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Looking for Australian native wildlife?

Updated on May 28, 2015
LongTimeMother profile image

LTM is an Australian living on a small farm in the bush. When she travels overseas she answers many questions about Australian wildlife.

Tourists and city-dwellers generally only see Australia's native animals in zoos or wildlife parks. If you want to see a diverse range of Australian native wildlife in their natural habitat, you have to venture from the cities.


Echidna

As soon as an echidna spots you, it rolls into a ball and scratches into the ground.
As soon as an echidna spots you, it rolls into a ball and scratches into the ground. | Source

Taking photos of Australian wildlife

Spend a day or two at a farm stay, in a country motel or at the home of a friend who lives in rural Australia and you'll have a good chance of spotting native wildlife. Keep your camera at the ready.

Most Australian animals move quickly and are very difficult to photograph.

  • The wombat is probably the slowest mover but I never seem to have a camera in my pocket when one passes by.
  • Echidnas are also slow movers, although I have seen a couple of them scurry rather quickly. This year we had so many visits from echidnas that I managed to get quite a few photos.
  • Kangaroos and wallabies roam through the bushland adjoining our property and at least a handful of them venture into our yard most evenings.
  • Cockatoos, galahs and other native birds visit my gardens year-round, but most often when my orchard is fruiting.

Here's an introduction to some of the Australian native animals we see at my home. If you get out of the city and into the bush, these are the types of animals you'll hopefully get to photograph.


Kookaburras

When the laugh of a kookaburra echoes through the bush, everyone stops to look. Their call is delightful !
When the laugh of a kookaburra echoes through the bush, everyone stops to look. Their call is delightful ! | Source

Laughing Kookaburra

Kookaburras - Australia's laughing birds

My personal favourite of all Australian native wildlife is the kookaburra.

When I returned to Australia after living overseas, one of the things I was most excited about was hearing a kookaburra laugh. I cannot hear a kookaburra without smiling. Okay, grinning. Yes, to be honest, invariably I end up chuckling.

The kookaburra has such a wonderfully unique bird call. Cockatoos squawk, but kookaburras actually laugh.

One of the advantages of having kookaburras visit is the fact that they occasionally swoop down to kill and eat small snakes.

For that reason alone, they will always be welcome at our house. :)


Kookaburra impatiently waiting for gardening to begin.
Kookaburra impatiently waiting for gardening to begin. | Source

Venomous snake

The venom of this Australian Brown Snake makes it one of the deadliest snakes in the world. I emptied and lifted a large plant pot semi-buried in the ground and found this Eastern Brown beneath it.
The venom of this Australian Brown Snake makes it one of the deadliest snakes in the world. I emptied and lifted a large plant pot semi-buried in the ground and found this Eastern Brown beneath it. | Source

The deadly Eastern Brown Snake

This is my least favourite visitor.

In Australia we have 20 of the top 25 most deadly snakes in the world. Yes, as you may have heard, we have all of the top 10!

The Eastern Brown rates as the second most deadly land snake.

This snake is the reason why I am extremely cautious in my vegetable garden during spring and summer. Even a baby Brown has enough venom to kill an adult and, unfortunately, the Brown lays up to 35 eggs at a time.

Unlike some snakes that are more active at night, the Eastern Brown Snake is diurnal so it is most active during daylight hours.

Of course we occasionally have other snakes around our yard as well so we watch where we step day and night. Stomping heavily while walking will send most snakes in the other direction, but the Brown is more aggressive than most and therefore more of a concern.


Same echidna?

I had to wait a very long time to get a photo of this echidna's snout. Because they all look the same, I didn't bother naming it. :) I never know if I'm getting a repeat visit from the same echidna.
I had to wait a very long time to get a photo of this echidna's snout. Because they all look the same, I didn't bother naming it. :) I never know if I'm getting a repeat visit from the same echidna. | Source

Echidnas

Some people call them Spiny Anteaters, for obvious reasons. Most Australians just call them echidnas.

How do you pronounce it? Eeee-kid-nuh. A really long eee with a short kid and nuh.

Generally by the time I notice them, they've dug into the earth for safety - leaving only their spikes above the ground. By that stage, you have to be very patient if you want a photo. It can take a very long time before they are up and moving again. :)


Summer visitors

When they are this small, they are cute!
When they are this small, they are cute! | Source
Hard to spot against the red clay.
Hard to spot against the red clay. | Source

Lizards

We have often seen blue-tongue lizards in the garden but not this year. Sadly, the friendly blue-tongue is a target for Brown snakes.

