A guide to the native wildlife of the Grampians. From the iconic Kangaroo to the bizarre Echidna, the Grampians National Park is full of amazing wildlife.
The Grampians is one of Victoria’s natural beauties, located an easy 3 hours drive west of Melbourne. Known for it stunning viewpoints, waterfalls and great hikes, the park is also teeming with wildlife, making it an ideal place to spend a few days!
Don’t miss our ‘9 Places you must see in the Grampians’ HERE
The kangaroo is an Aussie icon. It’s probably the most famous of all native Australian animals. Seeing a kangaroo, is a bucket list item for most tourists who visit Australia. The Grampians have a very healthy population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, where they roam around freely. In fact, it would be almost impossible to visit the Grampians and not see one!
Kangaroos are generally very active at dusk and dawn, where they can easily be seen hoping around the roads and town of Halls Gap. As they are very social animals you’ll usually see them in large groups called ‘mobs’. During the hotter part of day, you can often spot them lounging under the shade of a tree.
The Grampians has three species of Wallabies.
- Swamp or Black Wallabies
- Red-necked Wallabies
- Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies
Wallabies are generally solitary and become active especially at dusk and during the night. During the day they lie in the shade of thick vegetation.
Swamp Wallabies spend their time in the thicker undergrowth and shelter during the day. But if you approach quietly, you may see them around swampy areas and waterholes.
The Red-Necked Wallabies like slightly more open terrain than the Swamp Wallabies. They prefer areas of less dense dry Sclerophyll Forest close to grassy areas. Look carefully in these areas and you’ll potentially come across one resting in shade.
There has been a programme in place to reintroduce the critically-endangered Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby back into the Grampians. With such a small population in the area, they are very rarely seen. The good news is Parks Victoria recently posted some promising news about them ‘bouncing back’!
TIP: Telling the Swamp Wallaby, Red-Necked Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo apart can be tricky at first glance, but there are some obvious things to look for:
- The most distinguishable feature is the colour of the inner ear. The Swamp Wallabies ears are a solid dark colour and the outer edges are lined white.
- Swamp Wallabies tend to be a darker grey/brown colour than the lighter grey Red-Necked Wallaby.
- The inner ear is very light pinky/grey colour.
- Red-necked Wallabies have a very dark nose/muzzle. This dark strip extends up and between the eyes. Swamp wallabies have more white around the muzzle.
- Red-Necked Wallabies are named because of the distinctive reddish fur found on their shoulders and nape.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
- Kangaroos are bigger and have longer legs than wallabies.
- Their inner ears are darker and gets lighter in colour as the fur gets closer to the edge of the ear.
- In general, kangaroos tend to have less colour variation. Wallabies coats are often brighter and have three different colours.
- Kangaroos also have a different shaped muzzles.
This is one of the best places in Australia to see Echidnas. The spiky Short-beaked Echidna can often be seen and heard as they use their strong snouts and claws to get into termite mounds and snuffle out food. So during the warmer months, keep both your eyes and ears open for a foraging Echidna. During the chilly winter months, they go into state of torpor reducing their metabolism to save energy and are predominantly hibernating in burrows.
These solitary, long-living and toothless creatures are ‘monotremes.’ This means they, like Platypus, are egg-laying mammals. And the peculiarities don’t end there. Males are also equipped with a four-headed penis!
Possums & Gliders
If you’re up in the early hours heading out for a sunrise, keep your eyes peeled for some of the nocturnal species
There’s 3 species of Possum in the Grampians. The Brushtail, Common Ringtail and the tiny Eastern Pygmy Possum.
Of the 3 species of Gliders here, the Feather-tailed and Squirrel Gliders are incredibly elusive. But at night, if you’re in the right place at the right time, its not uncommon to see Sugar Gliders gliding between the trees.
