21 Wild Animals in Australia

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Want to know more about the animals in Australia? Here’s a list of 21 Australian animals that you can see in the wild:


1. Koala

Among all the animals in Australia, the koala is one of the most famous.

This animal looks like a teddy bear and is loved all over the world for it’s cute looks. However, it’s not a bear, but a member of the Phascolarctidae family and related to wombats.

Koalas live in the coastal areas in the southern and eastern regions of the mainland. They’re found in both Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

They’re characterized by their tailless bodies and large heads with round fluffy ears and big noses.

A koala can grow up to 85 cm (33 in) in length and weigh around 4-15 kg (9-33 lb).

  • Name: Koala
  • Scientific name: Phascolarctos cinereus
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
koala

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Dingo

Dingo is an animal native to Australia and can be found all over the country, except in Tasmania. Fraser Island is a common place to spot these Australian animals.

It’s a wild dog of medium size with a bushy tail, pointed muzzle, erect ears and red/yellow coat.

They can grow up to 125 cm (49 in) in length, 59 cm (23 in) at the shoulder, and weight around 15 kg (11 lb).

  • Name: Dingo
  • Scientific name: Canis lupus dingo
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
dingo

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3. Kangaroo

The kangaroos are some of the most famous animals in Australia, and are known for their big size, strong bodies, large feet, and muscular tails. Their long feet helps then to leap fast, and they use their tail to balance. Kangaroos also have the iconic pouch where they carry their babies.

A large male kangaroo can get 2 m (6.7 ft) tall and weight 90 kg (200 lb).

Kangaroo is one of the animals in Australia that are endemic to the country.

  • Name: Kangaroo
  • Scientific name: Macropodidae
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
Kangaroo

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Cassowary

This is one of the coolest animals in Australia, since it’s such a unique, powerful, and dangerous animal.

The Cassowary is native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, East Nusa Tenggara, the Maluku Islands, and northeastern Australia. There are three species of cassowary; the northern cassowary, the dwarf cassowary, and the southern cassowary – which is the most common species.

The cassowary is one of the largest birds on earth after the ostrich and emu.

In addition to their size, they’re also recognized by their blue and red colored neck and large horn on top of their heads, also known as casque.

A cassowary can run up to 50 km/h (30 mph), jump 1.5 m (5 ft), and they are also good swimmers and can cross wide rivers and swim in the sea.

They are shy birds but can do much harm to a human if feeling threatened. The cassowary is often described as one of the most dangerous birds in the world.

  • Name: Cassowary
  • Scientific name: Casuarius casuarius
  • Diet: Mainly fungivore, but occasionally omnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
animals in australia

Photo: Shutterstock

5. Saltwater crocodile

The saltwater crocodile is an animal that lives in the northern part of Australia.

It’s one of the largest crocodiles in the world. A male can grow up ot 6 m (20 ft) in length and weight around 1000 kg (2200 lb). Females are much smaller and are around half the size of the male saltwater crocodiles.

This animal hides under water where it waits for its prey. When the prey is close to the water it attacks and drowns the animal before swallowing it whole.

They have a territorial behavior and will kill any marine animal or mammal (including humans) that intrudes on their territory.

  • Name: Saltwater crocodile
  • Scientific name: Crocodylus porosus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Saltwater crocodile

Photo: Shutterstock

6. Platypus

The platypus is one of the strangest and most interesting animals in Australia. It’s one of the two egg-laying mammal on this earth, and is an animal that’s endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania.

It’s one of the few species of mammals that are venomous on earth, as the male platypus have a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom – known to cause severe pain to humans.

  • Name: Platypus
  • Scientific name: Ornithorhynchus anatinus
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Near threatened
platypus

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7. Echidna

The echidna is another of the strangest animals in Australia and is a close relative to the platypus. There are two species of echidnas, the short-beaked echidna and the long-beaked echidna.

Same as the platypus, the echidna is one of the two egg-laying mammals on this planet. 22 days after mating, the echidna lays its egg and holds it in her pouch for up ot 2 months. They babies are called puggles.

Another fun fact is that the male echidna have a four-headed penis.

  • Name: Echidna
  • Scientific name: Tachyglossidae
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
animals in australia

Photo: Shutterstock

8. Thorny devil

The thorny devil, also known as the thorny dragon, is a lizard that’s endemic to Australia.

They’re known for their great camouflage in the desert, as well as spikes that covers the upper part of their bodies. These spikes helps them to scare away predators.

This is no doubt one of the most unique animals in Australia.

