animals that fly

Australian Mammals that you didn’t know existed

You hear a lot about Kangaroos and Koalas and such, so I thought I’d post some animals that are unknown to lots of people, even some Aussies don’t realise we have them. Sadly most of these are on the endagered species list.

Also some fun facts added so you can have an idea of how awesome they are.

Quolls

Considered Australia’s ‘native cat’ these guys are carnivorous marsupials and have the ability to bite through bone. 4 species; Eastern Quoll, Spotted-Tailed Quoll (or Tiger Quoll), Western Quoll (or chuditch) and Northern Quoll. ranging in size from 25cm to 75 cm long.

Kultarr

Cute little insect eaters, again a marsupial. Can move at speeds of around 13km/hr. Only about 10cm long.

Bettongs

Marsupial. Of which there are 5 species (and at least another 2 extinct); Eastern Bettong, Boodie, Woylie, Northern Bettong and Rufous Rat-Kangaroo (or Rufous Bettong). They seem to get along well with wombats, where I work they enter the wombat exhibits of a night to share their food.

Bilby

Marsupial. There was once 2 species of Bilby, sadly the Lesser Bilby became extinct in the 1950s and the Greater Bilby is greatly endangered. In the same family as Bandicoots. Omnivores with backwards facing pouches (as they dig a lot this stops dirt getting in their pouch) Australian’s know these guys through the story of the Easter Bilby. Rabbits are considered a major reason for their decrease in numbers as they eat all the food and out-breed the Bilbies.

Numbat

Marsupial. Aka the banded anteater or Walpurti. Mainly eats termites. Emblem of Western Australia. Up to 45cm long. One of the few marsupials that are diurnal (active of a day). Eats up to 20,000 termites each day. Estimated population of less than 1000.

Grey-Headed Flying Fox

Aka Fruit Bat. Placental mammal. Called a flying fox because they have a fox-like face and can fly.
Babies are called pups. Megabat. Wingspan of about 1m. May travel 50kms in one night for food. Eats pollen, nectar, sap and fruit. Long distance seed distributors and plant pollenators. Each colony plants around 30,000 trees a night. Without these guys we don’t have any of our lovely bush and ecosystem that we all rely on. Have very good eyesight and no echolocation.

Greater Stick-Nest Rat

Placental mammal. Up to 26cm long. Don’t have a ratty face. Were extinct on the mainland but through breeding programs have been re-introduced. Herbivores. Chew branches to length and weave them together to make a nest which can be up to 1m high and 1.5m wide.

Other unknown Australian Mammals you can look up:
Antechinus
Pygmy Possum
Feathertail Glider (smallest glider in the world)
Southern Ningaui
Greater Glider
Potoroos
Pademelons
Eastern False Pipistrelle

Sadly lots of these could go extinct within the next 20 years, and people haven’t even had the chance to really get to appreciate them yet.
**PS the Koala is also in danger of becoming extinct in the wild in the next 20years**

flickr

Barn Owl (Tyto Alba) by Edward Finnis

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The Silent Flying of an Owl. 

The video shows how effortlessly an owl fly’s compared to other bird species. 

A pigeon that has a relatively large body and small wings needs to flap furiously to produce enough lift. A falcon has large wings that move more aggressively so the bird can gain much faster speeds. 

Both birds create large turbulence in the air and noise as a result. Comparatively, the owl is the perfect night time hunter, silently flying through the sky.