6 Australian animals you never knew existed

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speartooth shark australia

Almost everyone in the world can name at least one or two Australian animals.

Australia is home to some of the most unique animals in the world. While animals such as  Koalas and Kangaroos often steal the spotlight, this education series article is aimed to help students or anyone who is looking to learn about some of the more lesser known (and fascinating) animals in Australia.

Musky Rat-Kangaroos (durrgim yuri)

musky rat kangaroo

The Musky Rat Kangaroo is having identity problems at the moment. Just like Dingoes, scientists can’t agree on how to classify the Musky Rat Kangaroo. It was previously believed to belong to the same subfamily as the larger Potoroo but scientists are now placing it in a subfamily of pre-historic rat kangaroos, many of which are extinct. Thankfully though, the Musky Rat-Kangaroo population is very healthy even though they are only found in the Daintree Rainforest region. They share characteristics of both kangaroos and even possums.

Speartooth Sharks

speartooth shark teeth

Australia has a reputation for sharks, but it seems the Great White Shark steals all the headlines. One shark that deserves a bit of attention is the Speartooth Shark (pictured at the top of this article). As the name suggests, this shark has teeth which start off wide at the bottom, become narrow in the middle and have what looks like a spearhead at the top of each tooth. Apart from the teeth, these sharks look a lot like other sharks, however you won’t be able to find them at sea as they live in dark muddy waters of the rivers in Cape York and the Northern Territory. Speartooth sharks are currently listed as endangered.

Corroborree Frogs

corroborree frog
Image credit: Dave Hunter/OEH

These beautiful frogs are currently listed as critically endangered. These frogs are not only special because of their vivid colouring, they are the only species of frogs in the world which are able to produce poison on their own. Other poisonous frogs around the world obtain poison through their diet. There are two species, the Southern and Northern Corroborree frog. It is estimated that there are only around 200 Southern Corroborree frogs left in the wild which makes it Australia’s most endangered species. Corroborree frogs can be found in Australia’s Snowy Mountain region.

Boongary (Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroos)

Boongary Lumholtz's tree kangaroo

Boongary also known as the Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo are the smallest of all tree kangaroos. They aren’t very small though as they have a body that is slightly larger than a Koala with beautiful long, shiny tails. Boongary also look like they are wearing cute little black socks on their front and hind paws. Boongary can be found in the rain-forests around Atherton in North Queensland.

Long-Tailed Planigales

long-tailed-planigale
Image credit: Lochman Transparencies

With a 6cm (Head-Body length), the Long-Tailed Planigale is the smallest Marsupial found in Australia and one of the most smallest Mammals in the world. Despite its size, the Long-Tailed Planigale is not endangered. They are found across Northern Australia from the Kimberley region and inland across to western Queensland. Their populations are found in clusters which makes finding them very difficult.

Spotted-Tailed Quolls

SpottedTailedQuoll

This subspecies of the Tiger Quoll finds itself isolated to a tiny pocket of land within the Daintree rain-forest. Don’t be fooled by their cute appearance, these cute little marsupials are carnivorous and despite their size are regarded as one of Australia’s most ferocious animals. That’s a pretty big call when Australia is home to other wild animals such as Salt Water Crocodiles, Sharks, Snakes & Cassowaries. Did you know Quolls were called native cats up until the 1960’s? The word Quoll is the original name for the animal and comes  from the Guugu Yimithirr language.

Well that’s our list of 6 animals that we think most people have never heard of. Did you already know some of the animals before reading this? Are there other animals you would like to see added to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

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