Wildlife Spotting - Kangaroo Island, South Australia
The key to seeing wildlife is to get out of the car and walk among Kangaroo Island's many national, conservation, private parks and sanctuaries. Guided tours take you to places that are known animal habitats and experienced guides and interpretive signage allow you to gain greater insight into animal behaviour and the ecology. Many walking trails are available and are a great way to combine a pleasant walk in natural bushland with the opportunity to see wildlife. Many of the animal species found on Kangaroo Island are most active at night. Nocturnal tours are available across the Island.
What You Might See
Kangaroo Island Kangaroos: the Island's isolation has seen some species evolve differently from the mainland species. This is evident in the KI Kangaroo, a subspecies of the Western Grey Kangaroo which is smaller, darker and has longer fur than its mainland counterpart. Kangaroos and wallabies can be seen over most of the Island.
Tammar Wallabies: the Tammar Wallaby has smaller and finer features than the kangaroo and is abundant on the Island. Mainland populations are extinct in southeastern Australia, with only a small population surviving in Western Australia.
Australian Sea Lions and New Zealand Fur Seals: both species native to Kangaroo Island and most famously seen in great numbers around Admirals Arch and magnificent Seal Bay. At the latter you can join Park's Guides on beach tours to observe animals basking, playing and returning from their overnight fishing expeditions. Over 7,000 fur seals live and breed around Cape du Couedic.
Heath Goannas: a magnificent lizard that grows up to a metre. A predator of smaller reptiles, young birds and eggs, it is often seen on warm days basking or scavenging on dead animals along the roads.
Echidnas: an egg-laying mammal occasionally seen in the understorey foraging for ants with its sticky tongue. Kangaroo Island echidnas have distinctive ‘blonde' spines.
Koalas: one of the Island's most famous characters. The koala (like the platypus and Ringtail Possum) is an introduced species and their numbers have truly exploded. Unlike on the mainland, you don't have to try too hard to get your first glimpse of a wild koala.
Other natives: Brushtail Possum, Short Beaked Echidna, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Western and Little Pygmy Possum, Bush and Swamp Rat, six bat species, six frog species, Black Tiger Snake and Pygmy Copperhead.
Tips For Wildlife Spotting
Taking your time to discover wildlife is paramount. Take advice from National Park, accommodation and tour staff and choose walking trails and designated paths, rather than making your own trail. Wildlife is most visible during winter and, in summer, during the cooler parts of the day. Most of Kangaroo Island's mammals are nocturnal; ask your accommodation or tour providers about wildlife spotting at night in your area. Wildlife is most successfully observed (and least stressed) from a distance, so as not to interrupt their natural behaviour. Sit quietly and keep noise to a minimum. Please do not feed animals as human foods can cause illness, even death.
The information sheet below is a comprehensive guide designed to enhance your wildlife viewing experience on Kangaroo Island.
Visit with our friendly staff at Kangaroo Island's only Accredited Visitor Information Centre and let us help you customise an itinerary as unique as you are to get the most from your time on Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo Island Gateway Visitor Information Centre - Howard Drive, PENNESHAW SA 5222 Open: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm, Weekends & Public Holidays 10am - 4pm, Closed Christmas Day.
Need some help booking somewhere to stay?
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While all Kangaroo Island accommodation is suitable for exploring the Island, particular regions of the Island afford different advantages. Whether you are arriving in the evening and need accommodation close to the ferry port, you prefer to be close to shops and restaurants or if you really want to get away from it all and stay in a more secluded area, there is a region on Kangaroo Island to suit everyone.