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Unique Nature

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Australia has some of the most unique wildlife and nature in the world. The continent is home to many plants and animals not found anywhere else on the globe. This is the result of isolation and a harsh environment. The unique Australian nature has evolved int he last 55 million years that the country has been isolated and an island.

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Australian habitats include tropical rainforests, temperate rainforests, deserts, forests and woodlands, savanna, scrub, and alpine grasslands. There is nothing more Australian than the 500 species of eucalypt which is common in all these areas except the rainforests. In drier areas, you will find eucalypt mallee scrubs while in the wetter areas, it dominates the woodlands and forests. Almost as common is the 600 species of acacia (wattle tree). Desert flowers that take advantage of desert rains include the Sturt Desert Pea and the Kangaroo Paw.

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Australian fauna inhabits every corner of the continent. It includes 800 species of birds (400 of these are found nowhere else in the world). Many of these exotic birds are plentiful and very colourful. It was once suggested by an early navigator, that Australia should be called terra psittacorum (land of parrots) because of its 55 species of parrot. The flightless emu which is over 2 meters tall is probably the most familiar Australian bird. There is also 300 species of lizards, 140 species of snakes, and 2 species of crocodile. Australia is home to the largest number of dangerous snake species in the world and also many of the world's most venomous. Apart from birds and reptiles, there are 230 species of native mammals. These are divided into two main groups, marsupials and monotremes. The Australian marsupials include kangaroos, koalas, and wombats. The Australian monotremes (egg laying mammals) include the platypus and echidna and are often referred to as living fossils.

Despite being full of wonderful cuddly marsupials, Australia also has more than it's fair share of deadly Australians too, many that are very deadly. Keep an eye out for these in the following pages, they will be marked with a three red asterix ***. The "Down Under" page of this web site gives a little first aid information.

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