Australia is known for its native animals; the cute koalas, the playful platypuses and the scary spiders are cultural icons of this country.
But what about the animals never mentioned in American movies? The creatures that haven’t been immortalised on the back of a coin or spruiked in a tourist advertisement? How many unique and wonderful native animals are right under your nose – and you didn’t even know?
Time to brush up your knowledge. Here are five native Victorian animals, living in your backyard, that you never knew existed.
Spotted Marsh Frog
Spotted Marsh Frogs are magical looking creatures easily identified by their shimmering green and white patches and large, gold rimmed eyes. They are very small, only growing up to 4.5cm long.
You might hear these frogs before you see them. Spotted Marsh Frogs love rain, listen out for a single, sharp ‘Click’ or ‘Plock’ call they make on most wet nights.
Australian Wood Ducks
Australian Woods Ducks are native ducks found in most parts of Victoria. They have an understated beauty, with unique mottled feathers and an eternally youthful ‘duckling-like’ face.
You’re most likely to see Australian Wood Ducks in local creeks, ponds and farm dams, or on the land feeding on grass. They are super family oriented and bond with their mate for live. So, chances are you might spot some cute ducklings too!
On first glance (and second glance too), microbats are fairly strange looking creatures. With a rotund, furry body, and folded face, these tiny bats weigh an incredible three grams each.
Microbats see with their ears, not their eyes. They make a noise and will listen for its reverberations on surrounding objects. Every night, they eat up to 40% of their own body weight. That’s several hundred insects per hour!
These ducks look like they are permanently ready for the circus, hence their nickname ‘Clown Ducks’ or ‘Zebra Ducks’. Their whimsical appearance makes them easy to spot a mile off.
Keep your eye out for these ducks in shallow, open waters. You might see two bonded ducks whirring around each other as if they are dancing. These is a fabulous method they use to catch aquatic plants and bugs by creating a whirlpool underneath them. You might need to venture a bit further into your backyard for these guys – but they are worth the journey!
The Rakali is one of Victoria’s coolest unknown creatures. Known as the ‘Australian otter’ these furry fellows are can be found hanging out near your local creek or river.
The species was heavily hunted in the 1930s, however it has made a full recovery since protective legislation was introduced. The Rakali is nocturnal, so you might need to take a torch when spotting this one!
To learn more about Australia’s native animals, explore Discover Ducks.