The dry arid climate of the Australian Outback doesn’t quite seem like it’d be conducive to life. So, it’s captivating to see the thriving flora and fauna and all the fascinating creatures that live here.
The Outback is full of mystery and intrigue, made even more enigmatic due to the dangerous animals that live here. The list of animals is long and diverse – from venomous snakes to hopping roos and from herbivores to hardcore carnivores; an amazing ecosystem can be found in the Aussie Outback.
Moreover, there is little to no human presence in the Outback. Most people who live here limit themselves to the opal field. So, they are mostly miners. Otherwise, you might also find trekking enthusiasts who are here to spot the wildlife and take advantage of the rugged train.
The good news is that you don’t actually have to go there to spot these amazing animals because we bring them to you. Put on your explorer gear, and let’s explore the wilderness that is the Australian OutbackOur favorites include:
Top Animals You Can Find in the Australian Outback
1. Sand Goanna
The Outback is home to many types of lizards, but we believe that the Sand Goanna is the most unique of all. It is also known as the Australian Monitor, Racehorse Goanna and Sand Monitor.
The head of a Sand Goanna is like that of a snake, but the rest of the body is smaller, with yellow-ringed spots and greyish skin. The tails are typically white or yellow.
This formidable species of the large Australian monitor lizard has made its home in the woodlands and grasslands across eastern and northern Australia. You can find them living in caves that keep them safe from predators while also providing shelter from inclement weather.
The Sand Goannas are carnivores that eat insects, carrion, birds and anything smaller than them that’s commonly found in the Outback, and they have quite the appetite. Adults of the species can even attack and eat small mammals, crustaceans, large insects, snakes and eggs. They are also scavengers and can grow up to weigh 6 kg, and they can eat quite a lot in a day. It also helps that they are diurnal species, i.e., they sleep at night and stay up throughout the day, taking advantage of the sunlight to see their prey and attack.
This lizard also has a very well-developed sense of smell, but they explore their settings using the tongue. Moreover, it seems like the Sand Goanna is immune to snake venom and can easily kill and eat the most horrifying species found in the outback, like the Inland Taipan snake.
While the rest of the world enjoys their foxes, jackals, wolves and coyotes, Australia has something they don’t. The Dingo. These attention-grabbing, wolf-like canines are very dangerous and quite capable of killing humans. But that isn’t the first impression you’ll get from them, which makes them even more lethal.
Dingoes are naturally curious animals, and they often approach people to take a closer look. If you see one approaching, walk the other way, because this nosiness often results in them biting humans, sometimes quite brutally.
They move fast and have been known to circle and chase their prey. They can even attack and tear up tents and steal things. Dingoes truly are wild erratic animals and must be treated with caution. Never feed them, don’t leave food or bait lying around the campsite, and if you do come across a dingo, let it take whatever it wants. It is not worth the fight. Just calmly back away.
Outback travelers commonly fear encountering snakes, but in reality, the vibrations from your footsteps will usually alert snakes to your presence, causing them to slither away before you get too close. Snakes typically only bite in self-defense, so if you do happen to come across one, it’s best to freeze and avoid sudden movements that might agitate the snake and cause it to attack.
However, Australian snakes are considered some of the most dangerous in the world, but as long as you give them space and don’t provoke them, they will typically leave you alone. If you are traveling with another person and encounter a snake, the best course of action is to have the person furthest from the snake throw something in a different direction to distract it while you back away.
Of all the species that live here, Taipan remains the deadliest of snakes found in the Outback. And for good reason; the venom it spews in one bite can kill a hundred men.
In the Australian outback, there are two types of crocodiles: saltwater and freshwater. These are found in northern Australia and are most active during their breeding season from September to May.
Saltwater crocodiles are extremely dangerous, as they are large, intelligent, cunning, unpredictable, and aggressive. They have been responsible for several fatal accidents in recent years, and while most attacks are on livestock or pets, humans have been on the wrong end too.
Freshwater crocodiles, on the other hand, are shy fish-eaters. They pretty much leave people alone unless provoked. Nonetheless, they do have sharp teeth, so it is best to keep your distance.
Avoid standing on overhanging logs, as saltwater crocodiles can jump and attack from the water. Also, avoid places where cattle or native animals drink, and never return to the same water’s edge at the same time. If you are unsure about whether an area is safe, ask locals or the nearest tourist information center for assurance.
In Australia, most spiders are harmless, but there are two species in the Outback to watch out for: Funnel-web spiders and Redback spiders. Funnel-web spiders are among the world’s most dangerous spiders, and their bite requires immediate medical attention.
Redback spiders, a member of the black widow family, have a dorsal red stripe on their back and can be found in dry and dark places. Their bites are very painful and can be deadly to children and the elderly.
However, one of the most well-known is the Funnel-web spider, which is considered one of the world’s most dangerous spiders. They are typically found in moist habitats, such as rainforests, but also inhabit dry areas. They are large, aggressive spiders with a shiny, hairless body and powerful jaws.
Another notable species found in the Outback is the Trapdoor spider. It constructs a burrow with a hinged lid made of soil and silk. The spider hides in the burrow and waits for prey to pass by, then ambushes it.