The Grampians is one of the top places in Victoria to see wild Emus. These flightless birds frequent Halls Gaps and the surrounding fields. They are endemic to Australia and it is the tallest native bird the country, standing at up to 1.9m tall. In the bird world, only the Ostrich is taller.
Fun fact, the male is a ‘stay-at-home’ dad. After their avocado-like green eggs are laid, the female leaves and the male incubates the chicks for up to 2 months. During this time he doesn’t eat, drink or poo! Once hatched, the young will stay with their father for up to 18-24 months.
Native to eastern mainland Australia, the Grampians is a great place to see and hear the laughing kookaburra. At dawn and dusk, listen for the instantly recognisable laugh of a kookaburra. This monogamous bird, partners up for life and when they and their fully grown young all ‘cackle’ together, they can certainly wake you with a surprise.
Did you know that a kookaburras ‘laugh’ is actually a territorial warning to keep other birds away?
There are more than 370 parrot species in the world with over 50 species in Australia. Parrots belong to the order Psittaciformes and in Australia that’s split into:
- Psittacidae (“true” Parrots) with 40 found in Australia
- Cacatuidae (Cockatoos) with 14 found in Australia
Of the Parrots, there are several to find here including the Crimson Rosella, Musk Lorikeet, Rainbow Lorikeet and Blue-winged Parrot.
The Grampians is an awesome place to find several of these Cockatoo species including: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Long-Billed Corella, Little Corella, Yellow-Tailed Black-Cockatoo, Galah and even the endangered Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo.
I know, I know, most people aren’t interested in birds and we’ve lost some of you already. But there’s a few other particularly pretty ones to keep an eye out for.
The easily distinguishable brightly coloured male Superb Fairy-wren and Red-Browed Finch can often be seen darting around carparks and picnic areas. And last but not least, there are some beautiful Robin species including Eastern Yellow Robin, Red-capped Robin, Flame Robin and Scarlet Robin.
So, when you’re next in the Grampians, keep your eyes peeled for some of this amazingly diverse wildlife! There’s some awesome viewpoints worth visiting too. Check out our ‘Best viewpoint of the Grampians’ HERE
Wildlife of the Grampians do’s & don’ts
I’ll think you’ll agree, the Grampians is full of awesome wildlife and that’s how we want to keep it!!! Here’s a few simple do’s and don’ts in the area from the experts:
Do not feed the wild animals here
Just because the Kangaroo’s (and Wallabies) in the parks and paddocks of Halls Gap allow you to, it doesn’t make it right. ‘Kangaroos are designed to eat large amounts of low protein roughage such as native grasses. Human food is a poor substitute and can damage their health as well as making them dependent on visitors for their food’- Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park
Don’t feed the birds
‘Most birds eat a balanced diet; 90% eat insects and nectar, seed or fruit. People feeding birds the wrong food changes the balance of their diet and can negatively impact their health’ – WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation
No bread please
Each bird species has very specific dietary needs. As stated above bread is not part of their natural diet, so please don’t feed it to them. ‘It contains no nutritional value and can cause malnourishment and serious harm’ and ‘bread that is not eaten may form bacteria that can disrupt the whole ecosystem and harm many other species.’ – Wildlife Victoria
At dawn and dusk in particular, Roo’s and Wallabies are particularly active. Use some common sense. These bouncy creatures can jump in front of your car in a split second. ‘Reduce your speed by 10 km an hour and reduce your risk of hitting wildlife by 20%!’ Wildlife Victoria.
‘If you see an echidna trying to cross the road please slow down to let it pass. You could pull over if it is safe to do so and put your hazard lights on to encourage other drivers to slow down’ – Wildlife Victoria.
Occasionally accidents do happen and if you do hit a kangaroo or wallaby or you come across any injured wildlife of the Grampians please call one of these numbers 1300 094 535 or 1300 223 427.
Planning a trip to Australia? Then make sure you add Victoria to your itinerary! Check out our guides to help you plan the perfect trip!
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