|Hairy nosed wombat|
Well we certainly hope he pays for the cab - $60 each way to the Billabong Wildlife Sanctuary! We’ll deal with that when we get to it!t to it!
What a fabulous place, delivered and collected in style by Brian the cabbie, interesting bloke, told us on the way back (in fact ALL the way back) about the indigenous parrots he breeds! We arrived a few minutes before opening, but hey, that was all to the good, we were the first in, so off to see the wombats as we didn’t really know what they were, and they were on the way to the koala!
|Tonka the smooth nosed wombat|
Two types, hairy nosed and smooth nosed, one of each, both out and lumbering about, about the size of a medium dog, but with very short legs. Both came for a stroke by both of us – B always says he’s not bothered, but he was straight in there as they really were very cute.
|Tinkerbell, the 9 month old joey|
I left him there as I could see fresh eucalyptus arriving at the koala so they were all awake, including Kayla and her 9 month old joey (no I didn’t know baby koala were joeys as well as kangaroo either) Tinkerbell. “So cute” was about all I could say to the ranger walking past, “How many times a day do you hear that?” Without really passing comment he went in, took her from mums back and brought her over – all part of her familiarisation training!
|"Give me back my baby...."|
Didn’t get to hold (well you have to pay for that, and she’s too young anyway) but stroked to my hearts content! Mum came down the tree and across looking for her eventually, so thought she’d better have her back, but I could have left happy and we’d only been there half an hour!
|"You're safe now"|
Wombats 3 and 4 were just as endearing, 3 was giving its blanket a good seeing to, until finally it managed to get under it which was the funniest thing – a self-propelled blanket. Don’t know where 4 had been hiding but it appeared outside and was putting its paws up the fence so it could be stroked. Told the next people who came by, and it wasn’t behaving the same at all! Back to look at 1 and 2 again who were both asleep, 1, Tonka, curled up with his teddy bear, he really was.
Off to the Cassowary as they were the first show, they look smaller than emu, but apparently are heavier, and there are only about 1000 left in the wild, so we’ll be lucky to see one of those, though we are about to enter their territory, so eyes will be peeled. Strange looking birds, but apparently solely responsible for the rain forest – what goes in the mouth comes out the other end 15 mins later virtually untouched, so seeds are transferred from place to place, with the addition of some intestinal juices which make for a fine fertilizer!
|The thing on his head is partly hollow and is believed to act as a sound chamber to allow him to make a very low humming noise|
We all fed him grapes, but didn’t hang around the 15 mins to see the outcome!
The girl doing this show had arrived with a black cockatoo with red under the wings (the one Mum and I saw in the wild was the yellow winged version) who got passed around (B was happy). He was then placed on a stand where he just seemed to live, gladly taking as many sunflower seeds from the feed bag we’d bought as you wanted to give him.
10.30 show was wombat experience (no father, I don’t know how you play ‘wom’ either) so 1 and 2 were brought out to play, though 2 wasn’t very happy so went back home pretty sharpish, but 1 was happy as Larry (or Tonka), in fact when a cyclone came through a couple of years ago and the park was closed for 10 weeks they got really worried about him as he was off his food, losing weight, three vets could find nothing wrong, so they didn’t show him when they re-opened, until he started pacing, so they took him out for a quick pat after which he went back home and for the first time in 11 weeks wolfed down all his breakfast.
|Tonka looking quite relaxed|
Poor thing didn’t know what he’d done wrong so as to not get the fuss he was used to! In order to hold the wombat (and later the koala and the Burmese python) you have to pay for the souvenir photo, so I resisted, satisfied with a stroke and a tickle – poor thing has really ticklish back paws!
|In fact, he's lapping it up!|
|Ray Charles, the blind koala|
11.00 koala experience, introduced to all the koala by the girl holding Tinkerbell, but no touching of her (did I feel smug?) before going into a walkway to stroke Ray Charles (well he is blind). Fought against the photo, but no, I had to have my cuddle. Well worth it for $16 dollars, and the pictures not too bad either! The koala union is strong though, they can only work for half an hour a day, three days a week and stress wasn’t in its vocabulary!
11.45 reptile experience with Jeremy (who had introduced me to Tinkerbell, what was the snake and croc man doing playing with the koala? But who was I to argue?) We didn’t queue to hold the snake, but did for the little croc, not the photo op with the big python though.
12.15 the program said was lunch break, and we didn’t dare argue for fear of missing something later, at this stage we’d only looked at half the park so we dashed off the other way to see what we could see. More kangaroo and ducks ( I know, I haven’t mentioned kangaroo and ducks before) which is what the food bag of seed is intended for, I hadn’t intended to ‘waste’ any of my seed on ducks, but they were very pretty ducks, and they would come and eat it from your hand, and it did make B giggle, this frantic pecking at the palm of your hand!
The kangaroo were quite keen, they’d hold on to your hand while they ate and were quite happy to be stroked, even the one with the joey (he didn’t have any seed, but I did get a little stroke).
At this point another one hopped up with a tiny joey, about 6cm long, all pink and naked just hanging on to the nipple, now they are born tiny and very underdeveloped, they then crawl to the pouch, latch on and do most of their developing and growing after birth, so what this one was doing ‘hanging out’ we weren’t sure. I couldn’t work out how to put it back in so decided that the experts could be notified and deal with it.
Rushed back for 12.45 turtle feeding and race, the lake was full of turtles, and guess who was the only one to be bitten badly enough to have to go to reception to ask for a plaster? She wasn’t very caring “we normally expect the kids to come in…..” But I treat it as a success if I’ve been close enough to anything to get bitten!
This meant we arrived slightly late for 13.00 dingo experience, so couldn’t get close to hear the talk, was however the first one to see the male being walked round on a lead to be weighed before being introduced to everyone for some fuss! He licked my finger and the female, when I got to say hi, licked me. Cute, but just like skinny dogs really.
|An alpha male saltie|
13.15 salt water crocodile feeding, they are evil, powerful beasts, the first male vanished in the water, you would not have known he was there, just waiting for the chicken carcass to be dipped in the water. They are very powerful, he could leap out of the water, not pushing himself off the bottom, just powering up with his tail, very scary. Introduced to the fresh water crocs, not nearly so dangerous, but could still bite you.
|springing from the water|
|The stuff nightmares are made of!|
The naming of crocs is misleading, ‘salties’ live in sea water, but will also swim and hunt in rivers, so really, no-where is safe. They can leap ¾ of their body length up the bank from being completely submerged and invisible!
|The less aggressive freshwater crocs|
|This and the next picture were less than a second apart...|
|They move very quickly!|
Had to dash back for the 14.00 free flight bird show as Jeremy had gone on a bit, the barn owl swooping in and out from one ranger to another and the black kite flying in and out and around were amazing as was the tawny frog mouth, though it and the owl were slightly unhappy as it was very windy which ruffled their feathers slightly. The lorikeet didn’t want to come out to play, and sadly by the time it did we had to rush off to meet Brian the Cab at 14.30, who was there waiting for us, good as gold!
What a fantastic day, all indigenous animals, there were echidna, but they just looked like a sleeping pile of spikes. Home for tea and cake, B has prepared dinner, the van has a new radiator, and all we have to do now is get the $120 back from Travellers auto barn! (Glad we didn’t have to pay for the radiator as that bill came to $720!)