Most of the lizards I've seen this year are small, including the tiny one in the photos. During the summer it decided to bask every day on the clay we were using to build a rammed earth wall around our fire bunker.

It had an uncanny knack of running to the spot where the shovel was aimed, slowing work considerably.

When we lived further north in the tropics, our local 'lizards' were huge big goannas that regularly stole all the hens' eggs from the hen house.

I am enjoying having tiny lizards in the garden for a change.


Australian birds

White cockatoo calling its friends to say it can see fruit on my trees and they should all come for a feed!
White cockatoo calling its friends to say it can see fruit on my trees and they should all come for a feed! | Source

White cockatoos

Lots of homes have pet cockatoos. They become part of the family.

For those of us who live on farms in Australia, however, the white cockatoo causes more trouble than you could imagine.

I have had a flock of cockatoos strip an entire fruit tree before I'm even out of bed.

When the sun rises at 5am, they've only had an hour's head start on me - yet by the time I reach the kitchen window all the fruit has been dropped to the ground with at least one big bite taken from all of them.

White cockatoos are the reason why I spend so much money buying nets for my fruit trees.


Galahs

The galah is another regular visitor. Actually, to be more accurate I should say 'hundreds of galahs' are regular visitors. lol.
The galah is another regular visitor. Actually, to be more accurate I should say 'hundreds of galahs' are regular visitors. lol. | Source

Galahs

There's an expression here in Australia that refers to the grey and pink galah.

"Oh, you silly galah!"

Compared to the cockatoo, the galah is nowhere near as resourceful and clever.

Galahs tend to travel in a pack. You can often spot a large group of them on the ground pecking at the grass ... with a fruit tree standing untouched a short distance away.

I like them. That's my kind of bird. lol.



Birds in the Australian bush

Galahs and white cockatoos flying.
Galahs and white cockatoos flying. | Source

Black cockatoos

Black cockatoos spend more time munching on pine nuts high in the conifers, leaving my fruit trees alone. They're noisy, but they're nice. :)
Black cockatoos spend more time munching on pine nuts high in the conifers, leaving my fruit trees alone. They're noisy, but they're nice. :) | Source

Diverse variety of birds

We have kookaburras and parrots and all kinds of other birds in our garden during spring and summer.

Many are tiny and they flit from one plant to another in my vegetable garden.

As I make my way through the hundreds - perhaps thousands - of photos I've taken during the last few months I'm sure to find a lot more pictures of native birds and other Australian animals that visit my yard.

I'll add some more then. :)

Crimson Rosella

A crimson rosella spots a snack in my garden. :)
A crimson rosella spots a snack in my garden. :) | Source

Sometimes wildlife is not so wild

The following photos are not taken in my yard, but it amazed me so much to see a kangaroo relaxing in someone's garden as I drove by that I couldn't resist adding a couple of snaps.

To appreciate my surprise at capturing these photos I should explain that I was driving past the garden when I saw movement. I actually reversed my car to see if I could spot a kangaroo hopping away.

It was only when I returned my gaze to the front of the yard instead of the bush behind that I noticed a kangaroo at the fenceline. I honestly thought it must be stuffed.

Despite the noise of my car as I reversed more to get a better shot, it was remained near the fence and watched me. In time it hopped away, proving that it wasn't injured.

This was another magical moment courtesy of our local wildlife. :)

How bold is this kangaroo?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I thought this kangaroo was just a garden decoration. One that was stuffed and put at the front fence to catch the eye of passers by ... until it moved!!lol. Totally unflustered, the kangaroo was on the garden side of the fence - within metres of a house - in the middle of the day!
I thought this kangaroo was just a garden decoration. One that was stuffed and put at the front fence to catch the eye of passers by ... until it moved!!
I thought this kangaroo was just a garden decoration. One that was stuffed and put at the front fence to catch the eye of passers by ... until it moved!! | Source
lol. Totally unflustered, the kangaroo was on the garden side of the fence - within metres of a house - in the middle of the day!
lol. Totally unflustered, the kangaroo was on the garden side of the fence - within metres of a house - in the middle of the day! | Source

The best places to see Australian animals in the wild

You can have your own wildlife experience in the Australian bush - and often also in the outlying suburbs of any city.

To find out where the best places are to see native animals in the wild, ask the locals. Most people know where the local kangaroo mobs are most likely to be seen.

For instance in Perth, Western Australia there's a cemetery in the northern suburbs where kangaroos graze at dusk every evening - and in Canberra, Australia's national capital, kangaroos have regular paths they travel to feed.

