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Australian Animals Lesson for Kids

Instructor: April DeBord

April has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language and she has her Ed. S. in Foreign Language Education.

Have you heard the phrase 'down under'? This is another name for Australia, which is both a continent and a country. There are some really awesome animals that live there. Let's learn more about them in this lesson!

Animals of Australia

Australia is home to many animals, some of which are very different and unique to the area. Join me in the Australian outback (wilderness) for some animal watching, mate!

Australian Animals
Australian Animals

Marsupials

Marsupials have a pouch where they carry and feed their babies. They are also a kind of mammal, a type of animal that has a backbone, usually has fur and provides milk for its young. Here are some examples.

Kangaroos & Wallabies

The red kangaroo is the largest marsupial. It can run up to 35 miles per hour, which is about as fast as the speed of a car on many city streets. It has powerful back legs and a strong tail, and male kangaroos can be seen boxing each other!

Kangaroo babies, called joeys, are born the size of a tiny cherry. They start leaving the pouch at around three months. Until about eight months old, though, you can see them jump in and hang out of their mom's pouch at the first sign of trouble. The same goes for wallabies, which are cousins of the kangaroo.

Koalas

These marsupials are cute, cuddly animals that resemble small bears. Koalas spend their time eating and sleeping in eucalyptus trees. They rarely come down, and they don't need much water to survive. Their water mainly comes from their diet of eucalyptus leaves.

Wombat

These small, furry marsupials have pouches on their backs, which protect their babies from dirt and mud when they dig. They use their front legs to dig and live in holes in the ground. They come out at night to find food.

Other Mammals

Now, let's look at a few examples of mammals that are not categorized as marsupials.

Platypus and Echidna

A platypus has the beak and webbed feet of a duck, the tail of a beaver and the body and fur of an otter. It is a mammal, but it lays eggs, which is really unusual since most mammals give birth to their babies.

Just like the platypus, the echidna, or spiny anteater, lays eggs and cares for its young. Interestingly, female echidnas develop a temporary pouch on their bellies where they keep their eggs and carry their young; however, they aren't classified as marsupials. The platypus and echidna are unique to Australia, and they are the only known egg-laying mammals in the world.

Dingo

This mammal is the native dog of the Australian outback. These wild dogs often live with other dingoes and can be a pest for farmers when they hunt for food. Some dingoes may also be pets.

Birds

Australia is home to several types of birds. Let's find out more about a few of these below.

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