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Critters!

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.

CoconutHe 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?

Me, Bill, and the lovely BazzleWe 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.

How to Pet A RooQuick 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!)

14 Responses to Critters!

  1. Manda says:

    I’m so envious!

  2. J says:

    I wanna koala.

  3. Bill says:

    About that piglet snot — guess whose shirt that ended up on, gentle readers? Yup, for “quick stop to take care of that”, read “wipe on hubby”. Yecccchhhhh.

  4. Brigitte says:

    … *heehee*…
    Have you ever seen otters use pebbles to crack mussels whilst swimming on their backs, rolling in the water every now and again to wash them, and then float happily on, munching with obvious relish? They’re such clowns!
    And by the way, no wonder some people prefer Bazzle and his kind in the shape of boots or handbags. It’s a crying shame!
    However, I love the photo, even though I get the impression that Bill looks a little more relaxed than you do… 😉 ?!

    And one last thing, as I don’t know where else to get rid of this right now: CONGRATULATIONS TO JIMMY and to the Nobel Committee on their excellent choice from over here, too!!!

  5. Cat says:

    Brigitte!

    Nah, I loved the snake. In fact, there’s another picture of just me and Bazzle that I didn’t put up.

    Did you know Jimmy and I share a birthday? The man is one of my heroes, and I couldn’t be happier for him.

  6. J says:

    You guys are so cute together! Are kids part of the distant future?

  7. Cat says:

    Are kids part of the distant future?

    NO! AHHHHHHHH!!!

    Er…I mean…no, we really do not care for children. 😉

  8. Bill says:

    Are kids part of the distant future?

    No, if for no other reason than that it would simply not be fair to inflict me as a parent on any child.

    Brigitte — machen Sie Spass?! About the snake, I mean — you should have seen Cat’s face light up when she got to hold Bazzle! If we didn’t already have two overly curious (and perfectly snack-sized) cats, we’d be applying for a licence to keep a python in Portland.

  9. Dawn says:

    What fun!! You world traveler, you!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bizarre bit of trivia about those fabulous Galapagos tortoises — they actually were originally taken to Britain by Darwin himself and somehow ended up in Australia. How cool is that to touch a tortoise that Darwin touched?

    When I was last at the zoo, there was no mention of this but I heard an interview some months later on Triple J.

  11. Anna V says:

    Bizarre bit of trivia about those fabulous Galapagos tortoises — they actually were originally taken to Britain by Darwin himself and somehow ended up in Australia. How cool is that to touch a tortoise that Darwin touched?

    When I was last at the zoo, there was no mention of this but I heard an interview some months later on Triple J.

  12. bluedog says:

    started out on the pmercurio site and wound up over here…..so have spent the last few days plowing through your archives….kept thinking i’d quit and get a life, but then you’d go on to another tangent and i’d get pulled in….

    cat – one smart and funny lady!!!!!…..and now it looks like bill will be doing some posting also….

    looking forward to future posts by the two of you……

  13. Jerwie says:

    Oi! It’s been three weeks since this post was made. Where my girl at?

  14. Cat says:

    I’m trying not to post while I move to Cornerhost, and it’s a bear! I’m really having a hard time getting my MT blogs moved over. I’m *this close* from just paying Ben and Mena to do it.