Male kangaroos are usually called old ken, bucks, or jacks. And female kangaroos go by jills, doe, or flyers. Baby kangaroos are called joeys. Call them what you may; we call them iconic. Kangaroos are one of Australia’s most renowned animals, and they are especially prevalent in the outback.
Moreover, there are many reasons why kangaroos in the Australian outback are amazing. First of all, they are unique in their ability to hop all over the place. They have powerful hind legs that allow them to cover large distances with incredible speed and efficiency, making them well-adapted to the vast open spaces of the outback.
Next, kangaroos have developed a range of adaptations that help them survive in harsh environments. For example, they are able to conserve water by producing concentrated urine, and their digestive systems are well-adapted to extract moisture from dry vegetation.
Overall, the kangaroos of the Australian outback are a unique and important part of the ecosystem, and their adaptations and abilities make them an amazing sight to see. A sight you won’t find anywhere but Australia.
Have you heard about the Cassowary? They’re like modern-day dinosaurs! These bad boys can leap up to 1.5 meters off the ground, and they have some seriously sharp claws to match. Not only are they great sprinters, with a top speed of 50 km/h through the dense forest, but they’re also excellent swimmers. So, if you see one of these guys coming at you, you better run fast and hope you can swim faster!
Cassowaries are known as the most dangerous bird in the world, and for good reason. They’re known for their crankiness, and if you approach them, they’ll karate kick you with their powerful legs. These guys are no joke – they can grow up to 2 meters high and run up to 31 mph. Plus, they can jump up to 5 feet in the air! And with razor-sharp claws, you definitely don’t want to mess with them.
But don’t worry, they’re not all bad. Cassowaries are actually pretty shy creatures and don’t want to fight unless they feel threatened. So, just give them some space and don’t get too close. And definitely don’t feed them or bring your pet dogs around them – that’s just asking for trouble.
8. The Frilled-Necked Lizard
With its unique appearance and fascinating behavior, the frilled-necked lizard is undoubtedly a remarkable species of Australian wildlife. You might know it by a few different names, like frilled dragon, frill lizard, or frilled agama. This stylish critter earned his monikers from the fancy ruffs around his neck that make him look like he’s ready to hit the runway.
When it comes to dining, this carnivorous cutie loves snacking on small critters and insects, like cicadas, beetles, ants, spiders, and even mice and rats! He’s not really into veggies, but he might make an exception for larvae, moths, and butterflies – they’re his absolute favorite.
The frilled-necked lizard is a true Aussie, hailing from the northern region of the Land Down Under. You can catch him chillin’ in the trees of savannah woodlands or warm, tropical temperate forests.
Don’t let his small size fool you – this lizard packs a punch! He measures up to 2.79 feet long, including his tail. Some people even keep this wild animal as a pet – talk about exotic! But the lizards have a lifespan of up to 20 years in captivity, which makes them a long-term commitment for those who want to keep them as pets.
These cuddly-looking marsupials may seem like your typical herbivore, but they have some fascinating features that set them apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.
These burly creatures are known for their stocky bodies, small ears, and adorable compact heads, making them look like a cross between a bear and a rodent. They may not be as tall as their kangaroo neighbors, but they make up for it with their impressive tunnel-building skills. Wombats use their powerful heads to excavate tunnels and burrows, which they then use for shelter and protection.
But did you know that wombats are actually the closest relatives to koalas? Yes, that’s right! Despite their physical differences, these two marsupials share a common ancestor and are part of the same family tree.
So, the next time you’re wandering through the Australian Outback, keep an eye out for these furry tunnel builders. Who knows, you might even spot a rare northern hairy-nosed yaminon or a southern hairy-nosed wombat, and if you’re lucky, you might catch them in the act of excavating their next tunnel masterpiece!
10. Giant Wild Feral Pig
These porky beasts have some seriously sharp tusks and can weigh up to a whopping 175kg, which means their charge is no joke. If you ever find yourself face to face with one, it’s best to keep your distance. Even pet dogs should steer clear!
These feral pigs breed like rabbits, with up to six piglets twice a year. And get this, there are even more feral pigs than farmed cattle in Australia! With their population booming, the risk of conflict with humans is increasing. But don’t worry, feral pigs have a keen sense of smell and hearing and usually steer clear of us.
However, feral pigs are causing quite a stir in the farming industry. They can uproot land, destroy crops, and contaminate water sources with their wallowing, rooting, and pooping. Plus, they have no natural predators, so they’re a real nuisance.
If you do happen to come across one, remember to keep your distance and stay alert. You can climb a tree or boulder to avoid an attack, or try sidestepping quickly to dodge their tusks. And as a last resort, fight back with whatever means you have. Just be sure to stay on your feet – falling to the ground can result in serious injury!
How many of these animals did you know belonged to the Australian Outback? We hope this article helps you increase your knowledge about unique animals, and that you learnt something new about the animal kingdom of the Australian Outback.
Do you know any more animals that live in the region? Don’t forget to let us know all about them in the comments!