Tag Archives: wildlife park

Australia Has More Things That Can Kill You Than Anywhere Else

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I once read that Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else.

For starters, the ten most poisonous snakes are found there.

In April, when I realized that we would have enough miles for two free flights to Australia, I figured my most difficult obstacle would be to convince Rob to go. He’s afraid of spiders and had told me a 1000 times that he wouldn’t go to Australia because he had heard how big and deadly his eight-legged friends are there.

Despite my constant, “Well, we wouldn’t be camping in the Outback!” rebuttal, he countered with the long-ass plane ride.

Imagine my surprise when I finally suggested it that his only concern was getting enough time off from work.

Truth be told, he wanted to see the native Australian wildlife as much as I did!

We got a taste wandering through the Royal Botantical Gardens in Sydney. Then, we watched a wallaby hop across the road in front of our van before a penguin parade. And feeding the kangaroos at the Ballarat Wildlife Park certainly was a highlight.

But the Wildlife Park had so much more! Some of these animals might even be dangerous in the wild…

So let’s begin.

Emu

This flightless bird {which is part of the Australian Coat of Arms, along with the kangaroo} can be dangerous if he feels threatened in the wild. They have strong legs {that can run up to 35 miles per hour} and sharp claws on their feet. But, at the Wildlife Park, they were just hanging around like the kangaroos, so we offered to feed them, too.

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The huge beak freaked me out because when I held out my hand with food, she came down with a swift, deliberate peck that looked like she would take my hand off. Fortunately, the beak was not sharp and I survived; but this is definitely not something I would do in the wild!

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Crocodile

Barb and Tony warned us how much bigger the crocs were in Australia as opposed to the alligators in the the American South. At first glance, I thought we had stepped back in time. I remember asking, “Are you sure that these aren’t dinosaurs? They look prehistoric!” Rob and I were in awe.

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These crocs were in the water in another room behind the glass. I found it strange that a tourist tugged on the door to this croc’s room. When he found it was locked, he said, “I wish we could go in there!”

Are you crazy!?

This female croc, Bella, was the smaller of the two.

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From the Ballarat Wildlife Park website:

FACT:  Did you know saltwater crocs have a jaw pressure of about 3500 pounds per square info for an average male? This is compared to 335 pounds per square inch for a Rottweiler and 400 pounds per inch for a great white shark.

Here’s a{n amateur} video of Bella, the smaller female croc. The first couple seconds of the video where her eyes and head slowly, stealthily rise from the water are frightful!

Then there’s the big boy. This is the one the crazy tourist wanted to get near…

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Echidna

I wasn’t familiar with the echinda until going to Australia. They are small egg-laying mammals with strong claws and hollow spines, sort of like a porcupine.

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Chances are that they won’t hurt you, as long as you leave them alone. We took a tour of the Great Ocean Road along the Southern Australian Coast later that week. The photographer on our tour spotted an echidna from the bus. Our driver slowly drove by so we could see it, but would not let us stop to get off. I think that was a smart move.

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Tasmanian Devil

My generation grew up with the crazy cartoon version of a Tasmanian Devil. The real thing looks nothing like it.

Aussies {pronounced ozzies} call them Tassie {pronounced tazzie} Devils. You know how they like to make everything sound cuter by adding an “ie,” right?! Do a Google Image search of Tasmanian Devils and you’ll see that they really are kind of cute. Well, until they show their teeth!

Per the Ballarat Wildlife Park website:

There is terrible facial disease that has whiped out 80-90% of Tasmanian devils. This is a facial cancer that can be passed from devil to devil through biting.

They are now endangered because of this. If I remember correctly the guide told us that there were something like only 1000 remaining? Don’t quote me on that. I couldn’t find anything to back that up. While the Tassie Devil isn’t exactly like it is portrayed in the cartoon version, they do display a similar temperament when they feel threatened, making a lot of noise and baring teeth.

But to me, this one just looked like he was wandering around aimlessly and nervously!

The guide in the photo below was feeding this little devil some mice while telling us all about them. See that bird in the photo? That’s a magpie. That was the bird with the unique sound Rob and I stopped to observe in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. Yeah, the ones that were swooping down on us. We learned later that these can be nasty, ruthless little birds sometimes. Byclcists wear spikes on their helmets to keep the magpies away! During this presentation, the magpie took one of the mice right out the tongs as the guide was feeding the devil and flew off with it!

