Among the many spots on the map to head out and see some magnificent wildlife, Australia can't be beat when it comes to meeting critters that are utterly unique. Because the continent has been isolated for millions of years, the entire cast of creatures on the Australian mainland is unlike any place on earth.
Marsupials, animals like kangaroos and koalas that raise their young in pouches, make up the vast majority of mammals that call Australia home, while many species of reptiles also patrol the wild spaces in the country. For eager animal lovers, grabbing a last minute flight Down Under is the start of the trip of a lifetime.
There are 378 mammals that call Australia home, according to the country's official tourism website, and many of these are marsupials. Outside of the opossum, the vast majority of these animals are found nowhere else on the planet.
Of all the creatures that can be found in Australia, the kangaroo is likely the most famous of the bunch. These charismatic animals are famous for their amazing jumping abilities. Not only can a kangaroo cover 25 feet in a single bound, but National Geographic stated that with a top-speed of up to 35 miles per hour, a kangaroo could give a race horse a run for its money on the track.
Kangaroos can stand well over 5 feet tall, but have significantly smaller relatives that also call Australia home. Wallabies look like mini-kangaroos, while pademelons and quokkas are even smaller animals that fall into the macropod family. There are even types of kangaroos that live entirely in trees.
Other marsupials like koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils are all special creatures that you can see during a trip to Australia. The spiny echidna and platypus can also be found Down Under, those these creatures belong to another group of mammals, distinguished by an ability to lay eggs.
The cute and cuddly mammals that live in Australia are well worth a trip for animal lovers, but the desert environment of the Outback and the mangrove swamps in the northern part of the country are perfect habitats for reptiles.
Salt water crocodiles are among the most impressive animals that live in Australia and these crocs are among the largest predators on the planet. Australia Outback reported that these beasts can grow to over 22 feet in length and weigh well over 1 ton. They can be found living in fresh water habitats, but may venture out to sea to feed or visit new territory.
Australia is also home to a number of snakes, such as the inland taipan. This species is considered to be the most venomous species of terrestrial snake in the world, though there have been few reported bites, according to Australian Geographic. The taipan has a deep, dark coloration, with a lighter, brown body.
Other famous reptiles, such as the frilled lizards, as well as bigger beasts like the infamous great white shark call Australia home.
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