Long ago, animals could travel to and from Australia by way of a land bridge that connected the continent with other landmasses.
Later this bridge was submerged by the ocean, and Australia’s animals were “stranded” on the continent. Animals in Australia then developed independently from the animals in the rest of the world. That’s why there are so many peculiar creatures on this continent, creatures that live nowhere else on earth.
One of the oddest Australian natives is the duckbill platypus, which looks like a cross between several animals. It’s called the “duckbill” because its snout looks like the bill of a duck.
The platypus has webbed feet like a duck, but it also has a furry body, claws, and even poisonous fangs on its feet! This odd creature is regarded as a mammal because it nurses its young. Unlike almost all other mammals, it lays eggs!
The most well-known of all the animals that live in Australia is surely the kangaroo. The kangaroo cannot walk, but it can move along in 20-foot bounds, at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Adult kangaroos may stand eight feet tall, but they are as small as an inch at birth.
Baby kangaroos spend their early months inside their mother’s pouch. This pouch is known as a marsupium, and mammals that raise their young in pouches are known as marsupials.
The kangaroo isn’t the only marsupial that lives in Australia. This continent is also the home of the bandicoot, a rabbit-sized marsupial with long ears; the wombat, a burrowing marsupial up to three feet long; the wallaby, which looks much like a kangaroo but may be as small as a hare; and the Tasmanian devil, a meat-eating marsupial about the size of a badger.
Except in zoos, you won’t find these creatures anywhere else but Australia.