After our visit to Sea Life, which I described in my previous blog post, we paused only for some sandwiches, cakes and hot chocolate in the aquarium’s café before hitting Wild Life, a small zoo in the same building. Oh, and I’d done a spot of shopping in the souvenir shop too. Well, it’s important to support Caiti’s employers.
Wild Life has some wonderful and unusual animals. I’m not sure I’ve seen a cassowary before. This giant chicken is, according to some sources, the most dangerous bird in the world. It can deliver bone-breaking kicks and artery-slicing slashes with its claws. Generally it’s relatively shy and retiring in its natural habitat in parts of Australia and New Guinea but can get nasty when cornered. It’s a splendid creature.
Another first for me was the Tasmanian devil, Topsy. These creatures are compact omnivores, happy to eat everything and anything. They play an important part in the food chain as a predator, and as a scavenger, devouring dead animals. The species is endangered. It’s been decimated since the 1990s by Devil Facial Tumour Disease. This is a contagious cancer spread by bites and scratches. A lot of research has been going on in the hope of finding a cure, and as recently as March this year scientists at the University of Tasmania have made a dramatic breakthrough in treating Tasmanian devils suffering from the disease. They have injected live cancer cells into the infected devils to stimulate their immune system to recognise and fight off the disease. So the future looks a little brighter for Topsy’s friends and relations.
I’ve seen a good few crocodiles in zoos, but I’ve never seen one as active as this young male. He hasn’t been at Wild Life long and is still settling in, a process that can take many months. However, he seemed quite at home already, prowling around the bottom of his tank. He’s was awesome.
You couldn’t have an Australian zoo without wallabies and koalas, now could you?
This next little chap is a quokka, a cat-sized member of the kangaroo family. Early Dutch explorers in Australia mistook them for giant rats! They’re much cuter than that.
Sadly my photo of a quoll, a spotted nocturnal creature, didn’t come out. Quokka and quoll are definitely my favourite animal species names. There was a wombat who was fast asleep, and who I was delighted to see as that was another first for me, and also an enchanting little echidna. There were plenty of animals, including lizards and snakes (a couple of which we got to touch), bats, frogs, birds… all the usual suspects. I loved every minute.
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