The numerous populations of wildlife make driving in Australia a challenge especially after sunset. Roadways may travel along farms or ranches having no fences, which increases the likelihood of livestock inadvertently wandering onto the road. In Northern Territory and Western Australia, wild animals commonly cross the road in front of vehicles. Once in the beam of headlights, animals often freeze in fear. Briefly turning off the lights and hitting the horn may encourage the animal to move off the road.
Kangaroos live throughout the country and display their most active behaviour as the sun sets. Motorists often see them feeding alongside of the road. The red kangaroo remains the largest of all the species and may weigh up to 85 kilograms. Males commonly reach 1.5 metres in length with another metre added for the tail.
The animals have the capability of reaching speeds of 90 kilometres per hour. This species frequent flat, open plains regions. Grey kangaroos live in areas having forests and scrub vegetation. Tree kangaroos prefer the mountainous rainforest areas around Queensland. The smaller species of wallabies and wallaroos may reside anywhere from desert regions to forests and rocky terrain.
The common species of wombat remains widespread in the cooler, wetter climates found in eastern and southern Australia, which includes Tasmania. They also exist in Queensland and other mountainous areas. Northern hairy-nosed wombats reside in the Epping Forest. Southern hairy-nosed wombats live in the desert regions that extend from the Nullarbor Plain to New South Wales. Being nocturnal, the animals roam at night. Wombats weigh 25 to 35 kilograms and measure up to 120 centimetres in length.
Emus often travel in pairs and remain common throughout Australia, especially in forests and wooded areas. The birds migrate to drier regions after seasonal rains. Prized for their meat, oil and leather, emus make up part of the livestock population on some farms. The birds stand up to 2.2 metres in height and measure anywhere from 139 to 164 centimetres in length. Though having a fairly large body, the emu has long slender legs that allow the bird to run as fast as 50 kilometres per hour. The spindly legs also permit the bird to change direction with lightening fast speed, which makes predicting a path of travel impossible.
Due to their size, wild camels also present a hazard to motorists. Populations exist in the central part of the country and extend into the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The males of the species may grow to a height of 2 metres and weigh up to 600 kilograms. The females appear only slightly smaller.
These extremely muscular animals typically begin roaming about as the heat of the day wanes at dusk. This is the time of day the animals go in search of food. The foraging continues all night. Boars may travel alone, however, females often accompany other females and young. Populations extend from the eastern coast toward the central regions along with the extreme north and southwest coastal areas. Males stand around 90 centimetres in height and up to 180 centimetres in length. Males may weigh upwards of 150 kilograms and females around 100 kilograms.
To get some inspirations of a list of top Australian road trips you can take to see these funny little creatures, check out a few Australian travel agent’s site such as Travel Associates.
Written by Emma Jane