Thursday, June 20, 2013

The 5 Coolest Animals in Australia's Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains, located in New South Wales, Australia, is home to some of the most beautiful animals around.  It's a place where birds, snakes, lizards and fury creatures live in harmony and offer endless entertainment to tourist upon tourist.  Today, we're going to take a look at some of the coolest animals you can find while exploring the Blue Mountains.

Spotted Tail Quoll

Although it may look like Australia's version of the North American prairie dog, it's completely different in character.  At first glance, the spotted tail quoll, also known as the tiger quoll, seems cute.  You look at it with a smile, soaking in the adorability of its white spots, pointy face and long tail. 

Until you see it snatch a bird from the sky! 

That's right, unlike the prairie dog, the quoll is carniverous.  As the largest carniverous marsupial in Australia, it feeds on birds, lizards, insects and more.  Basically anything with a pulse that's smaller than a kookaburra.

Laughing Kookaburra

There are two species of kookaburra – the blue-winged kookaburra and the laughing kookaburra.  Both of these are located within the kingfisher family of birds; however, only one of them is located in the Blue Mountains.  Ironically, it's not the blue-winged kookaburra.

The laughing kookaburra is one of the most popular birds in the Blue Mountains and is named appropriately after its unique call.  Instead of tweeting and chirping like other small birds, it creates a high-pitched laughing sound.  Also unlike birds of its size, it's known for hunting down snakes.  As an animal with a structured social system, these birds definitely have something to feel good and laugh about.  You'll find them laughing loudest after they make a red-bellied black snake kill.

Red-Bellied Black Snake

There are about 100 species of snakes in Australia and 19 of those species are located in the Blue Mountains.  The red-bellied black snake is among the most popular and, although inefficient at injecting venom, is a snake people are urged to keep their distance from while exploring the majesty of the Blue Mountains.  Holding true to its name, this snake does indeed have a red belly that can be seen from all sides. 

Aside from the red-bellied black snake and other venomous species, the Blue Mountains are home to non-venomous snakes.  Out of the 100 species in Australia, only about 18 are venomous and not all of them are located in the Blue Mountains.


If you thought the North American groundhog was big, think again.  The wombat is the largest burrowing animal in the world.  Weighing in at 40 kilograms when fully grown, the wombat has a cute, cuddly appearance and is perhaps the friendliest looking burrower ever.  Its grayish blackish hair is smooth and its face is round and inviting.

In New South Wales, there are three types of wombats.  The wombat located in the Blue Mountains is simply known as the common wombat.  When people take tours to the Blue Mountains, the wombat remains elusive and is never seen.

Lace Monitor

This is one of the 37 species of lizards located in the Blue Mountains.  Although incredibly big – 4- to 7-feet long! –this lizard can be hard to spot.  Its blackish tan skin makes it hard to see in the light of day when surrounded by brown grass, twigs and fallen branches.

Also known as the common goanna, this lizard is prevalent in the lower Blue Mountains. Female lace monitors lay up to 12 eggs at a time and quickly bury them to evade detection.

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