You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

~ Mae West ~

Fabulous Australian Animals

November 1st, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 14 secs

There's something wonderfully comforting about the Aussie wombat.

There’s something wonderfully comforting about the Aussie wombat.

Australian animals are wonderful beasties. Even if you’re not much of a critter lover, you have to admire these amazing beasts for all their natural ingenuity.

Take kangaroos, for instance. I was talking to a bloke over the ditch in Phoenix Arizona yesterday about website stuff and he admitted he had never seen a roo in real life. Somehow, that stunned me. Because by the time every Aussie kid can stand and toddle toward something furry, they’ll get to see and pat a kangaroo.

Technically, Tasmania has wallabies rather than roos. But they are basically the same, except that wallabies are like your cousin, Hiram (who is a bit shorter).

While tree dwelling koalas really are an odd beasty by all accounts. Tourists like to hold them for photo shoots. But quite apart from their powerful claws (which kangaroos have too), the urine that koalas produce is fearfully potent. The reason? Because their diet is essentially particular eucalyptus leaves, and rarely if ever a sip of water to drink.

Now just imagine if you will, tucking into a salad bowl full of gum leaves for breakfast, lunch and supper, then skipping having any drinks for a few months or so. That’s got to be a guaranteed recipe for some very concentrated pee.

But enough of bladder matters. There are other Aussie creatures that deserve recognition. Consider the wombat, a creature with a backward facing pouch that lives close to the ground, digs a hole and has a solid carapace under its rear hide that’s as solid as a rock.

Or, how about the gorgeous Tasmanian devil, made rare from a terrible contagious cancer? With hind legs seemingly shorter than its forelegs, they demonstrate a very strange gait as they gallop around yowling and growling.

Then there are the ever-present possums (ringtail, pygmy, and brushtail). Actually, we have a brushtail that lives on our bedroom balcony occasionally, eating most of our roses). While, there are many varieties of tiny bandicoots, the bilby, wallaroos, the numbat,  quokka, flying foxes, seals, fairy penguins, and turtles. Plus an assortment of snakes, crocs, goannas, bluetongue, and frilled neck lizards, thorny devils, the echidna & platypus, and a slew of birds like brolgas, emu, and cockatoos (just to name a few).

It’s a prodigious list and I’d be here for hours recording if I compiled the names of every scaly, feathered, and furry suspect in it. But to me, what makes these creatures so striking is that most can be found nowhere else at all.

So, if there are any Australian critters on this brief list that you don’t know, why not do a quick web search and discover them for yourself? There is lots to Australia’s unique wildlife that is worth finding out about. And, even if you never do get to meet them face-to-face, at least enjoy the knowledge that you know what they look like and what they get up to.

For there is something wonderful in understanding, and every little bit helps. For, the more you know, the greater you can appreciate (and I believe that is a great way to live).

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