Australian Flora and Fauna
Australia has some of the most amazing animals as part of its history and culture. Many of these animals are native only to Australia and the only way people from other parts of the world can see them is to go to the zoo or take a vacation and holiday downunder.
The Koala is one of those animals that have done as much as anyone to promote our country. There are two species of these cuddly little creatures, the Southern Koala and the Northern Koala.
The Koala eats eucalyptus leaves and spends most of his day sleeping. The have soft grey fur and don’t do a great deal other than eat and sleep.
The Kangaroo is an Australian icon and you can find one on the Australian coast of arms. There are four different types of Kangaroos. They are the Red Kangaroo, the Antilopine Kangaroo, and the Eastern and Western Grey Kangaroo.
The Kangaroo has had his name since first being seen by Captain James Cook in 1770.
The male kangaroos have several names the most common being bucks or a jack while females are does or jills while the baby kangaroo is called a joey.
Other native Australian animals include the Kookaburra. This bird has a distinct ‘laughing’ call that can be both amusing and irritating, especially if you have one as a pet bird at home. There are four types of Kookaburra’s in Australia and New Guinea.
This native Australian bird was used as one of three mascots at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Olly the Kookaburra, was joined by Millie the Echidna and Syd the Platypus to promote the games.
The Echidna is named after a monster in ancient Greek mythology. These small mammals are covered with coarse hair and spines and they look a lot like the anteaters you will find in South America.
They also resemble other spiny mammals like the hedgehog and porcupine. The echidna is one of only two mammals that lay eggs, the other being the Platypus.
State Faunal (Animal) Emblems:
- Queensland: Koala
- New South Wales: Platypus
- Victoria: Leadbeaters Possum
- South Australia: Hairy-Nosed Wombat
- Western Australia: Numbat
- Northern Territory: Red Kangaroo
- Tasmania: Tasmanian Devil
- * Tasmania does not have an official mammal faunal emblem, the Tasmanian Devil is the unofficial emblem.
- * Australian Capital Territory does not have an official mammal faunal emblem
State Faunal (Bird) Emblems:
- Queensland: Brolga
- New South Wales: Kookaburra
- Australian Capital Territory: Gang-gang Cockatoo
- Victoria: Helmeted Honeyeater
- South Australia: Piping Shrike
- Western Australia: Black Swan
- Northern Territory: Wedge Tailed Eagle
- *Tasmania does not have an official faunal bird emblem.
There is over 20,000 different types of plants in Australia and more than 250,000 different types of fungi. The most common species of plants include the Acacia, Banksia and the Eucalyptus.
The Golden Wattle is Australia’s national floral emblem. There are over 1000 species of the Golden Wattle, which can be found in most parts of Australia. You can find Wattles in all climates. The Golden Wattle is a bright yellow flower that is made up by a bunch of smaller flowers.
This Australian flower is popular in many gardens because of its bright flower head. There is around 80 species of Banksias in Australia and all but one are native to Australia. They can grow as either trees or shrubs.
There are more than seven hundred species of Eucalyptus in Australia. These gum trees and shrubs are seen over the majority of the Australian landscape and provide a shelter and food for much of Australia’s wildlife birds and animals.
Did you know that the Koala bear only eats six different varieties of Eucalyptus leaves?
Are a shrub or tree with over 350 species in existence. Their flowers produce sweet nectar and bright colours. Traditionally, Aborigines would either shake the nectar into a container before adding water to make a sweet drink or just shake the nectar straight into their hand to enjoy.
Each Australian State and Territory has a native flower as an official floral emblem.
- Queensland – Cooktown Orchid (Dendrobium phalaenopsis)
- New South Wales – Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)
- Australian Capital Territory – Royal Bluebell (Wahlenbergia gloriosa)
- Victoria – Common Heath (Epacris impressa)
- South Australia – Sturt’s Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)
- Western Australia – Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii)
- Northern Territory – Sturt’s Desert Rose (Gossypium sturtianum)
- Tasmania – Tasmanian Flowering Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus)