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Most visitors to New South Wales are keen to get up close with some of Australia’s native mammals, including the much-loved ‘cuddly’ Koala and the ‘boxing’ Kangaroo. But with a diversity of habitats for other animals of the sky, land, and sea, there are plenty of wondrous animals to discover.
The animal emblem for New South Wales, commonly known as the Platypus is but one striking example of the unique animal life that calls the State home. During the Australian colonial era, a time of rapid exploration and scientific discovery, the very first Playtpus specimen was documented and sent back to England where scientists there deemed it to be a hoax, owing to its unusual combination of features. This furry creature swims in waterways using its webbed feet, feeds with a large duck-like bill, sports a beaver-like tail and lays eggs but also nurtures the newly hatched young in a pouch until they are fully developed. New South Wales also claims the famous ‘laughing’ Kookaburra as the bird emblem, and the friendly Blue Groper as the fish emblem.
Unfortunately, many species have been in decline over the years, due to increased urbanisation, loss of habitat and competition with introduced species for ever scarce resources. The Thylacine, Australia’s native dog, has long since passed, though occasional rumours still abound of sightings in the bush. Other endangered animals include the cute, rodent-like bandicoot and the native Quoll or spotted cat.
There are also more than a few animals that are less popular with many locals and visitors alike but contribute enormously to the diversity of animal life in New South Wales. These include a host of venomous snakes, spiders and in recent years, many have begun to fear attacks from sharks when swimming in the ocean. Despite popular perception, these animals are not aggressive and are unlikely to attack unless threatened or harmed. Other animals that tend to inconvenience humans include Possums, which often choose to nest inside the roofs of houses, and common Wombats which can cause problems for farmers.