AUSTRALASIAN Temperate Forest

The unusual and endemic mammals of the Australian temperate forest and woodlands include famous and 'classic' marsupials such as the koala, and many species of kangaroo and wallaby... 

Kangaroos hopping in a mob (image by Damon Ramsey)


Order Diprotodontia

Family Phascolarctidae: Koalas

The Koala feeds mostly on the leaves of about 30 species of Eucalyptus trees.

With such a low nutrient diet, Koalas spend a lot of their lives asleep; they are usually resting for 20 hours out of every day.

Koalas two opposable digits on their 'hands', enabling grip on branches. Another adaptation to climbing and holding onto trees are their sharp claws! So even though they look calm and cuddly, don't try to pick one up, or they will scratch you with those claws!

Family Vombatidae: 'Wombats'

This family includes three species of living wombat.


Vombatus ursinus, 'Common Wombat'.

Family Pseudocheiridae: Ringtails


As suggested by the name, Ringtails have a tail that is often held curled, and are usually not as fluffy as 'brushtails'.


Pseudocheirus occidentalis, 'Western Ringtail Possum'.

Family Phalangeridae: Brushtails


Trichosurus vulpecula, 'Common Brushtail Possum'.

Kangaroos & Wallabies

(Whiteman Park)

Kangaroos are the largest animals in the world to using hopping as locomotion, or indeed that have ever lived.

Family Potoroidae

The smaller hopping marsupials. Includes many increasingly rare species.

(Barna Mia, Dryandra)

Bettongia penicillata, 'Woylie', 'Brush-tailed Bettong'. Once lived in temperate forest and arid habitats across a large part of Australia, now very rare and restricted to small pockets in south west and south east of continent.

Family Macropodidae

The larger hopping marsupials! Including the classic and well known kangaroos.


Macropus fuliginosus'Western Grey Kangaroo'.

(Wineglass Bay, Tasmania)

Macropus rufogriseus, 'Bennet's/Red-necked Wallaby'. Found in south-east Australia.

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Setonix brachyurus, 'Quokka'. Endemic to the south west of Australia. Most commonly seen on Rottnest island, where they are habituated to people and hang around the restaurants.

Placental mammals

Order Chiroptera: Bats

Family Pteropodidae: Flying Fox, Fruit bats

(Sydney Botanical Gardens, Australia)

Pteropus poliocephalus, 'Grey-headed Flying Fox'.

For the page on the Australian temperate forest and woodlands

Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is Micronesia, New Guinea & Indonesia in 2021 with Silversea. Meanwhile I am giving a lecture on the Sunshine Coast (Australia) on the "Sounds of suburban south-east Queensland"