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Animals to look out for on your cruise to Australia
Published on 22 Sep 2023
Australia’s rich tapestry of wildlife showcases both its uniqueness and diversity. From the majestic great white shark patrolling the coastal waters to the iconic kangaroo bounding across vast landscapes, the continent beckons with unparalleled encounters. Cuddly koalas cling to eucalyptus trees, exuding serenity, while the formidable saltwater crocodile lurks in Northern wetlands, embodying nature’s raw power. Venture south to meet the feisty Tasmanian Devil with its infectious charisma and don’t miss the industrious wombat, digging intricate burrows. Together, these creatures form a captivating mosaic that defines Australia’s wild heart.
Common Name: Great White Shark
Scientific Name: Carcharodon Carcharias
Size: Up to 21 feet long
Weight: Up to 4,500 pounds
Australia’s great white shark, an apex predator revered and misunderstood, cruises the continent’s southern waters. Majestically graceful yet powerfully built, this creature embodies the wild spirit of Australia’s vast oceans. Its slate-grey hue provides perfect camouflage amidst the deep blues, allowing it to masterfully hunt.
An essential component of marine ecosystems, it helps maintain balance and health beneath the waves. While often misrepresented as a ruthless hunter, interactions with humans are infrequent. Australia’s initiatives prioritise conservation and understanding of this magnificent species, fostering coexistence and dispelling myths. The Great White remains a testament to nature’s unparalleled design and Australia’s commitment to preservation.
Common Name: Red Kangaroo
Scientific Name: Macropus Rufus
Size: Up to 5.25 feet tall with a tail of up to 43.5 inches long
Weight: Up to 200 pounds
Australia’s kangaroo, an iconic symbol of the vast outback, bounds across landscapes with unmatched grace. These marsupials, carrying their young in pouches, symbolise the rich biodiversity of the continent. From arid plains to coastal bushlands, their powerful hind legs and distinctive tails have evolved to master the challenges of diverse terrains.
Kangaroos not only hold cultural significance for Indigenous Australians, but they also play a crucial role in ecological systems by grazing and controlling plant growth. As the sun sets over the horizon, the silhouette of a kangaroo leaping becomes a captivating spectacle, representing the untamed heart of Australia.
Common Name: Koala
Scientific Name: Phascolarctos Cinereus
Size: Up to 33.5 inches
Weight: Up to 20 pounds
Nestled high among eucalyptus trees, koalas are the embodiment of relaxed charm. These grey, fuzzy marsupials, with their button noses and large round ears, have become a symbol of Australia’s unique wildlife. Koalas thrive on a diet of eucalyptus leaves, possessing a specialised digestive system to detoxify the tough foliage. Surprisingly, they drink very little, obtaining most of their hydration from their leafy meals.
Threatened by habitat loss and climate change, conservation efforts are crucial for their survival. Observing a koala in the wild, munching leisurely or dozing, offers a moment of serene connection to Australia’s rich natural heritage.
Common Name: Saltwater Crocodile
Scientific Name: Crocodylus Porosus
Size: Up to 17 feet
Weight: Up to 1,000 pounds
Saltwater crocodiles, colloquially known as salties, reign as the world’s largest living reptiles, with some mature males reaching over 20 feet in length. Found predominantly in the tidal estuaries and mangrove swamps of northern Australia, these ancient predators are powerful swimmers capable of covering vast distances at sea.
Sporting armoured skin, dagger-like teeth and a formidable bite force, salties are apex predators, expertly hunting a diverse range of prey. Tourists are often awed by their stealth and agility, especially during river cruises. However, their unpredictability and territorial nature necessitate respect and caution. These majestic creatures, representing the wild heart of Australia, serve as reminders of the continent’s primordial past.
Common Name: Tasmanian Devil
Scientific Name: Sarcophilus Harrisii
Size: Up to 31 inches
Weight: Up to 26 pounds
The Tasmanian Devil, native to the rugged wilderness of Tasmania, is the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. With a stocky, muscular build and powerful jaws, it has a fierce reputation, often exemplified by its bone-chilling nocturnal screams and aggressive feeding frenzies.
Contrary to their fierce demeanour, these creatures are primarily scavengers, playing a vital role in their ecosystem by cleaning up carcasses. Their black fur and white facial markings make them distinct, but they’re currently endangered due to a rare facial tumour disease. Beyond their tough exterior, devils are deeply embedded in Australian lore, symbolising the untamed spirit of the island’s unique wilderness.
Common Name: Wombat
Scientific Name: Vombatus Ursinus
Size: Up to 47 inches
Weight: Up to 80 pounds
The wombat, a burrowing herbivore native to Australia, is a stocky marsupial with a distinctive barrel-shaped body and a robust build. These creatures, often likened to stubby teddy bears, have a unique backwards-facing pouch that keeps their offspring protected while digging.
Mainly nocturnal, wombats feed on grasses and roots. Their cube-shaped droppings, a quirky characteristic, help mark territories without rolling away. With a toughened rear, wombats can block burrow entrances against predators. They’re known for their slow pace but can surprisingly muster a sprint when threatened. This charming, sometimes cheeky, animal embodies the quirky diversity of Australian wildlife.