Australia has a wide array of animal species. There are around 240 species of mammals, 800 species of birds, 380 species of reptiles, 122 species of frogs, and 180 species of freshwater fish. An impressive 93% of amphibians, 90% of insects, 90% of fish, 89% of reptiles, and 83% of mammals, are endemic to Australia, i.e., not native to any other country. Read more →
The most recognised group of animals in Australia are marsupials which are a class of mammal. Notable marsupials include Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils, and Possums. Marsupials are almost entirely associated with Australia with 140 species being endemic. However, the nearby island of New Guinea has some native marsupials like the flying fox.
A more unusual class of mammal are Monotremes which include the Echidna and Platypus. The latter is unusual in that it lays eggs, is venomous, has a bill like a duck, a tail like a beaver, feet similar to an otter, and is a mammal. European naturalists were initially baffled when they were first sent a sample. Some considering the animal to be an elaborate hoax. Other animals of note include the Dingo which is Australia's native dog. They are related to wolves and regarded as unchanged descendants of an early ancestor to modern dogs.
Australia is also one of the world's hotspots for birds. From the second tallest bird in the world, the emu, and the third tallest, the rare Cassowary down to Cockatoos, Kookaburras, and a huge group of colourful parrots.
Fauna that poses danger to people include spiders such as the Funnel Web and Redback. Australia has most of the world's most venomous snakes. In order of the most venomous, there is the Belcher's Sea Snake, Inland Taipan, Australian Brown Snake, Tiger Snake, Beaked Sea Snake, Death Adder, Copperhead, and the Red-bellied Black. Both salt and freshwater crocodiles are found in the tropics, in the top third of of the Australia continent. Sea creatures to be avoided include some sea snakes, sharks and the Box Jelly Fish, which are many times more venomous than snakes. The Box Jelly Fish or Stingers as they are also known are only a threat during the summer season in tropical Australia.