Kangaroo Island Information

WILDLIFE

You will be delighted by the abundance of wildlife on Kangaroo Island, much of which is uncommon or extinct on the mainland of Australia. Wild animals are frightened easily and are best observed from a distance. This is less stressful for the animal and does not interrupt their natural behaviour. Our wildlife is precious, protected and active at night! Native animals are blinded by bright light. If driving at night, slow down, dip your lights, and take time to observe the wildlife. To learn a little about our Kangaroo Island wildlife, select from of one the following: Wallaby The Tammar Wallaby, with smaller and finer features than the Kangaroo, is abundant on the Island. They were the first animal sighted by Europeans on discovering Australia. Although mainland populations are mostly extinct, they can be found on isolated islands along the southern coast. Tammar Wallabies are a nocturnal animal, feeding mostly on grass from which they also obtain water. They have been known to drink seawater when fresh water is not available.

Tammar Wallaby

Kangaroo The Kangaroo Island Kangaroo is a subspecies of the Western Grey Kangaroo. It has adapted well to the low scrub and cold winds of the Island and is smaller, darker and has longer fur than the mainland species. Like most Australian animals, it shelters in the bush during daylight hours, coming out to graze from late afternoon to early morning. Kangaroos can be found at different locations around the Island, Flinders Chase National Park and Cape Ganthaueme Conservation Park are two of the best locations to find them.

Kangaroo with Joey

Koala Kangaroo Island boasts several protected koala colonies. Koalas are not native to the Island, however they have adapted well and now number around 5000. They are found wherever their favoured food trees - the big gums of the river systems - are located. Their diet mainly consists of eucalypt leaves, which require a lengthy digestive process. This means the Koala has little energy and needs to sleep for about nineteen hours a day.

Koala

Echidna The echidna, is a spine covered, long-snouted ground animal with powerful claws and tiny tail. It can be seen at any time of the day shuffling along in the scrub looking for its favourite food - ants and termites - which it licks up with its sticky tongue. If approached too quickly it will curl into a ball of prickles as a defence, or quickly burrow into the ground.

Echidna

Platypus This curious freshwater aquatic mammal, has smooth brown fur, a leathery bill, broad tail and webbed feet. It feeds underwater and retreats into a long burrow above the waterline to sleep and breed. The careful (or lucky) observer in Flinders Chase National Park can see the platypus in the waterholes of Rocky River. Note: Platypus and Echidnas are the only two "monotremes" still found in the world. They lay eggs but suckle their young. Possum The brush-tailed possum is widespread and very common on the Island, only emerging at night to feed and socialise with its many cousins. Possums often feed in trees, where they use their tail as a "fifth leg" to move around. Birds The Island's bird life is varied and interesting, with 251 recorded bird species to be seen. Some of the migratory birds find their way here, too, and can be seen on the beaches and lagoons.

geese

Ospreys and Sea Eagles can be sometimes spotted along the cliff tops. Sea Eagle This distinctive bird with its white belly and dark grey wings is found around the coastline. Look for their large nests high in a tree or on rocks. The sometimes noisy bird is a skilled hunter on land and at sea. It catches its prey by swooping from a great height, or diving from tree branches. Little Penguin Also known as the Fairy Penguin or Blue Penguin, the Little Penguin is the smallest of all penguins and the only species to live permanently in Australian waters. They are found right around the coastline of Kangaroo Island and come ashore at night to rest or feed their young. These delightful birds can be seen after dark at Penneshaw and Kingscote. Nightly guided tours are available.

Penguin

Glossy Black Cockatoo Kangaroo Island has the last surviving population in South Australia of the rare glossy black cockatoo - a large black cockatoo with striking scarlet panels it the tail feathers. Loss of habitat and natural predators have reduced bird numbers dramatically and only one egg is incubated each breeding cycle. Kangaroo Island residents are actively monitoring the birds and re-establishing habitat to provide suitable nesting areas and adequate food supply. Lucky birdwatchers can sometimes see the cockatoos at American River and Western River. Marine Animals Many marine mammals are found along the Island's 450kms of coastline. The Australian Sea Lion spends as much time on land as at sea. One of Kangaroo Island's unique wildlife experiences includes a guided walk with a National Parks Ranger amongst the sea lions at Seal Bay. Australian Sea Lion Australian Sea Lions have external ears and propel themselves through the water with their front flippers. Their hind flippers can be turned forward to enable them to 'walk' on all fours. They are very agile both in the water and on land.

Seal

Females have a silver-grey and cream coat. The larger males become darker with age and have a creamy mane. Males may reach up to 2 metres in length and weigh up to 400 kg. The Australian Sea Lion has an 18 month breeding cycle, pupping take place in winter and summer. It is estimated that Seal Bay comprises of 10% of the worlds population of the species. New Zealand Fur Seal About 6000 New Zealand Fur Seals have made the area around Cape du Couedic their home. These dark brown seals have a double thickness coat to protect them from the cold waters of the Southern Ocean. They breed in summer and can often be seen energetically fighting and playing in and around the turbulent waters of Admiral's Arch.
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