Here’s part one and part two. I wish I could remember the details about this (stuffed? preserved?) croc. (Bad tourist! Always take a picture of the sign!) This was a real crocodile that had lived at the Billabong Sanctuary (I think) and he’s huge. We were careful not to touch him (as requested on the sign I forgot to take a picture of). I was surprised he was out where he could potentially be mishandled but he’s been around awhile so they must not have too many problems. Look! Pademelons! We hadn’t seen any since leaving Tasmania. They seem so small now compared to the wallabies and kangaroos we’re used to seeing. I’m not sure if we were supposed to feed them, but there were no signs saying not to and they were very keen to be fed! TurboBug absolutely loved them, they were just his size! I don’t think I’ve ever seen pink cockatoos before. Aren’t they gorgeous? I think there were three, one was flying back and forth between perches. There was even a free flight bird show, we learned about kites (I seriously did not know there were birds called kites), owls, curlews, and more. At the end we were all able to hold a rainbow lorikeet. He especially loved JitterBug. The ranger would move him from person to person (the bird, not JitterBug!). Then the kids went and got eaten by a crocodile again. We got to feed the turtles again in the afternoon session. It was in a different spot this time and the turtles could more easily climb ashore for some tasty fish. There were a couple of eels as well, which they advised us not to feed to keep our fingers intact. As I mentioned in a previous post, turtles don’t have teeth so even if they do get a finger they can’t do too much damage. Thank goodness I knew that or I would have panicked that afternoon. It’s hard to see but this picture below records the exact moment a turtle latched onto TurboBug’s thumb instead of the fish skin he was holding out. In the moment I wasn’t quite sure what to do, I didn’t want to bash the poor turtle in the face to get him to let go, though that was my first instinct. I squashed that instinct because of the no teeth thing, I knew no one was going to lose a thumb to this creature. TurboBug was screaming and got quite the fright before the turtle let go. After some cuddling he recovered and was happy to join in on the turtle race with the others. (Wait. Did you say turtle race? Yes. Yes I did.) The turtles could move surprisingly fast and knew just what to do. With so many turtles in the lake I wonder how many times each turtle has raced? (I didn’t realise until later that all four of my kids are in this picture, though at varying degrees of visibility!) Then it was time for the dingo show. The sanctuary has two females (both white) and one male. I hadn’t realised dingos from different areas of the country can have different coloured coats. They are all the same species, just variations on colour. The white dingos are alpine and found in mountainous regions. They brought the girls out for a meet and greet, it was lovely to be able to give them a pat. See the other colours on the sign? The rust coloured one on the left is the most common and is found in the outback. The black dingo is much more rare and lives in forest areas. Next was the croc feeding. How exciting was this! They took us around to a few of the enclosures and we got to see them feed several estuarine crocodiles. They were able to get some to really launch themselves out of the water. Crocs are amazingly fast and powerful. And scary. The ranger was talking the whole time, they gave us lots of information about crocodiles, including that saltwater crocs are not only found in saltwater! They prefer the term ‘estuarine’ since that better describes their habitat. Look how big they are! See his tail sticking up out of the water? It took several tries for some of them, but we got to see some jumping crocs! These are freshwater crocs. They are much smaller. I wish I’d asked why it was they could all be kept together in the same enclosure- are the males not territorial? All the estuarine crocs were either by themselves or with their mating partner. We enjoyed the croc feedings so much that we went to both sessions that day. This croc is called Psycho. Unlike the other enclosures where the rangers went right in, this one had a special fenced area for the ranger to stand in while feeding the croc. Even the viewing fence was higher at this enclosure. Psycho is young and very powerful and they don’t trust him to keep his distance. We learned that if there is any chance crocs could be in the water, don’t risk it. You won’t be able to see them, they will hide very still until their prey comes close enough to the water for them to grab. Look. at. those. teeth. They told us their jaws slam shut with a force of over 3500 lbs psi. Wow. I had to grab a picture of this sign listing aboriginal names for the animals. There are so many different aboriginal language groups that the names vary greatly. Just when you think we’re done…we went back to the Billabong Sanctuary the next day for more! One more post to come.