Our Beautiful World

Australian Wildlife  

For more than 250 other animals world wide - Click here

Fauna of Papua New Guinea . Click here.

Animal life of Australia is quite different from what we find on other continents., with many species that only excists here.
One example is not the kangaroo, most of us know that one, but have you ever heard about the tree-kangaroo? No?
Neither had the zoologists that were sent out from the Zoological Museum of the University in Oslo, Norway. When they
first saw kangaroos klimbing and jumping around in the trees, they had to check out if they were dreaming or not.

photo by P. Chevalier

To day we know three different specimens: Lumholz treekangaroo, Bennet's treekangaroo and Matschie,s treekangaroo Teekangaroos way of living differs of course, from the more groundlike kangaroos, first because they spend most of their life
in the trees. Then they seems to have a rather quiet way of living, and - they do not jump around as their relatives on ground. ..

More about tree-kangaroos here.

photo:Queensland Wildlife Hospital
Two main groups of bats are the great (makro)bats and small (mikro)bats.
Makrobats may be as big as domestic cats, while the microbats usually are much
smaller, more like an ordinary mouse. The babes are hanging under their mother's
breasts, and are covered by the wings of their mothers while not in flight.

Another strange speciality of are the Emu. Like many of the other australian animals and birds, it is not at all like other birds of the same family. It can not fly. Still it is one of
the biggest birds in the world, in fact it comes second. Anyway, it an run, and often
it reaches speeds around 50 kilometers an hour. It can be about 1,50 meters tall
and when mature, it weights up to 55 kilos.

photo:Queensland Wildlife Hospital

photo:Queensland Wildlife Hospital
Koalabear is one of the most wellknown bears we give our children to play with.
No, not living ones, but copies in all kinds of sizes and colours. May be that is because
the Koala is know as a very social animal, and has a lovely face.But again, this is
also an australian speciality. Koalas seldom drink water unless when very sick.

A baby koala is referred to as a joey and is hairless, blind, and earless. At birth the joey,
only 20 mm (0.79 in) long, crawls into the downward-facing pouch on the mother's belly
(which is closed by a drawstring-like muscle that the mother can tighten at will) and
attaches itself to one of the two teats.

Carbon dioxide may kill the Koala.

Koalas under threat as excess CO2 makes eucalyptus leaves inedible
By Kathy Marks 5:00 AM Monday Apr 7, 2008
The New Zealand Herald

The future of the koala, perhaps Australia's best-loved animal, is under threat because greenhouse gas emissions
are making eucalyptus leaves - their sole food source - inedible.

Scientists warned that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were reducing nutrient levels in the leaves,
and also boosting their toxic tannin content.

That has serious implications for koalas and other marsupials that eat only, or mainly, the leaves of gum trees. These include several possum and wallaby species.

"What we're seeing, essentially, is that the staple diet of these animals is being turned to leather," said science professor Bill Foley, of Australian National University, in Canberra.

"This is potentially a very significant development for the future of some marsupial populations. Life is set to become extremely difficult for these animals."

Despite koalas' predilection for eucalyptus, the leaves are not nutritionally rich. In fact, even in the best conditions they are so low in protein that koalas - which spend up to 20 hours a day asleep, and most of the rest of their waking hours eating - have to eat 700g of them a day to survive.

Like koalas, greater gliders feed only on eucalyptus leaves. Greater gliders have disappeared from some habitats where they were abundant 20 years ago. Brushtail possums, ringtail possums and many wallabies rely on the leaves as the major component of their diet.

"The balance in the leaves shifts from nutrients to non-nutritional fibre. It eventually reaches a threshold when leaves are no longer tenable as a food source. The food chain for these animals is very finely balanced, and a small change can have serious consequences."

The platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to
eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna,
it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs
instead of giving birth to live young.

When seamen first brought back to Europe som examles that they had
stuffed for preservation, the rare animals were looked upon as
fanciful, faked copies, allthough with some humorus aspects.

photo:Queensland Wildlife Hospital

photo:Queensland Wildlife Hospital

You may think that the australian animals were made just to make jokes to the Zoologists.

Wombats dig extensive burrow systems with rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws. One distinctive adaptation of wombats is their backwards pouch. The advantage of a backwards-facing pouch is that when digging, the wombat does not gather dirt in its pouch over its young. Although mainly crepuscular and nocturnal, wombats also venture out to feed on cool or overcast days. They are not commonly seen, but leave ample evidence of their passage, treating fences as minor inconveniences to be gone through or under, and leaving distinctive cubic faeces.

No overview, not even a short one, of the Australian rarities, are complete without
the Kookaburra-bird, Dacelo novaeguineae - or the
Laughing bird as it is also called. If you ever have heard it, you will never forget that.

They will eat lizards, snakes, insects, mice, other small birds, and raw meat. The most social birds will accept handouts from humans and will take raw or cooked meat
(even if at high temperature) from on or near open-air barbecues left unattended.

photo by P. Chevalier


For more than 250 other animals world wide - Click here.

Fauna of Papua New Guinea . Click here.


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