When the first settlers came to Australia just over 200 years ago, they were surprised by the weird and wonderful wildlife they encountered. A bird that runs faster than most land animals, a small bear like tree dweller, hundreds of beautifully colored parrots, the animals were like nothing the settlers had ever seen before.

Most were named after the local Aboriginal terms for each animal hence such strange names as Kangaroo, Cockatoo, Koala and Wallaby. Some were hunted into extinction, like the Thylacine, a striped dog like marsupial, while others were revered simply because they were so strange, like the Kangaroo.

Most native Australian animals are marsupials, characterized by a distinctive pouch in which they carry their young for the first few months of their lives. It’s these marsupials that are the characteristic Australian animal. The Kangaroo, Koala, possum, wallaby and wombat are all known as characteristically Australian animals. But there are also hundreds of bird species that make up a big part of the Australian wildlife. Emu’s are the largest and most well known but there are many others, such as the large Sulphur-crested Cockatoo with its yellow crest, often kept as a pet. There are also the brightly colored Rainbow Lorikeets, King Parrots and Rosellas that all have shrill songs and create a magnificent flash of color against the dry Australian bush.

Australian wildlife is extremely unique, with tens of thousands of years being cut off from any outside influence, they have had the chance to evolve and adapt to their environment in some fantastic ways. The most amazing of all being that of the Platypus. But I’ll leave that up to you to find out for yourself.

Pics By Nick - Rainbow Lorikeet

Pics By Nick - Cockatoo

Pics By Nick - Dingo