Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sydney - In Which I Pet Some Animals

Way back in 2006, I wrote this on the blog: "One of my original goals for the blog was to take a lot of pictures of animals." This post probably makes up for any deficit in animal pictures in the past two years. In Sydney, Sean and I went to the zoo and the aquarium, but most of these pictures were taken at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where we got to pet some of the animals. I'm pretty sure the rest of the post makes me sound like an excitable 8 year old, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice to share the pictures with you guys.

Flying Foxes

A ton of flying foxes (which look like giant, 1 meter wingspan bats) live in the Botanic Gardens in Sydney. It's pretty creepy to walk under trees and trees full of resting flying foxes.


Wombats are marsupials. But their pouches are backwards so they don't fill with dirt while digging. I think they're pretty cute. At Featherdale, all the wombat habitats had signs warning that wombats bite. They, however, don't have signs saying not to touch the wombats.


Somewhere in this pond, there is a platypus. We never saw it because, unfortunately, platypuses are very shy. We did eventually see a platypus at the aquarium, so I can confirm that platypuses are the coolest animal ever. Platypuses are monotremes -- mammals that lay eggs. They feed their young (known as puggles) milk but they don't have teats. And they're venomous.


All but the last picture is from Featherdale, where, yes, I got to pet a koala. They look fat, but it's all fluff. The last picture, with the baby koala is from the zoo.

Wallabies and Kangaroos

The first picture is of a wallaby and the others of kangaroos, I think. We also got to pet the wallabies and kangaroos.


Another option to interact with the kangaroos was to buy a ice cream cone and fill it with kangaroo chow and feed them. This, however, was risky because everytime you tried, an emu would show up and peck the cone out of your hand and eat it.


Echidnas are also monotremes.

Other (Still Awesome) Animals

Dingoes are prettier than I expected.

That's a 4 meter long crocodile.

A cassowary.

Featherdale had a lot of albino animals. This is an albino peacock.


Douglas said...

Nice photos!

That's about 3.5 meters of crocodile more than anyone really needs...

What sort of exhibit is the koala in? From one angle it looks like a display in a gift shop, but the other (with the background woman) it looks like a standard exhibit building ("cute animal house").

Oh, and my captcha=sheri

Tim said...

Platypuses are venomous? Who knew?

Also, I had never heard of a flying fox, but they look terrifying.

captcha = unberse

Jackie said...

Doug - Thanks, although Sean took all the pictures. As for the koalas, there were a ton of koalas at Featherdale. Most lived in little stalls (a roof and a tree) with between 1 and 6 koalas per stall. For the pictures where I'm standing next to the koala, there's a separate area for taking pictures with the koala. The woman in the background is a keeper and she brings out a koala and puts him/her on the branch for tourists to take pictures with. It's not a building, just a covered outdoor area. Also, when the koala gets bored of people taking his picture, he just climbs down off the branch and the keeper picks him up and puts him back in his habitat (aww!).

Is 'unberse' the scary opposite of reimburse, where you actually spend more money instead of getting money back?

Eugene said...

Tim : I was about to say the same. But Platypuses (Platypusi?) are cool, kinda like Nature in two minds about what she really wants from this species.

Douglas said...

I assumed that Sean took the pictures since he doesn't appear in any of them (a common trick I use myself).

I think unberse is how a 3 year old budding astronomer says "universe."

Okay, I promise to (eventually) stop the captcha posting, but this time it's "coping." I think google is trying to tell me something.

I wonder how many posts have to be made before the captcha is randomly "captcha"...

Jackie said...

More awesome platypus facts (probably all from wikipedia):

1.) There's no accepted plural of platypus. Scientists use platypus or platypuses. Some people use platypi.

2.) The venom is produced in ankle spurs in the males.

3.) They have electroreception.

3.) Females secret milk through 'milk patches' and it collects in grooves on their abdomens, where the young lap it up.

4.) Platypuses have 10 sex chromosomes.

Eugene said...

Heh, well octopus is another poor animal with no definite plural : it can be octopi, octopodes or octopuses. Wonder why it's not platypodes....

DY said...

The color of the platypus pool is really nice... did they use special lighting... or make it really pretty so that people aren't disappointed if they don't see an actual platypus?

Jackie said...

Hi DY - The pond with the platypus isn't at the zoo or the wildlife park, it's actually the Blue Lake out at the Jenolan Caves. I believe the color is natural and due to minerals from the limestone caves absorbed into the water.