Not everything in Australia can kill you: 10 super cute, non-dangerous Australian animals

Forget the Australian animals of your nightmares that can sting, stab and strike because I promise, not everything here can kill you! Australia is also home to some down right adorableness. Animals so cute and so unlikely or unable to harm you, you’ll feel as safe as a piece of fruit cake next to a piece of chocolate cake.

So read on and let me know your favourite in the comments below. Or even better – what else deserves a place on this list?!

  1. Leadbeater’s Possum (Gymnobelideus leadbeateri)

There are possums and then there are leadbeater’s possums. And leadbeater’s possums are super cute. An iconic species from Victoria, they’ve an interesting social structure where despite females being outnumbered three to one – they’re the dominant sex.

And as is so often the case, leadbeater’s aren’t dangerous to us but endangered because of us. Habitat destruction has significantly decreased populations – but there is hope! Check out the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum here to see their great work!

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Can’t. Deal. A young leadbeater’s possum. Photo: DFlickr/D. Harley

2. Eastern Pygmy Possum (Cercartetus nanus)

But now to truly possum the pants off you – I’ve got another super cute species up my sleeve and it’s the eastern pygmy possum from Southeast Australia.

Twinkly eyed and twirly tailed, this concoction of cuteness is only as heavy as a dollop of cream, weighing in somewhere between 15 and 45 grams.

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A dollop of sweetness, the eastern pygmy possum. Photo: Flickr/Michael Pennay

3. Australian Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea)

Gorgeous, green, nuggets of smiles! Australian green tree frogs are a common species throughout Northern and Eastern Australia. A large frog by Australian standards, they can grow up to 11.5cm with the females much larger than the males.

Far from being a dangerous threat, their skin secretions have antibacterial properties and they make one of the most popular exotic pets in the world. Nothing to fear but cute-induced panic attacks from these non-dangerous, hoppy inhabitants.

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That smile! The Australian green tree frog. Photo: Flickr/Samuel Sharp

4. Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps)

 Soaring through the sky and hitting you straight in the face with their super natural sweetness, sugar gliders are marsupials found in the North and East of Australia.

A nocturnal species that feeds mostly on the nectar and pollen of flowers – you have nothing to fear! Just enjoy those lovely licorice eyes if you’re lucky enough to spot one in the nighttime treetops.

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Sugar gliders and their super natural sweetness. Photo: Flickr/GarettTT

5. Quokka (Setonix brachyurus)

The only native land mammals of Rottnest Island, located off the coast of Western Australia, quokkas are a small marsupial wallaby that through some perk of evolution, always seem to be smiling.

Incredibly tame and approachable to those visiting Rottnest, these little hopsters will snatch up your heart.

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Quokka on Rottnest island. Photo: Flickr/Sam West

6. Numbat (Myrmecobius fasciatus)

With a long sticky tongue and stripy backside, they’re one of Australia’s stranger looking marsupials – but gosh they’re super cute.

An endangered species found in the Southwest of Western Australia, numbats are the only marsupial to feed exclusively on termites and consequently have no sharp teeth!

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A numbat in full stripy sweetness. Photo: Flickr/dilettantiquity

7. Splendid Fairy Wren (Malurus splendens melanotus)

Found widespread in Southern Australia, these wrens look like little sapphire sweets. A social species, the bluey purple males and brown females can be found hopping about grasslands in search of insects.

At just 10g, these stunning birds would hurt a fly… but nothing much bigger than that. Super cute and super non-dangerous!

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Little sapphire sweets! Photo: Flickr/Paul Coddington

8. Dugong (Dugong dugon)

Looking like some weird cross between a walrus and a dolphin, dugongs are sea grass specialists that can be found in the oceans of Northern Australia.

These ‘sea cows’ are strict herbivores, non-aggressive and can live over 70 years! While they may not be small and fuzzy, they’ve definitely got an odd charm and a strange sweetness that lures you in… safely.

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Strange, but super cute: the dugong! Photo: Flickr/Christian Haugen

9. Red legged Pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica)

The smallest of six species of rainforest wallaby, the red-legged pademelon lives in Northern and Eastern Australia.

A common tenant of these wet tropics, they browse fruits and leaves whilst those in captivity have shown a fondness for sweet potato. Super cute.

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A red-legged pademelon Joey. Photo: Jurgen Otto

10. Pygmy Seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti)

Everything is cuter in mini form, and clearly, seahorses are no exception. The pygmy seahorse Hippocampus bargibanti grows little gumdrops of colour on its skin to match the appearance of the coral it lives on.

A super cute creature first discovered in Australia, you’ve got nothing to fear from these funky fish (and yes, they’re still a species of fish!) other than missing out on seeing them because that camouflage is WACK.

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Little gumdrops of colour: the pygmy seahorse. Photo: Flickr/Jayvee Fernandez

References:

Bendel, Sue. From ‘forgotten’ to ‘flagship’: Getting Leadbeater’s Possum back into the spotlight [online]. Victorian Naturalist, The, Vol. 130, No. 4, Aug 2013: 174-177. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=575947697605838;res=IELHSS&gt; ISSN: 0042-5184. [cited 18 Feb 16].

Cooper, C. E. (2011, Myrmecobius fasciatus (dasyuromorphia: Myrmecobiidae). Mammalian Species (Online), 43, 129-140. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/884707223?accountid=14681

Murphy, J. A., Phillips, B. T., & Macreadie, B. (2003). Husbandry and breeding of the Eastern pygmy possum Cercartetus nanus: at Healesville Sanctuary. International Zoo Yearbook, 38(1), 173-178.

Howard, J. (1989). Diet of Petaurus breviceps (Marsupialia: Petauridae) in a mosaic of coastal woodland and heath. Australian Mammalogy, 12, 15-21.

Vernes, K., Marsh, H., & Winter, J. (1995). Home-range characteristics and movement patterns of the red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica) in a fragmented tropical rainforest. Wildlife Research, 22(6), 699-707.

Perrin, W. F., & Wursig, B. (Eds.). (2009). Encyclopedia of marine mammals. Academic Press.

Kuiter, R. H. (2001). Revision of the Australian seahorses of the genus Hippocampus (Syngnathiformes: Syngnathidae) with descriptions of nine new species. RECORDS-AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, 53(3), 293-340.

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