One of my favourite stops on our trip so far was the Billabong Sanctuary in Townsville. It’s a unique zoo experience, full of Aussie animals with scheduled talks and hands-on sessions throughout the day. When we arrived we headed straight for the cassowaries where the ranger talk had already started. There are two cassowaries and we were lucky to be able to feed them grapes! Cassowaries are the third largest bird in the world, behind the ostrich and emu. They are flightless. It’s estimated that there are only 1000 or so left in the wild. They caution people not to feed wild cassowaries as it causes them to become aggressive, and they can be quite vicious. Who me? Vicious? No idea what you’re talking about. Right. Can you imagine those feet coming at you? We read that middle toe has quite the claw. I must confess that before we visited Queensland, I had no idea there were cassowaries in Australia. They live on a very small part of the Queensland coast. Their appearance is so striking, I was enamoured. See the black bin over there? It was full of fruit. Cassowaries love fruit, we read they will even eat a banana whole. They are considered a ‘keystone species’ because there are many rainforest plants that will only germinate once the seed has passed through the cassowary’s gut. Cassowary eggs are a gorgeous green colour! Then it was time for the turtle feeding. The turtles knew just what was happening and clamboured over each other in the hopes of some tasty fish pieces. They were a bit clumsy and we had to wait patiently while they tried multiple times to grasp the fish in their mouths. Too often the turtle would try so, so hard and then the food would end up in the water or snatched by another hungry turtle. They assured us that turtles don’t have teeth. I was thankful for that information at the next turtle feeding session that afternoon when TurboBug ended up with his thumb in a turtle’s mouth! Just hold it still…I know I can get it. This is more turtles than I’d ever seen in one place in my life. They were so cute! On the way in to the sanctuary we had purchased our bags of seeds to feed the roos. We were all enchanted by this one with the joey hanging out of her pouch. This one made sure that hand full of seed wasn’t going anywhere until she was done! Look at the pouch from behind! (Are you saying I look fat? That is all baby weight, honey!) Dude. ‘Sup? Got any more food? (Or maybe that should be G’day mate. Any more tucker?) This is a magpie goose. I’d never seen one before. They are huge. We’d feed the ducks right out of our hands and these guys would come over for some. Um, no thanks. You might take a finger! Speaking of feeding the ducks! I love this picture. They were quite ticklish. So we all had turns! Watch out for that goose! He wouldn’t harm a Magpies fan, would he? So ticklish, but the kids kept going back for more! TurboBug was a pro at it by the end of the day! These frilled neck lizards were happily enjoying their patch of sunlight. Look how long their tails are! Our next stop was the wombat talk. Way too many pictures for one post! More to come.
Billabong Sanctuary: An Australian Wildlife Experience
posted in: Queensland
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