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Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!
Rule #1: If it is Australian, it bites!
March 17, 2009Posted by on
Life is full of rules. Some rules are made to be broken, some rules are not. Most rules in Australia are rules that can one day save your life. One of the best places to hear these rules is the zoo. On Sunday Al and I went to the zoo to have fun and teach me some Ozzie rules. When I say Ozzie rules, I don’t mean footie, I mean rules of engagement with poisonous reptiles.
The reptile park isn’t just any zoo, this is a reptile park with a difference. This park is the only place in Australia that has a “venom milking” program of snakes and spiders. Put another way, this zoo saves lives every year. Not just animal and reptile lives, but human lives. Okay, for those of you who know me, I can hear you saying “there is no way Judy is going to look at spiders”. But I did. I will be honest here, that part of the “zoo trip” was not my favourite, but it might save my life one day.
Living in Australia, a person needs to know what a poisonous spider or snake looks like. This information can save lives. I don’t really think it was all that important for me to look at the spiders because if I see a spider the first thing I am going to do is put as much distance between me and the spider as possible. That said, if for some reason a spider gets close enough to me to bite, I want to know what just bit me! So, I did it. I walked through the spider area. I watched (while standing behind Al) a funnel web spider being milked. The spider is big, aggressive and I think if I ever see one, I will just die of a heart attack, but oh well, it’s done! I know my last words would be something like “that was a f###ing funnel web!”
On the other hand, the snakes are a really good thing for me to see because when I see a snake I am curious. First rule of thumb when one sees a snake in Oz is don’t be curious. Get away from it! The best place to see these beautiful snakes is at the reptile park. In the wild, leave them alone! Okay, I am listening, I now know this is a rule that can save my life. I AM listening!
Others things to see at the reptile park, frogs, lots and lots of lizards, tons of colourful and interesting birds and of course, the ones that make you go awwww. Like the koala mommy with her baby hanging off of her or the kangaroo with a BIG joey in her pouch. All you can see is the legs and tail sticking out. There has to be a rule about being “too cute”.
One of my favourites is the wombat. They are just “too cute”. I wanted to pick them up and cuddle them. Not allowed! More rules! The danger with wombats? Stay away from them when they are crossing the road. Hitting a wombat while driving down the highway is like hitting a brick wall. We have already had one close call in a car, I hope we never have one on the bike.
A nice surprise was how adorable the Tasmanian Devils are. There are 3 of them on display in the enclosure and they use all of it. Every time we saw them they are up on logs, under logs, running in circles, running the inside perimeter of the enclosure or taking a dip in the small Tassie pool! We missed feeding time by a few minutes. By the time we got there, one Devil was chewing on a kangaroo leg. I didn’t ask where the kangaroo leg came from, I am hoping it was “road kill”. We decided to watch for a few minutes when low and behold, a fight broke out. It was short and exciting! After the “scuffle”, the winner slid his bum along the ground to spread his scent ( I assume) and then went back to gnawing on the bone. The loser joined the 3rd devil with “chucking laps” once again. The sad thing about these devils is they are facing extinction within 10 years. Tasmanian Devils have been afflicted with a face cancer that is killing them off. In fact the reptile park is currently involved with starting a captive breeding facility here in New South Wales where they hope to house 1000 Devils, which has been targeted as the amount that will save the wild population from extinction. (Must be a rule). In true Oz fashion, they are planning on calling this ranch the “Devil Ranch”. At this time they are looking for major sponsors. Maybe they should look at some of the ranches in Vegas to sponsor them! Check out tassiedevilappeal.org for more information.
The Australian Reptile Park is the perfect place to spend a relaxing Sunday. You will find stressed out Moms, Dads that look like they would rather be at the dentist, happy, excited, inquisitive, and maybe some tired and cranky kids.
Because there are no rules that say you have to be a kid to enjoy the zoo, you will also find Al and I, we are the couple who appreciate all that wildlife and nature has to offer. We both love reptiles and cute, cuddly animals. As for the spiders, I think there is a rule that you can only see them once. If there isn’t a rule, there should be!