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Wildlife Region

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island is Australia's third-largest island, measuring 150 kilometres (93 miles) long and 90 km (56 miles) at its widest point, totalling 4400 square kilometres or 1700 square miles. Nearly half of the original vegetation has been retained and over one third of the land is protected across 30 National and Conservation parks. These are connected by roadside and creek-line corridors which carry excellent wildlife habitat across the landscape.

Over 90% of the Island is mallee and woodland dominated largely by Eucalyptus and the balance shrubland, fernland and forest. This provides habitat for a rich variety of animals: Kangaroo Island Kangaroo; Tammar Wallabies; Short-beacked Echidna; Southern Brown Bandicoot; 4 possums; 6 bats; 2 fur-seals; Australian Sea-lion; 18 whales and dolphins; Rosenberg’s Goanna; 2 snakes; a dragon; 6 skinks; 2 gecko; 6 frogs; 3 native rats; a dunnart; and over 260 birds.

Kangaroo Island separated from mainland Australia around 10,000 years ago, due to rising sea level after the last glacial period. Due to this long isolation, many animals are local sub-species and one, the sooty dunnart, is unique to Kangaroo Island. Other than domestics, there are few introduced species: Koalas and Platypus (released in the 1920s), cats, goats, pigs and deer, a few rodents; Bearded Dragons, Shingleback and Blue-tongued Skinks. Notably foxes and rabbits which have had much impact elsewhere in Australia have not been established.

The marine environment is equally diverse with more variation in lifeforms in Island waters than along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef and much of this is now protected in a network of marine parks. Key marine species other than marine mammals include Blue Groper and the ornate Leafy Sea-Dragon. Key wildlife encounters offered by Exceptional Kangaroo Island on small group tours are with Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies, Short-beaked Echidnas, Australian Sea-lions and Long-nosed Fur Seals, with a series of secondary encounters experienced on an opportunistic basis.

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Featured operator

  • Featured operator

    Exceptional Kangaroo Island

    Exceptional Kangaroo Island started in 1986 as fishing and diving charters and following the acquisition by Craig Wickham in 1990, morphed into a service which bridges the gap between a nature-based tour operator and a special interest destination management service.

    The blend of nature and hospitality is drawn from family experience in accommodation and touring, a year experiencing the best of Southern Africa, wildlife management qualifications and work with the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. Customer interest in well interpreted wildlife encounters, warm and welcoming hosting and the...

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