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
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.
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.
is one of the most wellknown bears we give our children to play
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
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
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
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
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
stuffed for preservation, the rare animals were looked upon
fanciful, faked copies, allthough with some humorus aspects.
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
photo by P. Chevalier ©
more than 250 other animals world wide - Click here.
of Papua New Guinea . Click here.