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Fascinating Facts About Australia

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The landmass later known as Australia was peopled for at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century by indigenous people speaking around 250 languages.

Ancient Romans believed in Terra Australis Incognita – the unknown south land.

The early settlers imagined that Central Australia was really a great inland sea. They were wrong – it is largely desert.

Two of the world's very small group of monotremes (egg-laying mammals) are found in Australia. They are the echidna and the platypus.

Australia is the driest continent on earth. It is the only country that occupies an entire continent and the only continent wholly in the southern hemisphere.

About 80 percent of Australians live in coastal areas.

The Australian Coat of Arms features a red kangaroo and emu holding up the six state crests. These two indigenous animals were chosen because they cannot go backwards.

The koala is not a bear. It is a marsupial, so like the kangaroo and the wombat it has a pouch to rear its young. Koalas live for more than 20 years and sleep up to 19 hours a day. Very early settlers enjoyed eating "bear" which was koala meat. Koalas also communicate with each other by making a noise like a snore and then a belch, known as a "bellow". 

When koalas are born, the "joeys" are only two centimetres long – about as big as a jellybean

Dingoes are more closely related to the Indian wolf and do not bark. Instead they howl.

The Sydney funnelweb spider is considered the world's most deadly spider. People have died from its bite in less than two hours.

The taipan of Australia is considered the most dangerous venomous snake in the world. Australia is the only continent where venomous snake species outnumber the non-venomous ones. 

Australian Fruit Bats can travel up to 100 kilometers in a night.

Australian's spend more time per month on Facebook than any other country averaging over seven hours.

Australia has around 600 varieties of eucalypts, often called gum trees.

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