koala

COMMON AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

On camping trips as a kid, I used to take a little book of Australian animals and tick off the ones I saw. Koalas, kangaroos, dingoes and wombats had several ticks next to their names over the years. They became fairly common on our bush walks and trail hikes. But there are other pretty common Australian animals that are worth keeping an eye out for that you have probably never heard of.

RUFOUS BETTONG

Looking like a cross between a rat and a kangaroo, this marsupial is found on the north-east coast of Australia. The hop like little mini kangaroos and weight around three kilos. You can sometimes see their nests made of grass dotted around the bush like little cones. To get a glimpse of these reclusive creatures you will need to wait until the sun goes down as they are predominantly nocturnal.

THE PERENTIE

Considering the size of this lizard, it’s surprising it isn’t better known. The Perentie is the largest monitor lizard in Australia. They are found in the hot, dry conditions of central and western Australia. They are pretty terrifying, with their razor-sharp teeth and length of up to 2 and a half meters. They feed on small mammals but will become quite aggressive when threatened. If you are fortunate enough to see one keep your distance, these critters are incredibly fast and can take your finger or toe off if you get too close.

PADEMELON

Native to eastern Australia and Tasmania, this micro-sized wallaby has smaller tails and legs to help them scurry through the thick vegetation. Unlike the Perentie, these rainforest dwelling wallabies are adorable and watching them play fight on YouTube is something to behold.

FAT-TAILED DUNNART

This tiny marsupial with huge dark eyes is common across Australia. From the same family as the Tasmanian devil, the fat-tailed dunnart is incredibly aggressive and hisses when threatened. Their size limits the damage they can do, being roughly the same size as a mouse but that won’t stop it from trying. They have a tiny pouch and can grow to around 7cm.

SPINIFEX HOPPING MOUSE

The spinifex hopping mouse occupies the sand flats and dunes of central and western Australia. They take their name from the spiky spinifex vegetation they hide among. It uses its long tail to maintain balance as it hops across the desert. These critters don’t need water sources as they can get all the water they need from insects and plant roots. They are nocturnal and not often seen by humans.

SPOTTED-TAILED QUOLL

Also known as the tiger quoll or tiger cat, these impressive mammals can be found among the forests and rainforests of eastern Australia and Tasmania. They are facing the destruction of their habitat which makes them difficult to find. They are around the size of a domestic cat, with an impressive white spotted coat. Like the fat-tailed dunnart, these can be pretty grumpy so don’t try to approach them or you could end up with a nasty scratch or bite. However, they usually avoid human contact, hunting possums and rats at night.

With all these amazing animals all across our wonderful country, it really goes to show that good camping and trekking habits are extremely important to preserve our wildlife.

Do the right thing when you are camping, hiking, fishing and enjoying your time outdoors. Always leave your space better than it was before you arrived.

 


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Robert M Davies
rob.m@dinga.com.au

Robert passed the "Obsessed With Fishing Test" with flying colours. Instead of talking, Robert has turned his hand to writing about his experience in fishing all around Australia.