Land and Resources, Plants and Animals
phalangers, spiny anteaters, New Guinea crocodile, Reptile species, egg-laying mammals
Three-quarters of Papua New Guinea has retained its natural vegetation, which is mainly dense rain forest. Sago palms and mangrove swamps cover parts of the mainland coast. Farther inland are tropical rain forests and grasslands. The mountainous areas also contain stands of pine trees and deciduous forests, and the tops of some mountains have alpine vegetation.
Papua New Guinea’s wild animal life is abundant and varied. The majority of animals are similar to those found in Australia, but there are many species of both animals and plants that exist only in Papua New Guinea and Papua. Monotremes (egg-laying mammals) such as echidnas (spiny anteaters) are among the mammals commonly found on the island, as are marsupials, including tree kangaroos, wallabies, and phalangers. Wild pigs, rats, bats, and mice are also common mammals, some of which were introduced by early human immigrants. Papua New Guinea also has hundreds of species of tropical birds, among them many unique and protected birds of paradise. Reptile species, including snakes, lizards, and the New Guinea crocodile, are numerous. A number of crocodile farms export skins and sell the meat. Insects abound, including large and colorful butterfly species and malaria-carrying Anopheles mosquitoes. The coastal waters support many species of fish, shellfish, and turtles.
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