going hunting for one if you’re traveling around Australia, they are one of the most dangerous spiders on Earth, and they able to kill a human in just 15 minutes. Yikes!
There are 35 species of funnel-web and you can find a few of these on Australia’s eastern coast, from New South Wales to Queensland. The deadliest (the real big boy of the bunch!) is The Sydney funnel web makes his home around suburban areas and bushland.
As with all wild animals please don’t ever keep them as pets, they want to be free too.
We also have posts on…
- The most beautiful places to visit in Australia
- The most beautiful places to visit in New Zealand
- The world’s best animal sanctuaries
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Emma-Clair Ni Clearaigh – writer and photographer
With itchy feet, an inquisitive nature and an ardent wanderlust, Emma Clair has always been a traveller at heart. Hailing from the Emerald Isle she calls a small coastal town near Dublin home, but has lived in a few countries including Saigon, Vietnam where she resided for over a year, now she balances travel and travel writing with teaching and a passion for vintage interior design. She counts supping on Bloody Marys on a rooftop in Manhattan, downing Singapore slings at the Raffles Hotel, daring a paraglide on the Grand Cayman, spending an exotic Christmas in Malaysia and exploring the Angkor Wat, Cambodia as her all time favourite travel moments. Although, she’ll always have a special place in her heart for the city where she makes her annual pilgrimages – Paris, her true city of lights. Find Emma-Clair on Instagram or Facebook.
Hotel Reviewing Experience – Asked by tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including the Catalonia Tourist Board, Visit Finland, Visit Zurich and Atout France. Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos.