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Can You Eat Cute Australian Animals?

During a road trip along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, we passed several Australian 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.

Cute Australian animals that most of you will recognize.

Cute Australian animals that most of you are dying to cuddle.

Cute Australian 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 cute Australian animals? Let’s take a cheeky glance.

Kangaroo

Everyone’s favorite Australian animal is the kangaroo. When you think of Australia you think of kangaroos. 

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. Kangaroos can be seemingly warm and friendly to cuddle, but those tails are strong enough to hold their weight, kick up those giant hind legs and do more damage than you think.

Where can you find kangaroos?

While we don’t ride kangaroos to school contrary to many foreigners’ beliefs, nor are they only visible on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. You can find kangaroos regularly hopping around large parks or outer suburban bushland across all Australian cities. This one was at Taronga Zoo.

Buy a cute keepsake kangaroo here.

can you eat cute australian animals - kangaroo

Can you eat kangaroo?

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

What a cute Australian animal, right? Cuddly, adorable koala bears… that aren’t bears or cuddly. The koalas 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. They spend roughly 20 hours per day sleeping.

Where can you find koalas?

I love seeing koalas and baby koalas along the Great Ocean Road or in any wildlife park. 

Buy a cuddly koala here.

Can you eat koalas?

NO!

The koala is listed as vulnerable in the Australian Endangered Species list. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 koalas are 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.

can you eat cute australian animals - koala

Quokka

The world’s happiest animal. And in my opinion the cutest Australian animal of them all. These adorable macropods are much like a small kangaroo meets giant smiling rat.

Where can you find quokkas?

You can spot these guys in Perth zoo or take a trip to Rottnest Island, which is off the coast of Western Australia.

Get your smiling quokka throw pillow here.

Can you eat quokka?

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?

can you eat cute australian animals - quokka

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.

Where can you find emus?

We have our favorite emu at Simmos Down South in Western Australia or you’ll capture this Australian wildlife wandering around the outback. 

Get your National Geographic emu here.

Can you eat emu?

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.

can you eat cute australian animals - emu

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.

Where can you find a platypus?

Oh geez, now you are asking the tough questions. If you’re running low on time try the Australia zoo. But I have seen them in the creeks of Tasmania. 

Get your kids a squishable platypus here.

Can you eat platypus?

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.

can you eat cute australian animals - platypus

Echidna

A medium-sized, solitary mammal with coarse hair and spines, usually black or brown. Kind of like a porcupine. Besides 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.

Where can you find echidnas?

I often see echidnas attempting to cross the Great Ocean Road or spot them in most wildlife parks. 

Know someone who loves cute Australian echidnas? Get them this echidna shirt.

Can you eat echidna?

NO!

He’s so spikey, ouch. Why even try?

can you eat cute australian animals - echidna

Kookaburra

These beautiful carnivorous birds are known for eating their young as well as stealing anything off your fork at the local park barbie (barbecue). Their saving grace is you will always laugh around a kookaburra because the sound they make is constant laughter.

Where can you find kookaburra?

Again these loveable birds can be found in nearly every part of Australia. Just head to a campsite, we saw plenty from our cabin at Lakes Entrance, Victoria.  

Uggs are the best Australian shoe and I love the koala.

Can you eat kookaburra?

NO!

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

can you eat cute australian animals - kookaburra

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.

Where can you find dingos?

Thankfully these tend to stay in the outback, usually far from civilization. If you want to see one I’d do it safely at Perth zoo. 

You can’t eat dingos, but your dog will love these treats.

Can you eat dingo?

NO!

Would you eat a dog? Dingoes are a no on the can you eat cute Australian animals list.

can you eat cute australian animals - dingo

Wombat

This cute animal is a short-legged, muscular marsupial mammal 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 its blade-like claws and treacherous teeth.

Where can you find wombats?

Unfortunately, the only time I’ve seen a wombat in the wild is dead on the side of the road. But you can find plenty at wildlife parks, live Caversham Wildlife Park

Cuddle this wombat.

Can you eat a wombat?

NO!

can you eat cute australian animals - wombat

There you have it.

So what’s for dinner at your house tonight? A tasty kangaroo steak or a spicy Tasmanian Devil, or perhaps a saltwater crocodile is more your style. Crocodile? For sure! Come read my second post about all the spiders, snakes, sharks, and more: Can You Eat These 5 Deadly Australian Animals?

Want to see Australian wildlife in the ocean? Take a trip to the Great Barrier Reef It’s a national geographic dream.

 

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