Why are many Australian animals unique

Animals Australia: peculiarities of a unique fauna

The animal world in Australia has a very special biodiversity. In the course of evolution, species were able to develop in a way that cannot be observed anywhere else in the world in this form. A large part of the local species is endemic and therefore only exists in this country. Reasons for the unique fauna of the country are the long geographical isolation, the geological stability of the 5th continent as well as an unusual consequence of climatic changes. Some living things have barely evolved for several million years because they have found their perfect ecological niche, which has also not undergone any changes. Other animals, on the other hand, have been introduced by humans in recent decades and are now seriously threatening the country's ecosystem.

 

Performance & description of the fauna

In the following, the most typical animals of Australia are listed, briefly described and linked internally, so that if you are interested you can easily access the relevant article. At the end of this article there is also a complete overview, which can also be used via an internal link (by clicking on an image).

 

Rural dwellers

The best-known animals in Australia are the marsupial mammals, above all the kangaroos. The kangaroo species range from the small rat kangaroos and tree kangaroos to the shaggy rabbit kangaroo to the gray and red giant kangaroo. The koala that lives in eucalyptus forests is probably just as well known and spends a large part of the day sleeping and eating. Further representatives of the bag mammals are wombat, nasal sac, bag marten, bag mouse, bag devil (or Tasmanian devil) and ant bag (or called numbat). Among the most amazing creatures Down Unders, however, are the monotons, which represent a true miracle for every evolutionary scientist. The two bridgehogs that lay eggs and still suckle should be listed here: the ant urchin (Echidna) and the platypus (platypus). The rare platypus is an excellent swimmer and spends an extraordinary amount of time hunting in the water. The Echidna, on the other hand, feels at home as a rural dweller in many regions of the red continent.

About 800 species of birds live in Australia, including the flightless ratites emu and cassowary. We are mainly familiar with the parrot parakeet and the cockatiel as a representative of the cockatoo. But the kookaburra (laughing Hans) and the extremely colorful Lorikeets also characterize the striking bird world. Of course, the numerous poisonous snakes (e.g. Brown Snake) and spiders (e.g. Sydney funnel-web spider), which have more life-threatening species than in any other country in the world, are also noteworthy.

Of the higher mammals, many species were introduced (intentionally and unintentionally) by the European settlers. They include hare, rabbit, fox, deer, horse, donkey, cattle, pig, water buffalo, dromedary, cat, mouse and rat. The cane toad, which lives on land and in the water, has also been imported (with serious consequences for the native fauna), which has caused devastating damage in recent years and its nationwide distribution seems to be almost impossible to stop. In the meantime, the Australian government has passed laws to protect nature and created numerous nature reserves to prevent worse consequences. Nevertheless, many animal species are still endangered and seriously threatened with extinction.

 

Water dwellers

The crocodiles are certainly one of the most famous water dwellers in the Down Unders. A distinction is made between the giant saltwater crocodile (also known as the estuarine crocodile or saltie) and the smaller freshwater crocodile (also known as the freshie). As representatives of the reptiles, they move both in water and on land. Even if the biodiversity in the rivers is very high, most of the approximately 4,500 fish species live in the sea. The best known and most feared fish are the great white shark and the tiger shark. The greatest danger in the water, however, comes from the poisonous jellyfish species (see box jellyfish), which occur in tropical waters especially in summer (rainy season).

But the cone shell that lives in coral reefs also has a poison that is life-threatening for humans and that is actually intended to kill its prey. A special experience is watching whales, dolphins and sea turtles near the coast of the country. There are many places for this where the chances are particularly good to see the popular marine animals. The Great Barrier Reef offers the best opportunity to observe marine life of all kinds. The world's largest coral reef forms a unique ecosystem and is a habitat for countless Australian marine animals.

Attached is another video that wonderfully documents the biodiversity and Australian fauna and relates above all to the underwater world in the Ningaloo Reef. Many thanks to Dr. Jörg Vierke, who created this video and made it available to us for integration.

 

All animals at a glance

 

First impressions in the video