Australian Animals, Can You Eat Them?

Updated
Home » Australia » Australian Animals, Can You Eat Them?

This post may contain affiliate links.

Australia is known for its unique and very special wildlife but can you eat them? We have quite a selection of native animals, like kangaroo, wallabies, wombats, platypus and echidnas. Many are marsupials, which are a type of mammal.

In Australia you will also find native birds including emu and kookaburras.

kangaroo can you eat kangaroo
Yes, you can eat kangaroo. Kangaroo meat is quite popular in Australia and Skippy here, could end up in a pie. Photo taken at Australia Zoo, near Brisbane. That’s a great day out!

Then there are the non-unique animal residents, such as camels, saltwater crocodiles and sea turtles. But can you eat them?

Many of Australia’s native and imported animals are found on restaurant menus, in supermarkets, and, as above, in pies. You’re also likely to find speciality sausages (snags or bangers) containing these meats.

So should you eat them? Can you eat them? Do they taste good? Which Australian animals can you try on your Australian adventure? You may even be able to take some of these speciality meats home with you as Australian souvenirs. Maybe as biltong.

australian animals you can eat kangaroo and crocodile pie
Yes, Australians do eat crocodile and kangaroo pie. These were on sale in Port Douglas, Queensland. These were delicious!

Australian Animals You Can Eat

Australian food today is typically very western and not that different from what people eat in the UK, US, or parts of Europe. There is also a strong Asian representation in Australia.

If you’re looking for something uniquely Australian to eat, other than lamingtons and fairy bread, you’ll want to look out for these Australian meat animals. Some have been consumed by our native people for millennia.

Although you’ll often see kangaroo meat in restaurants, most Australians aren’t dining on crocodiles and emu every day. But you should be able to find these foods in Australia.

Kangaroo

Kangaroo is probably the most common and popular of the native Australian animals eaten today. You will even find kangaroo meat on supermarket shelves.

Can you eat kangaroo?

Yes you can eat kangaroo and it’s quite commonly eaten in Australia and elsewhere around the world.

What does Kangaroo taste like? Kangaroo can taste similar to beef or steak but it has a lower fat content, so cooking kangaroo takes great care. Kangaroo is dark, gamey meat, high in protein and with little fat. If you plan to cook it, treat it like venison. It benefits for a long slow cook in some good red wine, or you can cook kangaroo steaks fast.

You’ll find smoked kangaroo, kangaroo sliced on pizzas, in pies and sausages. Kangabangers, sausages always used to be on our supermarket shelves. I have seen kangaroo mince from time to time along with kangaroo steaks.

Australia exports kangaroo to many countries around the world. This means you may be able to try kangaroo meat outside Australia.

Kangaroos are not endangered in Australia and infact, have to be culled sometimes. You are very likely to see kangaroos around towns and near roads. You’ll almost certainly see them in the bush.

There are several species of kangaroo in Australia and they are the largest of the marsupials. Smaller members of the genus macropus are called wallabies. I’ve never seen wallaby on a menu.

  • Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) 
  • Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)
  • Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus)
  • Antilopine Kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus) 
  • Common Wallaroo (Macropus robustus)
  • Black Wallaroo (Macropus bernadus)

Crocodile

australian crocodile can you eat crocodile
Australia’s fearsome saltwater crocodiles. Can you eat them? Yes. Crocodiles are farmed for meat and skins in Australia. Photo taken in Darwin, in The Northern Territory, where you can get in the tank with the salties. A similar crocodile attraction has just opened in Port Douglas.

Can you eat crocodile in Australia? Absolutely yes, it’s actually fairly common and crocodile is farmed for meat and skins in the tropical parts of Australia.

Crocodiles are wild animals in Australia, and also tourist attractions, particularly in Far North Queensland and The Northern Territory.

Saltwater crocodiles are not unique to Australia, their range extends into South Asia too. Some crocodiles are even found in the USA. Australia has both saltwater and freshwater crocodiles. One of the joys of living in the tropics, is being croc-aware.

do australians eat crocodile? crocodile meat
Do Australian’s eat crocodile meat? Yes. Australian crocodile meat for sale in a fishmonger’s in Queensland Australia.

Can you eat crocodile?

Do Australians eat crocodile? Yes, they do, this unusual meat isn’t just a tourist gimmick. You’ll see crocodile meat for sale sometimes, and sometimes crocodile sausages, pies, spring rolls, even smoked crocodile.

What does crocodile meat taste like? Crocodile tastes like wet, soft, slightly fresh-water fish-like, chicken. This is probably because farmed crocodiles are fed chicken. Crocodile is not particularly good to eat, but it’s OK.

