I resisted the temptation to name this entry "Crikey!"
Tuesday, my birthday, Bill took me to the Australia Zoo. Yep, that's Steve Irwin's place--the Crocodile Hunter himself. Thank goodness he wasn't actually there.
He may be annoying, but his zoo is a blast. The first critters we met were American alligators. All the animals are named, and often a bit of their personality is included in the description. Mary is sweet-natured and loves her food. Barney is a naughty boy. Then there's Daisy, Fang, Fang 2, and...well I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple of those toothsome darlings. The zoo is home to over 100 crocs of different types. All through the day, visitors get the chance to see the amazing and frightening sight of a croc charging for a meal. And I don't mean on VISA.
Next we met Coconut, a Giant Aldabran Land Tortoise (pictured above), and her neighbor Harriet, from Galapagos. Harriet's handler showed us a trick that I'm sure would work on many of us. She rubbed a front and back leg of the old (165 years!) girl, and Harriet rose up on her legs, stretched her neck way out, and went into a little trance of pleasure. Can I be next?
We wandered away from the tortoises toward the main building to find--yay!--we could have our picture taken with a gorgeous Burmese Python! Bazzle, to be precise. Bill and I are both very fond of snakies, and the Zoo has an excellent collection of well-tended reptiles. Unsurprisingly, the most poisonous are the most beautiful. There was an iridescent orange taipan that kept me mesmerized for ages. Her scales were perfect jewels that matched her eyes.
Bill wisely led me to the petting zoo, where I bullied small children out of the way to feed and pet baby goats and sheep and the most adorable piglets ever. Afterwards my hands were a mass of leftover feed and pig snot.
Quick stop to take care of that, and off we went to Kangaroo Heaven. Imagine you love to pet critters. Now imagine acres of open area full of tame kangaroos and wallabies. More like Kitty Heaven.
I noticed that most visitors, and certainly the children, do little more than give a tentative pat to an animal. Don't they know how to scritch properly? I, of course, took my time to give the critters a thorough scritch between the ears and some nice strokes down their soft, soft backs.
Yeah, I had to wash my hands again.
Naturally, we also saw koalas (I got to pat, but not hold one here). They don't wake up until about 2:30pm, so what we mostly saw were sleeping koalas, happily perched in crooks of branches. Eventually they awoke to stretch and munch leaves.
Checking the map, we made sure not to miss the birds of prey, monitors and dragons, deadly-mean cassowaries, and Dozer and Minibus, the resident wombats. Dozer and Minibus get along about as well as my cats. As in, not. The Tasmanian Devil was hiding from us, but everyone else was out and having fun. Especially the otters, whom Bill and I decided are the very definition of "cute". I mean, sheesh, two little furry animals, playing, watching us, snuggling, it was an awwww moment.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
(Thank you, Sweetie!)