If you are out in rural Australia (perhaps just driving from one city to the next), stop in a small town and ask the locals where is a good place to view the local wildlife. You'll probably have to sit and be patient to get a good view - but the effort will be worth it.

Have your camera at hand. When the time comes, you'll want to capture some photos to show your friends!


© 2013 LongTimeMother

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    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are very fortunate to have caught these animals on film Most of them do not readily pose for us, do they?

      Interesting to read and see the animals from Australia. That is a place I long to visit.

      Angels are on the way to you and yours this evening. ps

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 3 years ago from The City of Generals

      Beautiful Australian animals, LongTimeMother. I admire your creativity taking photos of those animals in your yard. That for the snake must be a tough one! Lucky you are for such nature-filled yard. Lovely photos! Thanks for sharing them here. Blessings all the time :=)-Tonette

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is FABULOUS! Glad that you have done this story, as it gives me the chance to see your wonderful birds and animals. Thanks so much, even for the snakes.

    • profile image

      Alise- Evon 3 years ago

      And you stuck around to take a photo of that snake? You are brave (wish I could underline the word "are.")

      The funniest book I ever read about Australia (probably also the only [under-lined] book I've ever read about it, was Bill Bryson's In a Sunburned Country. Unfortunately, he also had you- well, maybe just me- believing you couldn't possibly survive long there due to the inordinate number of really! dangerous! creatures that live there. It's really a pleasure being able to get to know someone (yourself) who successfully walks her own part of the continent day by day and wonderfully shares it with us.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi pstraubie48. I do hope you come and visit Australia. Bring your camera because there's lots of unique sights to capture. You're right, though. It is hard to get the wildlife to pose. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Thanks, Tonipet. Even when living in cities we had lots of beautiful native birds visiting - but for the ground dwelling wildlife there's no place like the country. I do love living in a natural environment.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi aviannovice. The pressure is on now. I'll have to make more of an effort with my photos, lol. I've seen how beautiful your pics are!! Thanks for the visit. :)

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Ah, the snake.

      Yes, Alise-Evon, it did feel a little brave ... but as soon as I saw it I backed away. I just happened to have a camera with me because I spent an entire week or more reminding myself to constantly take photos for future gardening and off-grid lifestyle hubs.

      Getting that photo was more the result of good timing than good management. :) I haven't read Bill Bryson's book but I can understand why you would get that impression. It really helps to keep your eyes open when you're walking around Australia ... or swimming! lol.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 3 years ago from New York

      LongTimeMother,

      Oh, this was so cool! Last year an Australian family moved into our neighborhood and the husband joined the fire department. We spent the first two months he was here asking him about kangaroos and wombats.... like little kids! :D I've never heard of that echidna; it's kind of cute and rather interesting. You also have some beautiful birds, I could take the lizards too, but that snake, uh uh!

      Very nice hub... I learned something! Nice pictures too!

      Up and more ~ Sharing too!

      Cat

    • LongTimeMother profile image
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      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Thanks, Cat. Glad to hear that wombats have raised their international profile. lol. Hope you're saying "G'day Aussie!" every time you see members of the family. :)

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi! LongTimeMother, you got some great photos here of Australian animals. I don't like snake much I am so scared of them. The echidna looks like a hedgehog here in England, quite cute. Thank you for sharing a great hub. Voted up.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      lol. I'm scared of the snakes as well, liesl5858. I just looked at the photo again and realised it makes me look much braver than I am. I had a long lens on my camera, so I wasn't as close as it looks. I was close when I lifted the pot and exposed the snake, but I backed off pretty quickly. Thanks for the vote. :)

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 3 years ago from East Coast

      The birds and Echidna are things I'd love to see. I had heard of the Kookaburras but didn't know they sounded like that :) You are very lucky to see such a good selection of creatures right at home.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi Express10. I hope you get a chance to visit Australia. The wildlife is truly unique. Yes, I am very lucky. It is lovely to feel connected to the natural world. :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      LongTimeMother,

      I have visited Australia several times and each time I have been delighted with the diversity of the creatures living there - especially loved the Echidna and of course and the Kookaburra and the Parrots. The ants were something spectacular - something to please everyone. Would love to visit again.

    • LongTimeMother profile image
      Author

      LongTimeMother 3 years ago from Australia

      Hi sallybea. You are the first person I have ever heard comment on our ants, lol. Good to hear you enjoy our wildlife!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I like your laughing kookaburra. The echidna reminds me or our porcupines because of its spines -- the echidna's nose is a bit longer. Very interesting article, and a chance to see wildlife a bit different from our own here in the states. Great photos!

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