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Nature and Wildlife

Animal by animal guide to spotting Tasmania’s wildlife
* indicates birds and animals can be seen here in their natural habitat (sightings are not guaranteed)

Tasmanian_DevilTasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian devil was extirpated on the Australian mainland at least 3000 years ago, well before European settlement in 1788. Because they were seen as a threat to livestock in Tasmania, devils were hunted until 1941, when they became officially protected. .
Close range viewing: Tasmanian Devil Park, Taranna; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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Platypus swimming

Duck-billed Platypus
The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semi-aquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. The Platypus is semi-aquatic, inhabiting small streams and rivers over an extensive area. Platypus are widely kept for display purposes by zoos and wildlife sanctuaries across Australia. Duck-billed platypuses inhabit rivers, lagoons, and streams. They prefer areas with steep banks that contain roots, overhanging vegetation, reeds, and logs. The rivers and streams are usually less than 5 meters in depth.
Close range viewing: Platypus are common in Tasmania’s creeks and rivers and are relatively easy to find if you are patient.  They prefer the protection of wider creeks, with a good flow of water and need vegetation and earth banks to enable them to dig their camping and nesting burrows. The best time to look for them is early morning or late afternoon.  Stand or sit quietly among the trees and bushes on the creek bank and watch the surface of the water, especially up close to the banks, for their tell-tale ripples.  Patience will be rewarded.
*Latrobe calls itself the Platypus Capital of the World because they’re so common there, especially at the *Warrawee Reserve; at *Ferndale Reserve near Burnie; at the scenic lake at *Waratah in the north west; at *Westerway beside the Tyenna River on the way to Mount Field National Park. At Beauty Point in the Tamar Valley north of Launceston, you can see live platypus up close at Platypus House.

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wallaby_introWallabies
Wallabies can often been seen in bushland, farmland and beside roads throughout its habitat – the eastern coastlines of Australia, all of Queensland with the exception of western Cape York, New South Wales, and parts of Tasmania, most notably the north eastern portion. Most Australian zoos, wildlife parks and sanctuaries have kangaroos on display in enclosures.
Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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Koala_introKoalas
Koalas are found between south-eastern South Australia and Queensland, but only where enough suitable trees have been left. All koalas in Tasmania are introduced, and reside in wildlife sanctuaries.
Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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echidna_introEchidna
Echidna can be found across Australia, their habitat includes forests, woodlands, shrublands and grasslands, rocky outcrops and agricultural lands. Echidnas are usually found among rocks, in hollow logs, under vegetation or piles of debris, under tree roots or sometimes in wombat or rabbit burrows.
Close range viewing: *Flinders Island; Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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EasternQuollEastern Quoll
The Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus), also known as the Eastern Native Cat, is a medium-sized carnivorous dasyurid marsupial native to Australia. They are now considered extinct on the mainland, but remain widespread and even locally common in Tasmania. It is one of six extant species of quoll. The Eastern Quoll is generally about the size of a small domestic cat. The Eastern Quoll is a solitary predator, hunting at night for its prey of insects and small mammals. They have also been known to scavenge food from the much larger Tasmanian Devil.
Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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PebblyBeach_nswKangaroos (eastern grey)
The eastern grey kangaroo can often been seen in bushland, farmland and beside roads throughout its habitat – the eastern coastlines of Australia, all of Queensland with the exception of western Cape York, New South Wales, and parts of Tasmania, most notably the north eastern portion. Most Australian zoos, wildlife parks and sanctuaries have kangaroos on display in enclosures.
Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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Emu_introEmus
Because emus are Australia’s most well known bird, there wouldn’t be too many zoos or wildlife parks around the country that don’t have an emu or two running around an enclosure. Tame Emus in zoos can be quite inquisitive and have no fear in coming near humans for a closer look, and have bee known to take a sandwich or two from a picnic hamper if given half the chance. This behaviour can be quite scary, particularly for young children, so keep watch for them if entering an enclosure where emus are free to roam.
Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park

