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Can You Eat These 9 Cute Australian Animals?

During a road trip along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, we passed a number of animal crossing signs. It became quite the game, spotting them all and attempting to photograph them.

My home country, Australia, is blessed with an abundant array of animals unique to the Land Down Under, but in this post, I’m going to focus on 9 of our cutest Australian animals.

Animals that most of you will recognize.

Animals that most of you are dying to cuddle.

Animals that most people would not even consider eating.

I’ve heard Australia is one of the only countries in the world that eats its national symbols. But can you eat all our cutest animals? Let’s take a cheeky glance.

Kangaroo

Everyone’s favorite Australian animal, the kangaroo. When you think of Australia you think of kangaroos. While we don’t ride them to school contrary to many foreigners’ beliefs, they are regularly found hopping around large parks or outer suburban bushland across Australian cities.

Kangaroos are macropods, meaning ‘big foot’. There are many species of kangaroo, but the most famous is the huge Red kangaroo. All kangaroos are herbivores and their biggest predator is humans.

cute australian animals - kangaroo

Can you eat it?

YES!

Interestingly, Australia exported kangaroo meat as early as 1959, but it was not legalized for human consumption in most Australian states until 1993. Exported to over 55 countries worldwide, kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat. Because of its low-fat content, it’s unforgiving meat, and can quickly be overcooked making it tough and chewy. Best cooked medium-rare.

Most Australian supermarkets carry various cuts of kangaroo – fillets, steaks, minced meat and ‘Kanga Bangas’ (kangaroo sausages).

Koala

Cuddly, adorable koala bears… that aren’t bears or cuddly. The Koala might look soft and huggable, but they have razor-sharp claws and are highly unsociable animals. These placid creatures generally only eat eucalyptus leaves, which means energy levels are flaccid around the clock. In fact, they spend roughly 20 hours per day sleeping.

cute australian animals - koala

Can you eat it?

NO!

The Koala is listed as vulnerable in the Australian Endangered Species List. It is estimated that there are approximately 100,000 koalas living in the wild and as such you are not allowed to eat them. It is illegal to keep a Koala as a pet anywhere in the world.

Emu

The Emu is the largest bird native to Australia. Emus can’t fly, but they can sprint up to 50km/h (31 mph). The birds are nomadic and usually feed on plants and insects.

cute australian animals - emu

Can you eat it?

YES!

Emus are farmed for their meat, oil, and leather. Like kangaroos, they are low in fat and high in protein. The American Heart Association recognizes emu meat as a healthy alternative to beef. Emu is described as being similar to beef, but gamier.

Platypus

The Platypus is one of Australia’s strangest animals and is one of two mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. The Platypus is covered with dense, brown fur that traps a layer of insulating air to keep warm. The fur is waterproof and similar to that of a mole. Interestingly the Platypus is carnivorous.

cute australian animals - platypus

Can you eat it?

NO!

The Platypus is poisonous so don’t even try. Up until the 20th century it was hunted for its fur, but it is now a protected species. And the eggs? Well at a minuscule 11mm in diameter you are going to need a lot of eggs to make a decent-sized scramble.

Echidna

A medium-sized, solitary mammal with coarse hair and spines, usually black or brown. Kind of like a porcupine. Beside the Platypus, it’s the only mammal that lays eggs. Found in Australia and New Guinea, the Echidna eats ants and termites. They have short, strong limbs with long claws designed for digging.

cute australian animals - echidna

Can you eat it?

NO!

He’s so spikey, ouch. Why even try?

Kookaburra

Beautiful carnivorous birds are known for eating their young as well as stealing anything off your fork at the local park barbie (barbeque).

cute australian animals - kookaburra

Can you eat it?

NO!

Good luck catching these crafty birds. They will probably be laughing as they fly away.

Dingo

A dingo is a free-ranging wild dog found mainly in Australia. It is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia and is classified as a subspecies of the grey wolf. Even though these dogs are efficient hunters they are listed as vulnerable to extinction due to interbreeding with domestic dogs.

Cute australian animals - dingo

Can you eat it?

NO!

Would you eat a dog?

Quokka

The world’s happiest animal. Found on Rottnest, an island off of Western Australia, these adorable macropods are much like a small kangaroo.

Cute Australian animals - quokka

Can you eat it?

NO!

It would be an expensive meal; it is illegal to touch a quokka so you could be facing an AUD$2000 fine. Plus it smiles at you, how could you?

Wombat

This short-legged, muscular marsupial is native to Australia. They can grow to 1 meter in length and are considered to be a cross between a rat and a bear. This cuddly creature can be dangerous, because of their blade-like claws and treacherous teeth.

Cute Australian animals - wombat

Can you eat it?

NO!

There you have it.

So what’s for dinner at your house tonight? A tasty kangaroo steak or perhaps crocodile is more your style. Crocodile? For sure! Come read my second post: Can You Eat These 5 Deadly Australian Animals?

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