Nature Coast wildlife: What can you see?


Perhaps the most unusual animal on this list the platypus is a duck-billed mammal that lives in freshwater. It is vulnerable to extinction due to droughts, hunting of their fur and lost of habitat. These shy creatures only come out at night-time and if you see one it’s best to quietly observe. Don’t make any loud noises or sudden movements. The platypus is a beloved creature and favourite among children. It’s well worth trying to spot on your trip to the Nature Coast.



These peaceful mammals enjoy lazing around in the ocean grazing on various sea grasses. They are extremely docile. They are listed as being vulnerable to extinction but the Nature Coast has taken care to limit certain fishing activities near their habitats in order to help them thrive. These distinctive sea-creatures are believed to be the basis for the mythical mermaid.


Manta Rays

These gentle giants are a must see for anyone visiting Lady Elliot Island. Easy to spot between May and August they live in the region year-round. It is easy to get close to these creatures while swimming or diving and their tail spine is non-functioning making them quite safe to be around. They also have the largest brain to body weight ratio of all fish and they are more intelligent than the dolphin.



Goannas can grow up to 2m long and although they are quite intriguing, we recommend watching them from a distance. They don’t tend to attack people, but it is not worth accidently provoking them. There are many smaller goanna species in Queensland and they are safe to get closer too if you are looking for a unique photo or want to guess what species they are by their markings. These carnivorous creatures will eat anything provided they can overpower it and take a bite so keep your fingers clear!



This strange looking creature is the largest flying mammal in the world. Also known as fruit-bats, they are useful for spreading seeds and pollen over large land areas. They tend to be nocturnal but can sometimes travel during the day. Flying-foxes have fantastic night vision. You can find several species in the Nature Coast including the black flying-fox, the Eastern tube-nosed bat and the little red flying-fox.



These small marsupials are common along the Nature Coast and there are several varieties that call the region home. They are one of the harder animals to spot due to their small size and nocturnal lifestyle. If you do manage to spot a bandicoot watch how it burrows into the ground. Try not to disturb them too much and avoid using flash if you want to take a photo, opting to instead use a dim light to add volume to your photo.


Spinner Dolphins

Spinner dolphins love the tropical waters of the Nature Coast and visitors love watching their acrobatic performances. These marvellous creatures can jump up to 3.5 meters high and enjoy playing on the coast. They will often come close to small boats so it is easy to say hello and marvel at their displays.

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