Wild Australians

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Wild Australians




Australia’s diverse and unique landscapes and ecosystems are unparalleled – places of incredible ecological significance and natural beauty, they are home to some of the world’s most intriguing wildlife. This engaging series profiles the legendary Australians who have, adapting in countless ways to their particular habitats, evolved into some of the strangest and most interesting creatures on the planet – providing the opportunity to get up close to the unique wildlife that captivates audiences all over the world.

Infamous for being merciless ocean killers, orcas are known for hunting down even the feared great white shark. Behind the fierce reputation however, these impressive marine mammals live in highly organised societies and are in fact among the world’s most intelligent mammals. Of the ten different variants of orca inhabiting the oceans, each has their own hunting techniques, cultures and even dialects – and can communicate with each other to organise stealthy attacks and capture prey.

More than any other animal, the kangaroo is an icon and national symbol – appearing on the both the nation’s coat of arms and currency, this strange macropod is instantly recognisable around the globe. The fascinating story of the kangaroo began at a time when Australia was covered in lush rainforest and dinosaurs still ruled the land. Over millions of years, they have evolved into extraordinary species, adapting to dry, infertile country and highly variable climates.

Home to some of the most venomous snakes in the world, as well as the largest and most deadly land predator, the saltwater crocodile, Australia’s reputation for hatching cold-blooded killers is well deserved. Scratching beneath the scales, these often-feared reptiles are highly intelligent, exhibiting complex social behaviours.

Estimated to have diverged from other marsupials as long as 40 million years ago, wombats are determined, gregarious and easy to identify with their short-legged, muscular bodies and stubby tails. Known locally as the bulldozers of the bush, wombats are Australia’s largest burrowing animals, and their penchant for digging has transformed landscapes and changed the face of the continent.

Of all bird species, parrots exhibit behaviours most akin to humans – they are smart, talkative, playful, curious, dextrous, sociable, argumentative and capable of learning throughout their long lives. Enlivening both suburbia and bushland with their shrill voices, vibrant hues and entertaining personalities, these curious creatures continue to impact the shape of our environment.

Meet the world’s oldest surviving monotremes – the platypus and the echidna. The only surviving mammals to share some key traits with reptiles, their discovery sent shockwaves through the scientific community, and indeed the entire world. Incredible survivors who have lived through the ice ages, atmospheric changes and the movement of continents, these strange Australians have truly stood the test of time.

From desert, to mountain, to coast, these astounding birds, animals and reptiles have evolved to survive and thrive across the diverse Australian landscape.


ABC: Leo Faber
Alan Erson and Michael Tear