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red_necked_pademelonPademelon
The Pademelons are small, compact, short-tailed wallabies that typically inhabit wet sclerophyll and rainforests from Tasmania to New Guinea. The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area of northern NSW, particularly the McPherson Range bordering Queensland, are the best place to see them in the wild. Red-legged pademelons are a threatened species.
Close range viewing: ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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ringtail-possumCommon Ringtail Possum
Like all ringtail possums, the common ringtail possum has a strongly prehensile tail which acts as a fifth limb, and which is carried tightly coiled when not being used. It can be distinguished from the brushtail by the light covering of fur on its tail, as well as the white tail tip. It is widespread throughout Tasmania, where it occurs in a variety of vegetation types, especially eucalypt forests and areas of tall, dense tea-tree.Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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Wombat_introHairy Nosed Wombats
Southern hairy-nosed wombats inhabit the semi-arid and arid grasslands and woodlands in south-western New South Wales. Northern hairy-nosed wombats used to be abundant in New South Wales until the settlement of Europeans in the area, but have been rarely seen after 1872. Zoos and wildlife sanctuaries are the only places you are guaranteed to see a wonbat in Tasmania.
Close range viewing: Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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TammarWallabyTammar Wallaby
The tammar wallaby, also known as the dama wallaby or darma wallaby, is a small macropod native to South and Western Australia as well as some nearby islands. This species is largely gray in colour and is the smallest wallaby. The tammar wallabies on Flinders Island are distinguished from Kangaroo Island tammars by their greyer coats and thinner heads. On Kangaroo Island, tammar wallabies can be found under divaricating bushes. They are mosly nocturnal and send much of the time foraging.
Close range viewing: *Flinders Island; Bonorong Park Wildlife Centre, Brighton; ZooDoo Wildlife Park, Richmond; Trowunna Wildlife Park, Mole Creek; Wings Wildlife Park, Gunns Plains; Something Wild wildlife sanctuary, National Park; East Coast Nature World, Bicheno.

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Marine wildlife

Aust_SeaLionSeals and Sea Lions
Thirty five species of seal inhabit the oceans of the world. They are found throughout the marine environment, from icy polar waters to the warm waters of the tropics. A number of species occasionally visit Tasmania’s shores, however only two species – the Australian Fur Seal and the New Zealand Fur Seal – breed in Tasmanian waters. Four species of seal once bred in Tasmania’s Bass Strait, three of these species were totally eradicated and only the Australian fur seal now remains in Bass Strait.
Close range viewing: *Bruny Island; *King Island; Maatsuyker Island group; Bass Strait islands; Maria Island; Freycinet Peninsula

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Fairy_PenguinFairy Penguins
Fairy or Little Penguins are attractive birds, they waddle around in small groups in search of food or playing. They stand about 45cm tall, and weigh around a kilogram. Found only in Australia and New Zealand, they are fairly common in the waters of southern Australia. They breed mainly on offshore islands from Port Stephens, NSW, to as far as Fremantle, WA.
Close range viewing: *The Neck, Bruny Island; Bicheno; north-west coast around Devonport, Burnie, Penguin and Stanley. Fairy Penguins can be seen year-round but the main breeding season is spring and summer (November to March in Tasmania).

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Southern-Elephant-SealSouthern Elephant Seals
Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) are the largest of all seals with males reaching 4-5 m in length and 3 500 kg in weight. Southern elephant seals once bred in Tasmania on King Island but were wiped out by the sealing industry. Each year in Tasmania an average of three elephant seals are reported. The closest breeding area of elephant seals is Macquarie Island. Here, there is an estimated population of 86,000 animals.
Close range viewing: *Bruny Island; *Maatsuyker Island; *Macquarie Island

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dolphin_cruiseDolphins
The most frequently seen cetaceans are the common and bottle-nosed dolphins. Whale and dolphin watching is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist activities, and many companies offer chartered trips that provide intimate encounters with these animals along the east and south-east coast. Although dolphins often initiate contact with humans directly, it is important not to disturb cetaceans by approaching closely.
Close range viewing: coastal cruises, partcularly those around Bruny, Tasman and Maria Islands and the Tasman and Freycinet Peninsulas, regularly see dolphins.

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whalewatching_smWhales
Among the larger species of baleen whale, southern right whales and humpback whales can be seen at east coast vantage points such as Great Oyster Bay, Bruny Island and Frederick Henry Bay. While most species migrate some distance off the continental shelf, the humpback and southern right whale come sufficiently close to the coast to allow regular sightings from land.
Humpback whales travel northward to breeding areas off the coast of Queensland and Western Australia between May and July and return southward to their sub-antarctic feeding grounds between September and November.
Southern right whales travel north from June to September to the waters of southern mainland Australia and return southward between September and late October. A proportion of the population gives birth in Tasmanian waters. Most sightings occur on the east coast.

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