Koala

australian koala can you eat koala bear
Australian koala can you eat koala bear meat? Well, maybe, but they are a protected species.

Koalas, like the platypus and echidna, are a protected native Australian animal, and harming or killing them could bring you a hefty fine or time in jail. So no, you can’t eat koalas.

Can you eat koala?

How could you eat something with such fluffy ears anyway? Koalas smell bad too, they are not the fluffy koala bears of childhood, they smell bad and have scratchy toenails.

I’ve never heard of Aboriginal peoples eating koala meat either.

Platypus

australian platypus can you eat duckbill platypus
The elusive, and tiny platypus is a protected species. People generally do not eat them. Photo taken at a platypus viewing point near Cairns Queensland.

So can you eat platypus? In theory, you can eat them, but you’d be in a lot of trouble if you did. You’ll also need to watch out for the venomous spurs the males are equipped with.

Can you eat platypus?

Platypus are not regarded as endangered, but they are protected in all of Australia’s eastern states. Killing a protected species could land you with 6 months in jail or an $11,000 fine. They’re also tiny, there wouldn’t be much meat on one.

I’ve never even heard that Aboriginals traditionally eat platypus.

Can you eat platypus eggs?

Platypus lay eggs, so can you eat platypus eggs? Platypus lay small clutches of eggs, only 3 or so, and they’ll all contain embryos. It’s not something I’d want to eat unless I was starving.

Platypus, being a particular type of mammal, a monotreme, they do produce milk for their young. Could you in theory, eat platypus milk? The milk has been studied and found to contain a unique antibacterial protein. This is needed because platypus don’t have teats, the milk is produced on their skin, laying it likely to become contaminated by bacteria.

This special antimicrobial protein is to help the baby platypus with this.

So not only would milking a platypus be very hard, why would you want to eat platypus milk anyway?

The other famous Australian monotreme, the echidna, is also a milk-producing egg layer.

Echidna

australian echidna can you eat echidna
An echidna in the wild near Canberra, the only time I’ve ever seen an echidna in Australia!

Echidnas are native Australian monotremes, also found in New Guinea. Like platypus, they produce both milk and eggs. Could you eat echidna milk or eggs? Why, when there are perfectly good birds in abundance?

Can you eat echidna?

Can you eat echidna? Yes, in theory. Aboriginal peoples regard echidna as good bush meat and it’s said to taste like chicken.

However, echidnas are protected native wildlife. You could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars or end up in jail for killing or harming them. So don’t put echidna on your menu!

I have more animals to add to this list. The Aboriginal people of Australia have harvested bush meats such as possum, turtle, goana, dugong, fruit bats, yabbies, and snake. Most people in Australia have never tasted these things. Other animals found in Australia, like camel and emu are farmed for meat, but not commonly consumed. If you know of anything interesting about Australian animals for human consumption, let me know in the comments, this is a fascinating subject for me as a zoologist, conservationist, and permaculture farmer.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

6 thoughts on “Australian Animals, Can You Eat Them?”

  1. I’m glad that you mentioned which species are protected in the article, thank you.

    Growing up in WA I have also tried Emu and bush turkey. Similar to chicken but fattier I found.

    I’m not a big fan of roo meat. It reminds me of venison which I don’t enjoy either. It does make decent sausages when mixed with pork mince for a bit of fat content.

    Reply
    • Oh, bush turkeys are protected here I believe. We have them pulling our garden to shreds daily. I LOVE venison (being from Europe) and you can’t get it here so a good kangaroo stew with plenty of red wine and juniper comes somewhat close to the flavour. Ostrich does well cooked that way too. We mostly buy kangaroo from our butcher for the dog though, he gets it as a treat now and then.So do the cats. I think it’s one of the cheapest meats we can buy here.

      Reply
  2. This is a poorly written article filled with misinformation. I could ask my 6 year old niece to write an article on eating Australian meat, and it’s be more coherrent than this.

    Reply
    • Go ahead then. And see if she can get it published and make a living from it. You might need her to learn SEO first though. You too probably. What an ignorant fool you are Donny boy. Hopefully her writing is better than yours, you made a stupid error. Also please fill us in on the misinformation. It’s all fact-checked with sources.

      Reply
  3. Most Australians would not not eat Kangaroos. To encourage tourists to do so is abhorrent.

    Reply
    • Well, as we are in Australia, and all the local supermarkets and restaurants serve kangaroo, I’m guessing you’re not from here? Kangaroo is very commonly eaten and served in Australia. What’s the difference? You can eat cow but not kangaroo? I notice you’re not offended by the fact that crocodile is also farmed and consumed. “Most Australians” I’ve never come across anyone that wouldn’t eat it unless they were vegetarian or vegan.

      Reply

Leave a comment