Did you know that Australia chose animals that couldn’t easily move backwards for their National Coat of Arms to symbolise their forward progression? In their first coat of arms, the banner also contained the words, “Advance Australia”, developing on this theme.
However, when it comes to Australia’s native animals, the fact that emus and kangaroos struggle to move backwards is one of the lesser interesting facts. After all, cube-shaped droppings, Frankenstein’s monster, and the world’s oldest surviving mammal are hard contenders to beat. Hire a car in Brisbane or the Gold Coast, and go on a scavenger hunt for some of these weird and wonderful animals.
Kangaroos The only large animal to use hopping as their means of locomotion, kangaroos’ legs don’t move independently of one another on land, yet kick separately when swimming. Their top speed is 65km/h, which is faster than a racehorse, and each leap can take them up to 7.6m in distance, and 3m into the air. Not only that, a female kangaroo controls when she gestates and can determine the sex of her offspring. Additionally, due to their complicated reproductive system, perpetual pregnancy is a possibility. WombatsNov 4, 2018 at 8:39am PST
- Wombats are the closest relatives koalas have, and a group of them is called a ‘wisdom’.
- As they spend so much of their time digging burrows, the pouch that they use to nurse their young faces backwards, preventing it from filling with dirt.
- Their teeth, or incisors, grow continuously. They graze almost constantly, and some of the tougher plants they eat wear their teeth down.
- They produce cubic poo. It’s not a myth! The only animal known to do so, diet and a long digestive process come into play in the poo’s strange shape. However, with poor eyesight and an excellent sense of smell, excrement also serves a purpose in letting other wombats know who lives where. Considering its shape, it doesn’t easily roll away, creating a perfect marker!
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Oct 6, 2017 at 10:22am PDT
- Small brains and a life of feeding on leaves that lack decent nutrients is thought to cause the koala’s need for excessive sleep – 18 hours a day in fact!
- Just like humans, koalas have opposable thumbs useful for climbing. They’re also excellent swimmers.
- Eating about a kilogram of leaves a day to get the nutrients needed, koalas keep snacks with them, using pouches in their cheeks to carry the leaves.
Nov 5, 2018 at 10:00am PST
Nov 2, 2018 at 6:23pm PDT
- Along with the platypus, echidnas are one of the only two egg-laying mammals that exist.
- Young echidnas are called ‘puggles’.
- Fed milk like other mammals, puggles don’t have teats to suckle on. Instead, the milk is released through special pores in the mother’s pouch and the baby echidna licks it up.
- They are the world’s oldest surviving mammals!
Sep 5, 2018 at 4:00am PDT