Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meeting ALL the local wildlife

Australia is home to a wide variety of species from both land and sea. We were in awe as we walked through the Kangaroo exhibit. They were so tame! The kangaroos would come right up to you and if you put your hand out with some feed in it then they would eat it. My mom would scratch their necks and they would throw their heads back. I guess they really liked it. I was pretty surprised that they weren’t bigger but the ones in the enclosure were all females. Some of the kangaroos had joeys in their pouches. They were so cute! Some of them had barely any hair on them while another one that we saw was quite furry. Kangaroos are amazingly soft and we had a lot of fun scratching their ears and petting them

Now when you think of Pelicans you probably don’t realize just how big they are. The Australian pelican is the largest species and very common in the land down under. We had fun watching them and the large male pelican named Perry was particularly friendly. The zookeeper came and we were able to feed them. Their beaks are so huge! A few turtles and a fresh water eel or two were trying to eat the fish that we were feeding the pelicans. Random fact about these pelicans… when they lay eggs they may lay 3 or 4 but only one baby survives because they will eat the others or push them out of the nest. So sad!
My friend the wombat... soooo cute!
Everyone knows that Australia is land of the marsupials. If you don’t know what a marsupial is it is a mammal with a pouch where their babies stay for several months and develop instead of inside their bodies. We learned that there are two species of koala and three different species of wombat. I fell in love with wombats. These furry marsupials only have a gestation period of 22 days! Man I’d kill to have that. But then their babies stay in the pouch for up to 7 months so it kinda evens out I suppose. While we were at the zoo we got to pose with a koala and actually hold it. They are so soft and cute but their claws are pretty sharp and it scratched me a little  but it was so worth it. I mean when would I ever get to do that again? Never…
Sultan the 16 foot long saltwater Crocodile

Not all of these critters are very friendly though. Australia is famous for its poisonous snakes and spiders. We got to see a snake show with the coastal taipan (one of the world’s top 10 most poisonous snakes) along with a few other reptile friends. There was even a crocodile show but because it is “winter” in Cairns the crocs weren’t very active. The biggest crocodile there was Sultan and he was about 5 meters long or 16 feet in length. Crocodiles have a massive bite and it is a supercharged one at that. They are able to bite down with a force of 3500 pounds per square inch on average. To put that in perspective, humans have an average of about 120 psi and lions have around 900 psi. Talk about a powerful set of chompers.

The favorite attraction at Cairns Zoo is definitely the Bird Show. We all had our different reasons for liking it. I loved the birds and how smart they are. Jared liked the fails and the jokes. Then there is Mina. Mina was there for the Trainer, Chad. She was all smitten with his Aussie accent and Beiber hair. Maybe it was the way he charmed the birds that had her wishing she could grow feathers and fly into his arms. We were even joking around that instead of holding a koala she would ask if she could hold him. For the longest time we didn’t even know his name but then it was all we could talk about. I suppose that you could say Aussies are quite SPICAAAY indeed. ;-) Not going to lie there. Yes, I can say with assurance that my whole family loved our experience at the zoo and in the land down under.

Random Fact: Hot water is heavier than cold water.

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