Australia's mammal population is unique - much of this fauna is made up of marsupials (new born develop in a pouch). Other mammals native to Australia are Monotremes (egg laying), Bats and Rodents. Marsupials and Monotremes have a long history in Australia, but bats and rodents are relatively recent colonists arriving over the last 10-15 million years from Asia. About 261 terrestrial mammals are native to Australia and 20 more have been introduced since European settlement. Many species have declined dramatically in numbers since then and about 15 species are now thought to be extinct. Predation by feral cats and foxes, competition from rabbits, and a change in fire regimes may have contributed to the decline. Most native mammals are nocturnal, secretive animals which are seldom seen.
Not all of these mammals can be found at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden.
All illustrations: © 1994, Jillian Rose