Check out these strange facts about Australian animals near Melbourne – then join us on tour to see them live!
Australia is home to many of the world’s most recognisable animals, including kangaroos, koalas, emus, wombats and Tasmanian Devils.
The country’s isolated position means that its wildlife has evolved without outside interference. In addition, many native animals are only found in Australia and nowhere else on Earth.
To view these diverse and interesting Australian animals near Melbourne – join us on tour! On an easy day trip from the city you can relax and let your guide show you the way.
Whether you are viewing them in the wild or up close in an animal sanctuary – it is sure to be a memorable experience.
Fact #1 – Emus can run as fast as 45km/h (28mph)!
The Australian Emu is a large, flightless bird. An emu’s wings are greatly reduced, but it’s legs are long and powerful. Hence it is able to reach great speeds when running. It is Australia’s tallest native bird, reaching between 1.6 m and 1.9 m when standing. It is also one of the world’s tallest birds.
Adult Emus have grey-brown feathers except for the neck and head, which are most naked and a bluish-black colour. After a female Emu has laid a dozen or so green eggs, she leaves the male to incubate them on his own. After the eggs have hatched, the striped chicks are looked after by the male, with no contribution from the female.
The emu was one of the first birds to be discovered in Australia by Europeans. In addition, the Kangaroo and Emu were chosen to be the two animals on the Australian Coat of Arms because they cannot walk backwards. As such, this was meant to reflect a forward-thinking culture.
Where to see emus near Melbourne
You can view wild emus on our Grampians National Park Day Tour or our Wilsons Promontory National Park tour. You can also get a close up look at an emu at Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Tour. All tours are day trips departing from Melbourne.
Fact #2 – Wombat poo is shaped like a cube!
Wombats are amongst the largest burrowing mammals in the world. These marsupials have brown, tan or grey fur and can measure up to 1.3m long and weigh 36kg. Considering their size and weight it’s impressive that they can run at 40kph.
They are expert diggers with short, muscular legs and sharp claws. The digestive process of a wombat takes between 14 and 18 days. They have very long digestive tracts, to absorb as much nutrients and water as possible. As such they have poo that is very dry and compacted.
Wombats live in a variety of habitats – forests, alpine mountains, heathlands and coastal shrublands. There are many different species, but they all live in burrows. They often create complex networks with tunnels and chambers that can extend up to 150m in radius.
Where to see wombats near Melbourne
You may be able to view wild wombats on our Wilsons Promontory National Park tour. You can also get a close up look at wombats at Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Tour. Both
tours are day trips departing from Melbourne.
Fact #3 – The longest jump recorded by a kangaroo is a whopping 9 metres (30 feet) in a single leap!
Kangaroos are perhaps Australia’s most recognisable native animals. There are 4 different species of kangaroo in Australia, with the Red Kangaroo being the largest. The largest Big Red ever seen was 2.1m tall and weighed 91kgs.
While Kangaroos are considered a national icon, with over 40 million estimated throughout the country, they can also be considered a pest in some locations and are sometimes culled.
Female kangaroos have a pouch on their belly to hold their young, called joeys. Newborn joeys measure just 2.5 centimetres. After birth, they travel unassisted through their mother’s thick fur to the comfort and safety of her pouch.
At around 4 months, the joey can emerge from the pouch for short trips, But it’s not until ten months that it is mature enough to leave the pouch for good.
Where to see kangaroos near Melbourne
You can view wild kangaroos on our Grampians National Park Day Tour or our Wilsons Promontory National Park tour. You can also get a close up look and hand-feed kangaroos at Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Tour. All tours are day trips departing from Melbourne.
Fact #4 – Koalas sleep for about 20 hours per day!
A cute, cuddly, recognisable Aussie animal is the koala. These mammals eat only eucalyptus leaves, which is not an energy-rich diet. Because of this, when not feasting on leaves, they spend their time dozing in the branches.
Koalas live in the eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia. They have grey fur with a cream-coloured chest, and strong, clawed feet, perfect for living in the branches of trees! They are usually about 60cm to 85cm long, and weigh about 14kg.
When a baby koala is born, it immediately climbs up to its mother’s pouch. Blind and earless, a joey uses its strong sense of touch and smell, as well as its natural instinct, to find its way to the pouch.
The joey then grows and develops in the pouch for about six months. Following this, the youngster rides around on its mother’s back for a further six months, only using the pouch to feed.
Where to see koalas near Melbourne
You can view wild kangaroos on our Great Ocean Road Day Tour. You can also get a close up look at koalas at Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Tour. Both tours are day trips departing from Melbourne.
Fact #5 – Tasmanian Devils have the strongest bite per body size of any mammal!
Tasmanian devils are well known Aussie mammals. They are scavengers and their oversized heads allow them to open their jaws up to 80 degrees wide. Because of this, their jaws carry enough force to crush through bone.
In addition, they can bite through even the strongest of metals – they have been known to break the cages of livestock and other animals. However, usually the devils use their incredibly strong and powerful jaws to consume game or roadkill. They will eat every part of their prey.
When the first European settlers came to Tasmania they heard unearthly shrieks and growls from deep within the bush. It caused them to imagine that demons surrounded them in the wilderness. Hence the animals making the noises were called Tasmanian devils.
Where to see Tasmanian Devils near Melbourne
You can view Tasmanian Devils at Moonlit Sanctuary on our Phillip Island Day Tour departing from Melbourne.
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au