Day 30/72: Lone Pine Koala SanctuaryNovember 26 in Australia
The day started with a debate about whether we should got to the Australia Zoo or to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. We decided that Lone Pine was probably more our thing- our reasoning being that it was probably more like the Owl and Hawk Conservancy (one of our favourite days out back home).
We got an uber to the sanctuary and made it in just in time for the wild lorikeet feeding! We held up plates of oat mixture and the little colourful birds came down and sat on the edges of the bowl to feed. Izzi got pooed on, but that's lucky isn't it?
After a clean up we went into the Kangeroo enclosure which was like a large park, and wandered around their huge paddock watching them lazily hop around and eat food that people were giving them, very similar to the stuff you'd feed animals at a family farm. We walked past the enclosures for loads of Australian animals- they had freshwater crocodiles (smaller, thankfully, than their saltwater cousins), they had dingoes and tons of koalas!
We went to a sheep dog show which was really good: the border collies they used to use in Australia found it a bit too hot working on the farms, so they bred their own type of sheep dog which is 15% dingo. The dog was great, and when the sheep were in a tight enough enclosure would get up on the sheep's backs to run across them- much safer than being on the ground with them. We spent a while talking to the farmer about sheep farms in Australia and the training process for the dogs.
After getting some iced teas to cool off we went to hold a koala. They were surprisingly heavy, soft and quite complacent with being held! They all seemed completely nonplussed by the days activities.
We went to the snake keeper talk, who taught us basic first aid if you are bitten by a snake; not something we get taught in first aid classes back in the UK. The sanctuary had two of the most venomous snake in the world, and luckily the keeper told us that there was no way to tell which snakes were venomous or which aren't unless you're amazing at telling apart every type of snake. But there is a universal anitivenom so no need to bring the snake to the hospital, and if you put a compression bandage over the bite and lie down, you can salvage yourself 9 hours where if you ran to a car and didn't compress the wound, you'd be in a coma in 3 minutes. Wow!
The next talk was the koala keeper talk, they sleep for 20 hours a day and eat nearly 1kg of eucalyptus each day each. The eucalyptus cutters have to cut more than half a ton of eucalyptus a day for all the koalas at the sanctuary. They only like 40 of about 800 species of eucalyptus and of that only eat the juiciest leaves at the very top, fussy animals!
The platypuses (platypi? Help!) were really cool- they are nocturnal and lived in a dark house thing. They weren't blue, nor did they look like they solved crime very well. The males are venomous though! They have a venomous spike on their heel which can cause excruciating pain in humans that morphine can't subdue. Also, they're an egg laying mammal, so don't have teats but secrete milk through the skin of their stomachs so that the babies can drink it out of a furry milk pool on the mother!
The Tasmanian Devil talk was good- it started with the handler giving them half a rabbit and the next 1/2 hour they fought over the best bits. They are named this way because they scream, so people thought they were devils or ghosts.
We went on a quest to find the wombats next- a pretty tough task because they are nocturnal. We spotted one asleep in a tube in his enclosure though. He was huge! Much bigger than you'd imagine, about the size of a large pillow! As a defence mechanism, wombats have a large flat bottom that they can use to crush anything against the sides or ceiling of their homes if say a snake was to slither in unawares when they were asleep.
After some more feeding of the kangaroos (the grown up males were huge and muscly, the joeys were all so cute), we headed out for the day. Interestingly, any marsupial gives birth to a joey, which is about the size of a jelly bean. The joey then crawls it's way up into the pouch, and latches onto a teat and stays there until it is fully developed. It's more than likely for a kangeroo to have more than one joey in its pouch at once, one tiny one and one nearly fully developed one.
After we got back into Brisbane, we went to the cinema to watch Fantastic Beasts and had a burrito. Both were good but interestingly enough they don't have sweet popcorn in Australia! After the film we wandered around to some lagoons by the river and then headed back to the hostel.Read more