  • Name: Thorny devil
  • Scientific name: Moloch horridus
  • Diet: Insectivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
thorny dragon

Photo: Shutterstock

9. Bottlenose dolphins

This species of dolphin are found in tropical and temperate waters all over the world – including the waters of Australia.

They weight 300 kg (660 lb) in average and can reach a length of 4 m (13 ft). They can swim up to 35 km/h (9.7 mph) and can live up to 40 years in the wild.

A fun fact about the bottlenose dolphins is that they have the third largest encephalization levels of mammals on earth, sharing close ratios with both great apes and humans. This is something scientists think contribute to their high intelligence.

  • Name: Bottlenose dolphin
  • Scientific name: Tursiops
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Bottlenose dolphins

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10. Tasmanian devil

One of the most aggressive animals in Australia is the Tasmanian devil. They’re known for their bad temper when finding a mate, defending themselves, or defending their food.

They look like a mix of a small dog/bear in appearance with dark fur, round eyes, and cute little ears. They have a pouch where they carry their babies, up to four small devils at a time.

Tasmanian devils are quite fast animals and can climb trees and swim across rivers.

  • Name: Tasmanian devil
  • Scientific name: Sarcophilus harrisii
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Endangered
Tasmanian devil

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Emu

The emu is the second largest living bird on earth, after the ostrich. It’s endemic to Australia where it commonly lives in the savannah woodlands and sclerophyll forests.

They have soft brown feathers with long legs and necks. This bird can reach 1.9 m (6.2 ft) in heigh and weight as much as 60 kg (132 lb). Emus can travel great distances and run 50 km/h (31 mph) if necessary.

They usually feed on plats and insects and can go without food for weeks.

  • Name: Emu
  • Scientific name: Dromaius novaehollandiae
  • Diet: Herbivore / insectivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
emu

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12. Wombat

Wombats are native to Australia and lives in the mountainous, forested, and heathland areas of southeastern Australia – including the Epping Forest National Park in central Queensland and Tasmania.

They’re characterized by their small size, short legs, and stubby tails.

There are three species of Wombat in Australia; the common wombat (not threatened), the southern hairy-nosed wombat (near threatened), and the northern hairy-nosed wombat (endangered).

Down below you have two photos to see the different between them.

  • Name: Wombat
  • Scientific name: Vombatidae
  • Diet: Herbivore
australian wildlife

Common wombat / Photo: Shutterstock

Hairy Nosed Wombat

Hairy-nosed wombat / Photo: Shutterstock

13. Great white shark

The great white shark is today a protected species in Australia since it has been declared vulnerable by the Australian Government.

It’s one of the largest shark species in the world and can grow up to 7 m (23 ft) in length.

They’re known for their great smell and can smell blood from 5 km (3 miles) away. If not feeling any smell they follow vibrations in the water when searching for food.

When a great white shark is fully fed, they can go without food for up to 3 months.

  • Name: Great white shark
  • Scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
great white shark

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14. Common brushtail possum

In Australia there are a total of 23 different species of possum. The most common species is the brushtail possum and are common to see in the wild.

They are the the size of a cat and are often seen in urban areas at night.

These possums like to eat eucalyptus leaves, but also flowers, shoots, fruits, and seeds. They have also been seen eating insects, eggs, and chicks.

A fun fact is that the male possums are called Jack, the females are called Jill, and the babies are known as Joeys.

  • Name: Common brushtail possum
  • Scientific name: Trichosurus vulpecula
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
Possum australia

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15. Quoll

This is another animal species that’s native to mainland Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea.

There are 6 species of quoll, four of them are found in Australia and 2 in New Guinea.

They have brown or black furs with white spots and pink noses. Since there are 6 difference species the sizes and weights can vary, but they usually weight between 300 g to 7 kg (11 oz to 15 lb).

They spend most of the day in their dens and come out at night to go hunting for insects, birds, frogs, lizards, and fruits. However, the larger species of quoll eat reptiles and small mammals as well, such as echidnas, possums, rabbits, and hares.

  • Name: Quoll
  • Scientific name: Dasyurus
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Near threatened to endangered depending on the species
Quoll

Photo: Shutterstock

16. Cane toad

This is the largest toad in the world, and lives in the northern part of Australia.

They are big and heavy built frogs with dry and warty skin. Cane toads have poison glands and tadpoles that are highly toxic to most animals. They’re particularity dangerous to dogs, but can kill various other animals with their toxic skin.

Luckily the poison cannot penetrate human skin, but I would still be careful when around these poisonous animals.

  • Name: Cane toad
  • Scientific name: Rhinella marina
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
cane toad

Photo: Shutterstock

17. Sugar Glider

This is no doubt one of the cutest animals in Australia, and are to be found on the mainland.

