Features

3 fun facts about Australian wildlife

Kareem LaTouche, Youthlink Coordinator

1. Wombat poo is shaped like a cube

Animal droppings are natural ways of marking territory to prevent confrontation and promote mating. In addition to scent markings, or scents produced by the hormones that animals release, wombats leave their cube-shaped scat as territorial signposts on the tops of rocks and logs. That distinct shape is beneficial, since the flat sides of the cubes keep the droppings in place on their precarious locations.

2. Platypus are highly poisonous and have enough poison to kill a dog or make a human seriously ill

The platypus is one of the few living mammals to produce venom. While the spur remains available for defence outside of breeding season, the platypus’ venom gland lacks secretion. While the after effects are described as excruciatingly painful, this venom is not lethal to humans.

3. There are three times as many sheep as there are people living in Australia

There used to be 20 sheep for every person in New Zealand (NZ). Now, the latest statistics from Beef and Lamb NZ shows it has fallen to about seven to one, or about 30 million sheep. The sheep-to-person ratio is still higher than Australia’s, where there are 74 million sheep to 23.5 million people – a ratio of three to one.

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