The Who’s Who of Kakadu

Kakadu national park is home to over 60 different type of indigenous mammal. Depending on what time of year you go will influence what type you may see. Interestingly enough Kakadu is home to eight different species of ‘macropod’. These include grey kangaroos, wallabies and even ‘antilopine wallaroos’! As these examples are the tip of iceberg when it comes to the parks natural wildlife, let’s learn some basic facts about the animals you will encounter on your tour.

The dingo

Believed to have first entered ozzie territories over 5000 years ago, the Dingo can only now be found legally in Australia.

A dingos diet mainly consists of kangaroo, possums, rats and wombats.

It is rumoured Dingo’s do not bark; in fact this is slightly inaccurate. Whereas domesticated dogs have many different barks to communicate, a Dingo has at least 10 individual ‘howls’ to get its point across.

Dingoes are commonly referred to as ‘loners’ but the ones you see normally belong to a pack of 10-12.

Despite their population being huge, the ‘pure’ dingo is declining in number. This is due to them interbreeding with domestic dogs. Surprisingly it is now estimated that over one third of the dingoes found in South Australia are ‘hybrid’.

 Antilopine wallaroo

Scientific name ‘Macropus antilopinu’s.

Mostly found in the Anhem land of Kakadu.

Being one of the largest ‘macropods’, it is only slightly smaller than the chief Red Kangaroo.

Normally seen as a couple, they can actually be part of a group of upto 30!

Interestingly this type of kangaroo is one of the few in its species which displays ‘sexual dimorphism’.

Saltwater crocodile

The largest reptile on earth.

Commonly referred to as a ‘saltie’.

Much more aggressive and territorial than their cousin the freshwater crocodile or ‘freshie’.

Their average lifespan in the wild can reach upto 70 years.

With an average weight of 450kg, they are not easy to just throw over your shoulder and carry around.

Salwater crocs are extremely fast and making darting advances towards prey that can reach 20mph!

They will eat anything meaty (carnivores) and that includes you!

Red tailed black cockatoo

Nesting in cavities, they are normally found in and around eucalyptus trees.

Fully grown adults normally reach a maximum length of 60cm.

Their appearance differs depending on the sex. Both have Mohican type feathers on their head and jet black bodies, however a males tail is layered with two red panels whereas a females colour is more yellow-orange.

Red-tailed black cockatoos are noisy birds that astoundingly can travel in up to flocks of 500!

Living mainly on a diet of Eucalyptus seeds, they are also known to eat nuts berries and small insects.

Although relatively friendly with humans, this is not the case when it comes to digging up peanut plants and severing electrical cable.

Green tree frog

First named the ‘blue frog’ despite its green colour.

Larger than most Australian frogs, the green tree can reach 10cm in length.

Their diet is extremely well adapted to consume most natural food sources. Their main danger when it comes to what they eat is overfeeding themselves and becoming obese.

Very well suited as a pet, the green tree frog is incredibly relaxed around humans. So much so that it is common to find them resting on a windowsill or front step of a home.

Once described as the ‘prefect cartoon caricature’ their appearance compliments their docile nature.

Intriguingly the peptides found in the skin secretion of the frog has been known to destroy HIV without harming other healthy human cells!

Dugong

Resembling a sea cow, whale and ant-eater, it is difficult to find a more bizarre looking creature

Their diet is mainly found on the seabed and consists of sea grass and other algae’s.

Their ability to hold their breath for over 6 minutes makes them excellent underwater swimmers.

As they are extremely shy but not dangerous towards humans, little is known about their common behaviour.

Normally travelling in a pack of two, there have been rare but beautiful occasions in which groups of 100 or more have been spotted swimming together.

Being able to live for more than 70 years, it is surprising that they only give birth to young maybe three or four times during their lifespan.

As you can see, Kakadu has one of the most diverse and interesting animal species in the world. Whether its jaw crunching crocks, screaming cockatoos or oddly looking sea mammals, you are guaranteed to get some priceless shots on your snappers.

Whilst travelling around the park with your guide, their knowledge of these creatures will not just be factual but will incorporate ancient aboriginal tales of magic and communication between human and beast. If the appearance of some of these creatures isn’t enough, then their enchanting history definitely will be.

This article was written by Misty Angel on behalf of Travel Wild, the ozzie experts who will bring you the best and most exciting adventures at Kakadu Tours. Misty Angel is a travel enthusiast who enjoys Kakadu Tours and the great outdoors.

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