ANIMALS OF AUSTRALIA
Meet the animals that reside at Fort Rickey Children’s Discovery Zoo who originated in Australia:
A member of a Pogona reptile genus that has 8 lizard species, they are best known under the common name; “Bearded Dragon”. These versatile reptiles are adept climbers, and spend time in trees and bushes or basking on rocks in the sun. They are known to be found near human habitations and have become common household pets.
Bearded Dragons are found throughout much of Australia in a wide range of habitats such as deserts, shrublands and Eucalypt woodlands.
Before European explorers had reached Australia, it was believed that all swans were white. Dutch mariner, Antounie Caen, was the first to be amazed at the sight of Australia’s Black swans on the Shark Bay in 1636. Explorer Willem de Vlamingh captured two of these creatures on Australia’s Swan River and returned with them to Europe to prove their existence. From that point on, black swans and Australia have been closely linked.
Black Swans are found in the wetlands of Australia and New Zealand. They are nomadic birds with no set migratory pattern, they have opportunistic responses to either rainfall or drought.
Relative to their size, Black Swans have the longest neck of all swan species.
Mating Season: February to September
Gestation: 35-40 days of incubation
Litter size: 4-7 eggs
The emu is Australia’s largest bird, standing about 6 feet tall, and weighing up to 120 lb. Emus cannot fly but they are fast runners – up to 30 mi per hour. Surprisingly, they are also strong swimmers.
Some scientists consider emus to be living dinosaurs because their bones and joints are similar to dinosaurs’. Their ability to store fat allows them to go without food for long periods of time. Emus can defend themselves with tremendously powerful forward kicks.
They eat great quantities of caterpillars, grasshoppers, and masses of the burrs that tangle sheep wool, which makes them helpful to farmers.
Mating season: April to September
Gestation: 56 days of incubation
An emu can lay between 20-30 eggs per season
Wallabies are members of the kangaroo clan found primarily in Australia and on nearby islands. There are many wallaby species, grouped roughly by habitat: shrub wallabies, brush wallabies, and rock wallabies. Hare wallabies are named for their size and their hare-like behavior.
These marsupials also have large and powerful tails. Wallaby tails are not prehensile (gripping), but are useful nonetheless. The animals use them for balance when moving and to prop themselves up in a sitting posture.
Wallabies are herbivores, and the bulk of their diet is grasses and plants. Their elongated faces leave plenty of jaw room for the large, flat teeth necessary to chew their vegetarian meals.
Mating Season: February to March
Gestation: 30-31 days
Litter size: 1 Joey