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The wildlife park also included exhibits with deadly snakes, none of which I cared to photograph. However, I think Rob was grossed out, but pleased that the spider below was not alive, but only a specimen. My hand is in the photo for size comparison!IMG_0918

While not all of these animals would necessarily attack you, they could still be dangerous in the wild. But it is all fascinating, no? And we won’t even get started on the sharks, box jellyfish and extreme desert heat that can also kill you in Australia.

Come back Monday to hear about the more cuddly-looking animals we saw at the wildlife park: the Koala and the Wombat!

Other posts on our Australia trip:

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Permagrin, Australia {Or That Time We Fed the ‘Roos}

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No, there is no city or place in Australia called Permagrin.

Or at least not that I know of…

Some definitions of permagrin:

  • A state of being. Appearing to be in a permanent state of grinning or smiling, despite your circumstances or state of mind. {Source}
  • A smile that lasts for a long time, despite any negative occurrences. {Source}
  • A word we use to define a long lasting, blissful grin. {Lost my source.}

Warning:

This post was going to be choc full of photos and videos of one or our favorite days in Australia, thanks to Barb & Tony! Then I realized I had too many ‘roo photos to share. So this post is dedicated entirely to them. {Don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of koalas, crocs, a wombat and even a Tasmanian devil in upoming posts!}

You just might adopt a permagrin, too, after reading this post and. If not, you be the judge if these photos captured my utter state of bliss!

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When Barb and Tony said we’d be going to a Ballarat for the day with a stop at the Wildlife Park, Rob and I were looking forward to seeing the kangaroos and koalas. But what happened next was not what I expected…

As we were paying our way at the entrance…

Barb: “Carrie, you and Rob will need at least four bags of kangaroo feed.”

“What?! We get to feed the kangaroos?” I thought to myself.

Me (to the cashier): “Two adult tickets and four bags of kangaroo feed, please.”

We opened the door to the entrance, went through the gift shop, and into the park.

And the kangaroos were right there… right outside the door.

My jaw dropped and I thought to myself again…

“Is this real life?”

Yes, the moment I stepped out of the gift shop into the wildlife park, the kangaroos were waiting for me. (Okay, not just for me. But they were… right there!)

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It’s almost like they were mythical creatures until I had the opportunity to touch them.

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Here’s a video of my first feeding! {We fed many that day.} I apologize for the amateur video. We’re new to the whole video-on-the-phone thing and Rob was just as surprised and excited as I was. He tried to figure it out as fast as he could to get some footage.

Check out the joey in the pouch, too!

Squeee! Again, this is not what I was expecting. I thought the ‘roos would be behind some fence or gated in somehow. But they were lounging all throughout the park!

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If they get tired or didn’t want to be bothered, there is a designated resting area where they can go to avoid visitors:

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Keep in mind, these are small, tamed wildlife park kangaroos. You wouldn’t go up to a kangaroo in the wild and try to feed nor interact with it. Not a good idea. They can be vicious. Their tails are so strong that they can lean back and balance on it before using its hind legs to tear you up.

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Spooning ‘Roos

The kangaroos in this park are somewhat spoiled. I didn’t see much hopping. Most people just come to them with feed. Or they’d use their front legs along with the back ones to move around. And those lazy Joeys don’t always stick their heads out first like this one…

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They crawl right down in those pouches to keep warm and sometimes you see just feet, sometimes feet and ears!

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Just look at the way they use their paws… hands? to grab my hand and eat out of it.

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We don’t look happy at all, do we?

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Ask me six months before we left if I thought I’d be feeding kangaroos. Nope. Never would have crossed my mind. I wouldn’t have even known we’d be going to Australia! {It was only in April that I realized we’d have enough miles for free flights by May.}

And Rob’s feeding:
{another amateur video}

Is it silly to say that this may have been one of the happiest days of my life?

Don’t tell me if you can do this in any zoo back in The States. Frankly, I don’t care. I was in Australia. It was my first time seeing ‘roos and I got to feed them – for as long as I wanted. It was the perfect day. And I definitely had a permagrin.

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Other than your wedding day or the day your child was born, what was one of the happiest days of your life?

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I’ll post about more wildlife from our beautiful day at Ballarat Wildlife Park… Stay tuned!

Other posts on our Australia trip:

Cheers~
Carrie