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Australian Animals | Animals for Kids | Weird Wild Animals

G’day mate! Welcome to AUSTRALIA. You’re not going to find animals like this anywhere

else in the world. They all live together on this continent that looks like a giant

island. Let’s take a closer look! Here are 11 amazing Australian animals.

These cute cuddly Aussie critters are koalas. Koalas are marsupials. Marsupials are a kind

of mammal that are not fully developed when they are born. When baby koalas, also known

as joeys, are born, they’re not ready to live on their own. So they live in their mother’s

pouch for about 7 months. Newborn Koala Joeys are about the size of a jelly bean! They eventually

grow to be about 9 kilograms (around 20 lbs). As baby joeys, they rely heavily on their

mother for the first year of their life. Even when they leave their mother’s pouch at

7 months, they come back to nurse. After a year, they stop nursing and eat leaves. Eucalyptus

leaves are their favorite. Adult koalas are mostly solitary, and spend their days up in

the trees, napping and eating. They’re nocturnal. This means they’re more active during the

night.

This is a dingo! It’s known as “Australia’s Wild Dog.” But they can also be found in

Southeast Asia. Dingos are usually reddish or golden in colour, and reach 15 kilos on

average or about 35 pounds. Not all dingos are pure dingo. They can and do breed with

domestic dogs to form hybrids. You can recognize a dingo by its large head with pointy ears,

narrow chest and shoulders, and its big bushy tail that helps it stay balanced. They typically

live in family packs, but sometimes the young males go off on their own. Dingos are hunters

and mainly eat small animals like rabbits, rodents, and lizards. But they’ll also eat

plants! We call this kind of animal an omnivore. Omni means all, and vore means eating (like

when you have a voracious appetite). Put those together, and you get - eating everything!

Do you recognize this popular Australian native animal? That’s right - it’s a kangaroo!

Like the koala, kangaroos are marsupials. Like other marsupials, baby kangaroos, called

joeys, develop in a pouch. They are about the size of a grape when born, and they travel

up to the pouch on their own without any assistance from their mom. When the kangaroo is large

enough, it can leave the pouch and join the other members of its family in eating grasses.

Like cows, kangaroos regurgitate their food, and re-chew it as part of their digestion.

Kangaroos are the tallest marsupial, standing over 2 meters tall. They live in groups. When

they sense danger, they alert the others by beating on the ground with their huge feet.

They also can use their giant, strong feet to kick any opponents. But kangaroos are mostly

known for how well they can hop away. They use their powerful back legs to jump - about

9 meters in one leap. In this way, they can travel around 50 km per hour. It helps that

they have such long strong tails that keep them balanced while jumping. Look at them

go!

This strange Australian animal is the Tasmanian Devil! These are the largest carnivorous marsupials

in the world, reaching about ¾ of a meter long and weighing about 11 kilograms. By now,

you know that marsupial means they have little pouches where their baby joeys finish growing

up. They’re called the Tasmanian Devil because they live in Tasmania, a large island just

south of the Australian mainland. They’re not really devils, but they do get pretty

grumpy. Tasmanian Devils have sharp teeth, and have one of the most powerful bites of

any mammal on earth. They often eat the carcasses of dead animals. Yuck! And they eat EVERYTHING!

Even the hair and bones. Double yuck! Tasmanian Devils are nocturnal. They sleep all day in

a burrow or cave, and come out at night to eat. They make a dramatic display if they

are threatened - they howl, bare their teeth, and spin around in circles.

Behold! another Australian marsupial, the wombat! They are about 1 meter long, with

a pudgy appearance. They have squat little legs and a very short tail. They spend much

of their time in burrows underground, digging with their teeth and claws. Like rats and

other rodents, their long front teeth keep growing. They must constantly chew on tough

plants to keep their teeth ground down to a normal size.

And like other marsupials, wombats have pouches where they raise their young. But their pouch

faces backwards! This way, dirt doesn’t get into the pouch as the wombat digs its

tunnels. Pretty smart! Wombats are nocturnal herbivores, emerging

from their tunnels at night to eat a variety of grasses, roots, and bark. Wombats have

an unusual defence mechanism against their most common predators - dingos and tasmanian

devils. They dive into a tunnel and block the opening with their backside. Their rear

ends have tough cartilage, that makes it hard to bite. Then the wombat can reach back and

kick with its powerful rear legs, driving the predator away.

Wait a minute. Is that a kangaroo? No! It’s a wallaby! It sure looks a lot like a kangaroo.

Just like the kangaroo, wallabies are marsupials. But they’re smaller. Wallabies are members

of a family called macropodidae, which means BIG FEET! Kangaroos are also members of this

family. So how can you tell the difference between a kangaroo and a wallaby? The kangaroo

has more height between its ankles and its knees - this lets it get more speed as it

hops across the grasslands. Wallabies, in contrast, have more compact legs. Wallabies

usually have brighter coats. Some have reddish markings around their shoulders. Kangaroos

tend to be more dull in colour. Still not sure? You can really tell the difference

by looking at their teeth. The wallaby lives mostly on leaves from the forest, so it has

flatter teeth for crushing and grinding leaves. Kangaroos tend to live in more open areas

without trees, and eat more grass, so they have ridged teeth that are good for cutting

grass to eat.