They live in woodlands where they at night glide from tree to tree in search for food. That’s why it got its name, sugar glider, from the gliding membrane extending from their forelegs to the hind legs. The gliding is not only a good way to locate food, but also a great way to escape its predators.

They’re characterized by their soft grey fur with black marks, big eyes, and pink noses.

  • Name: Sugar Glider
  • Scientific name: Petaurus breviceps
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
sugar glider

Photo: Shutterstock

18. Quokka

The quokka is famous for being one of the most happy-looking animals in Australia. They’re always looking like they’re smiling, and are probably the happiest creatures on earth.

They live in Rottnest Island near Perth in the western part of the country, where they feed on grass, shrubs, and leaves.

A quokka is about the same size as a house cat but looks like a tiny fluffy kangaroo.

These Australian animals are foremost nice towards humans, but have occasionally been seen biting people. Feeding them with human food is not something you should do, mainly because it’s not good for them but also because that’s when they’ve been reported biting people.

Note: It’s illegal to touch a quokka in the wild.

  • Name: Quokka
  • Scientific name: Setonix brachyurus
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
animals in australia

Photo: Shutterstock

19. Dugong

The Dugong is probably one of my personal favorite animals in Australia, because they’re so cute.

They are very similar to manatees in appearance and are the only marine mammals that are herbivores (eat plants only). These friendly sea mammals are often called sea cows because of their looks.

In Australia it’s common to spot these animals in Shark Bay in WA or in Queensland.

  • Name: Dugong
  • Scientific name: Dugong dugon
  • Diet: Herbivore
  • Threatened: Vulnerable
Dugong

Photo: Shutterstock

20. Fairy Penguin

The penguin is an animal that most people think live in cold countries, but I can tell you that they live in warm countries as well.

The Fairy Penguin, also known as the little penguin, is a species that’s commonly seen in Australia – especially on Phillip Island where you can spot them on the beach.

They sure are small and only grows to an average of 33 cm (13 in) in height and 43 cm (17 in ) in length.

If you go on a tour to see these animals, do not feed them and make sure not use flash on your camera.

  • Name: Little penguin
  • Scientific name: Eudyptula minor
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
fairy penguin

Photo: Shutterstock

21. Frilled Necked Lizard

If you have seen the famous Steven Spielberg movie Jurassic park, then you might be a familiar with this animal. In this movie, the frilled-necked lizard was a big inspiration for the dilophosaurus dinosaur.

However, the frilled-necked lizard is endemic to northern Australia and southern New Guinea. They spend most of their time up in trees, and feed on insects, and small animals.

It’s on average 85 cm (2.79 ft) in length, which is quite large for being a lizard.

One of the most characteristic things about this lizard is the large frill around its neck. It’s usually folded against the body, but will spread out the frill if feeling threatened.

  • Name: Chlamydosaurus
  • Scientific name: Chlamydosaurus kingii
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Threatened: Least concern
frilled neck lizard

Photo: Shutterstock

More about Australian animals

Australia is home to some of the most interesting wildlife on this planet. From the cutest animals that you’ve ever seen to the most terrifying animals.

This is a country that’s known all over the world for being home to some of the most dangerous animals on earth. Yes, it’s true, but don’t let that stop you from visiting Australia.

Many people are afraid of traveling to Australia because of all its potentially dangerous animals. However, I know people who have been living in Australia for years and not seen a single dangerous animal.

If you’re going out from the cities and into the wild, then you might spot a venomous snake, spider, or crocodile (if you’re lucky).

Most animals prefer to stay away from humans, and therefore they’re not seen that often.

What are the most famous animals in Australia?

The most famous animals in Australia is probably the koala and kangaroo. However, the echidna, platypus, dingo, quokka, wallaby, and wombat are also quite famous Australian animals.

How many animals are there in Australia?

There are around 386 mammal spices that are native to Australia.

What dangerous animals live in Australia?

Australia is the country that has some of the most dangerous animals in the world. However, only because these animals could kill you, it doesn’t mean that they will attack.

Attacks towards humans are rare and will only happen if the animals are feeling threatened, close to starvation, or protecting their babies.

Down below you have a small list of the most dangerous animals in Australia:

  • Great white shark
  • Saltwater crocodile
  • Box jellyfish
  • Common brown snake
  • Stonefish
  • Blue-ringed octopus
  • Inland Taipan (snake)
  • Redback spider
  • Tiger snake
  • Funnel web spider
dangerous animals in australia

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Do you have any other questions about the wild animals in Australia? Leave a comment below!

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