Thursday, February 11, 2010

Explore the Wildlife Down Under

On the Australia Discovery Student Adventure, your itinerary will take you on a headfirst dive into local biology. Australia is rich in diverse specimens, making for exciting encounters on your Discovery Student Adventure.

Some destinations are made all the more great by that which dwells there – the fauna. Australia is one of the places best known for the wide variety of creatures that call it home, from the iconic koala and kangaroo to the more intimidating crocodile. All Australian animals are fascinating. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the excitement of coming across a few local critters on your adventure. Here are a few interesting points about the wild inhabitants of Australia:

  • The flying fox is a large fruit bat that you can find roosting in the trees of Queensland — it truly looks like its name describes. In Australia, its closest genetic relative is actually the human. We have more than 95% of the same genetic makeup!

  • The saltwater crocodile, with its very impressive smile, has blood with an amazing resistance to infection. Even if wounded and in stagnant waters, the crocodile can fight off infection, thanks to the incredible antibiotic properties of its blood. This quality has made crocodiles figure prominently in recent HIV and other medical research.

  • Koalas smell like cough drops from spending their lives in eucalyptus trees.

  • Kangaroos can become impregnated and delay the pregnancy for months until environmental conditions are more favorable, essentially keeping the fetus in stasis.

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