Eeeee! This might be the most adorable marsupial, the Quokka. He looks like he’s smiling!

The quokka is also a member of the macropod family. They can hop, using their big feet.

But they are much smaller than their relatives, the kangaroo and wallaby. They’re about

the size of a housecat. Awww! Like kangaroos and wallabies, quokkas raise their joeys in

a pouch. After about 8 months, the new quokka can live on its own. Quokkas are vegetarian,

and eat a wide variety of plants, including grasses and leaves from shrubs and trees.

Quokkas are very good at burrowing, digging tunnels where they nap and can hide from predators.

They can also climb trees. Most quokkas are found on Rottnest Island, off the west coast

of mainland Australia. They’re so photogenic! But don’t be fooled by their cute pictures.

Quokkas can and DO bite. We’ll just think they’re super cute from a distance.

This is the duck-billed platypus. The platypus has a bill and webbed feet. That might make

you think of a duck! But the platypus is NOT a bird. It’s a mammal. What?! We’ve been

talking about a lot of marsupials. But the platypus is a different kind of mammal, called

a monotreme. These are mammals that lay eggs! This is very rare. In fact, there are only

two known kinds of animals that do this. Do you know the other?{show outline of echidna}

We’ll talk about it in a moment, it’s another Australian native! But for now, let’s

focus on the weird and wonderful platypus. The platypus lays one or two eggs at time.

She stays with the eggs, keeping them warm. They hatch in about 10 days. The babies are

tiny - like a little bean. (So many of these Australian animals sure are tiny when born!)

They stay nursing with the mother for about 3-4 months until they can swim on their own.

Full-grown platypuses grow to about 1 and a half kilos - about 3 pounds. They hunt underwater,

scooping up all kinds of food from the bottom. They eat insects, shellfish, and worms - and

since they don’t have teeth, they scoop up a little gravel and use it to mash up their

food.

Now that’s a big bird. The emu is a VERY large flightless bird found in Australia.

The emu is the world’s second largest bird - only the ostrich is bigger. It has long

legs and a long neck and stands almost 2 meters tall.

Emus are speedy - they can sprint up to 50 km/hr - and they’re the only birds with

calf muscles. They can jump more than 2 meters straight up off the ground. Along with running

away, emus have another unusual defense mechanism. They can rattle their stiff tail feathers!

This scares off predators like dingos. The feathers of an emu don’t look like most

birds. Most birds have feathers that lie very close together, held together with barbs.

But emu feathers have barbs that are very far apart, and so the feathers don’t hook

together. They stick out, looking more like hair. Emus can also scare off predators by

shouting! Well, sort of. The emu has a pouch in its throat that it can inflate, and make

deep booming, grunting, and hissing sounds. Their calls can be heard up to 2 kilometers

away. That’ll scare off a dingo!

Here’s another large flightless bird living in Australia - and the third largest bird

in the world. Actually, it’s the third tallest, but the second heaviest. Like the ostrich

and emu, the cassowary does not fly. It has tiny wings that couldn’t support its weight

during flight. The female cassowary is about twice as big as the male. - about 60 kilos

(130 lbs). The cassowary has long, glossy black feathers on its body, but hardly any

feathers on their long necks that are multicoloured - red, orange, blue and purple. Yeah - that’s

not all that’s going on. The cassowary has all sorts of interesting features. See that

fold of skin in front? That’s called a wattle. And on the tops of their heads is a tall horn

called a casque. This may remind you of some dinosaurs, like the parasaurolophus! Like

other birds, the female cassowary lays eggs. Then the father takes care of them. What a

good dad! We should say, emu dads do this too. But just because they’re good parents,

don’t think these giant birds are pushovers. Cassowaries can defend themselves. They have

sharp claws and a powerful kick. They just want to be left alone to graze. They mostly

eat fruit. But they’ll also eat the occasional lizard or snake.

The echidna is the second kind of mammal that can lay eggs. Remember the platypus is the

other! The echidna usually lays just one egg a year. It’s about the size of a grape.

The mother echidna holds the egg in a pouch on her belly. The egg hatches after about

10 days. The baby echidna is called a puggle, and is very tiny. It grabs onto its mother’s

fur, and laps up milk from special glands in her pouch. There are actually two kinds

of echidna - the long-beaked echidna, and the short-beaked echidna.They are sometimes

called spiny anteaters. That’s because they do eat ants and termites. But they aren’t

really closely related to the true anteaters, which live in the Americas. The echidna is

good at digging in the dirt to catch their food. They stick in their snout and catch

insects on their long sticky tongue. Echidnas aren’t interested in fighting. You can tell

just by looking at it - it doesn’t want to be bothered. Look at all those spines!

To defend against predators, the echidna rolls up into an unwelcoming ball covered with spikes.

Not so easy to bite now!

Those are 11 amazing animals that live “down under” in Australia! Which animal was your

favorite? Which Aussie critter do you think is the strangest? Let us know in the comments

below! We want to know what you think! Now it’s time to watch more Socratica Kids

animal videos! Pick which one you want to watch next. We guarantee you’ll love it!

Animals are cool!