Australia has some really cool and crazy animals. I was psyched to find Safari Ltd made a TOOB® called The Land Down Under which had great little figurines of some of these amazing species – I decided to make corresponding Montessori inspired 3-part printables for these animals as part of our Australia Unit Study.
Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) – is a carnivorous marsupial. Once native to mainland Australia, it is found in the wild only on the island state of Tasmania. It has a squat, thick build, with a large head and a tail which is about half its body length. Unusually for a marsupial, its forelegs are slightly longer than its hind legs, and devils can run up to 13 km/hour (8.1 mph) for short distances.
Kangaroo (Macropus rufus, giganteus fuliginosus & antilopinus) – Kangaroos are indigenous to Australia, and is the symbol of Australia (appearing on the Australian coat of arms and some of it’s currency. Kangaroos are the only large animals to use hopping as a means of locomotion. The comfortable hopping speed for a red kangaroo is about 20–25 km/h (12–16 mph), but speeds of up to 70 km/h (43 mph) can be attained over short distances.
Dingo (Canis familiaris) – The dingo is a type of dog that is native to Australia. It is regarded as a feral dog because it descended from domesticated ancestors, and is a medium-sized canid with a lean, hardy body that is designed for speed, agility and stamina. The head is the widest part of the body, is wedge-shaped and large in proportion to the body.
Frilled lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii) – This animal gets it’s name from the large frill around its neck, which usually stays folded against the lizard’s body. It spends the majority of the time in trees, living on insects and small vertebrates. The lizard ventures to the floor only in search of food, or to engage in territorial conflicts.
Cockatoo (Cacatuidae) – Cockatoos are recognizable by their showy crests and curved bills. Their plumage is generally less colorful than that of other parrots, being mainly white, grey or black and often with colored features in the crest, cheeks or tail. Cockatoos prefer to eat seeds, tubers, corms, fruit, flowers and insects, and often feed in large flocks. Cockatoos are monogamous and nest in tree hollows.
Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) – sometimes referred to as the duck-billed platypus, is a semiaquatic egg-laying mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. It is part of an unique species of mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Platypus are covered with dense, brown fur that traps a layer of insulating air to keep the animal warm. The fur is waterproof, with the texture similar to a mole. The platypus uses its tail for storage of fat reserves and the webbing on the feet is more significant on the front feet and is folded back when walking on land.
Taipan (Oxyuranus microlepidotus, scutellatus & temporalis) – are large, fast-moving, highly venomous and considered some of the most deadly known snakes. The venom is known to paralyze the victim’s nervous system and clot the blood, which then blocks blood vessels and uses up clotting factors.
Wombat (Vombatus ursinus, Lasiorhinus latifrons & krefftii) – are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials measuring about 1 meter (40 in) in length with small, stubby tails. They are adaptable and habitat tolerant, and are found in forested, mountainous, and heathland areas of south-eastern Australia, including Tasmania.
Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) – The largest living reptile and most aggressive of all crocodiles. It is a big-headed species and has a relatively broad snout, especially when older. The coloration is pale yellow with black stripes when young but dark greenish-drab colored as adults. This reptile likes to live in brackish and marine environments as well as lower stretches of rivers. They are known to travel long stretches and preys on virtually any animal within its reach.
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) – Often known as a “Koala Bear” is not actually a bear at all. It is actually a marsupial, and closely related to the wombat. The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland’s eastern and southern regions, and is easily recognizable by its stout, tailless body and large head with round, fluffy ears and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala measures about 24–33 inches and weighs between 9–33 pounds.
I laminated my cards so they would stand up to little fingers.
We talked about each animal, and basic species it was (bird, mammal, reptile, insect, etc). We talked about if it was large or small. My preschooler then matched up the animals with the miniatures. After this we worked on matching the word cards to the animal pictures (I read the word cards to her, since she can’t read yet).
What fun to learn about animals that live in other countries! 🙂