Australian animals and plants

The animals that the early
settler; found in Australia looked very strange to them. They saw
none of the animals that they had known in England. Instead they saw
strange animals they had never seen or heard of before. There was a
tall animal with short front legs and very long hind legs, and a
thick, long tail. It was a kangaroo. It moves very fast over the
ground by taking long jumps with the back legs. The mother kangaroo
carries her baby in a big pocket on the front of her body. This kind
of animal is called a marsupial. There are other marsupials in
Australia. The wallaby is one. It is very much like a kangaroo, but
smaller. The Australian opossum is another marsupial. Even more
strange was the platypus, or duck-billed water mole.

This is a strange mixture
of a bird, a fish, and a four-footed animal. Scientists ever since
have agreed that it is most remarkable. It swims in the water like a
fish, it has a bill like a duck’s, the male has fighting spurs on his
back feet, and the female nurses her young as a dog or cat does but
she lays eggs that hatch like the eggs of a bird or a fish. This is
an animal that has never been found anywhere except in Australia. The
native Australian dog was strange to the British, too. It is called a
dingo, and it is quite different from dogs in England. It is a wild
dog, however, not a wolf nor a fox, as many of the earlysettlers
thought at first. Another animal that had never been seen anywhere
else was the koala bear, a fluffy little animal that looks like a
living model of a toy teddy bear. It is very friendly. Although
people in many parts of the world have said they would like to have
koala bears for pets, it is difficult, because the only food the
koala eats is eucalyptus leaves, and the eucalyptus tree grows mostly
in Australia.

There are other strange
animals in Australia, which can be found nowhere else. The spiny
anteater is one. This is a long-nosed animal with spines all over its
body. It lives on a diet of ants. Its scientific name’is the echidna.
As remarkable as the echidna is the wombatFree Web Content, a large animal that digs
in the ground to find the roots on which it lives. The wombat
sometimes reaches a weight of nearly a hundred pounds. The trees and
plants of Australia were strange to the early settlers.

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