I apologize – these posts are way overdue but here we go! Background story: I’m spending three weeks in Australia, staying at my friend Kevin’s place in Melbourne. This is my first time in Australia (the first time anywhere in the Southern Hemisphere, actually) and I’m here half as a tourist and half just to spend time with my friend (awww).
Going to the zoo was one of my biggest requests because I love animals, and we were considering the Melbourne Zoo, but Kevin’s parents graciously decided to take us to the Healesville Sanctuary instead. Despite its fancy name, it’s actually just a zoo for native Australian animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, various birds, etc.
When we got there, the koala keeper’s presentation was starting, so we rushed over to watch the zookeeper feed the koalas and talk about these adorable little marsupials.
Koalas lead a life that I think many of us would envy… I certainly do. They sleep for 19 hours a day and spend most of their time awake eating and resting. They eat about 1 kilogram of eucalyptus leaves per day – yet they are very picky eaters. They will only eat about 12 species of eucalyptus, and would rather starve than eat a species they don’t like.
I was really excited because even though I’ve seen koalas before in other zoos, this was the first time I’ve seen them awake. And not only were they awake, they were MOVING! In fact one koala mommy climbed down a tree and crawled over to another one when she saw the keeper add fresh eucalyptus leaves to the second tree. Definitely my first time seeing a koala walk on the ground, I didn’t even know they could do that. But seriously though, when I’ve seen koalas in the past, they were ALWAYS sleeping. Seeing them move and be so agile… made me love them even more!
After that, we went to watch a birds show. The highlight was watching a hawk grab a treat thrown into the air with his feet, and with amazing precision too. They presented several birds including various species of cockatoos and owls and they flew around the arena gathering oohs and aahs from the audience.
The kangaroo and wallaby enclosure is pretty neat because you can actually enter it. The main path is roped to prevent visitors from going off the path, but there is nothing stopping the kangaroos from bypassing the ropes and coming onto the path. Nothing stopping them… but nothing encouraging them to come either. They were mostly chilling in the shade, which hey, is exactly what I would have been doing too. But I really hoped that they would hop on over so I could get a closer look.
All in all, it was a great day learning about some native Australian animals at the Healesville Sanctuary. Can’t wait for more adventures in Australia!