Concerning Koalas

So you knew it had to happen. I’m in Australia, I’ve gotta visit with some koalas and kangaroos.

After a bit of research, I settled on the Healesville Sanctuary. A zoo dedicated to native Australian animals, it also operates a successful breeding program and animal hospital. It’s not the most accessible zoo in Melbourne, requiring a tram, a train and two buses, but public transportation is no big hurdle for me, a seasoned city navigator. The zoo offers meet the animal programs for only $12, where you can feed kangaroos, dingos and pythons. I opted to meet the koalas, but in recent years, biologists have learned that koalas are very sensitive creatures detesting most contact and keenly sensitive to smell. As such, most zoo’s no longer permit patrons to hold the koalas. Even touching the leaves near the koala could leave the koala to go hungry rather than eat. Koalas in parts of the country where holding them are permitted, only can be held a maximum of 30 minutes over a three day period. Even then, if the koala doesn’t come down, they can’t be forced to be held.

I saw platypuses, kangaroos, wallabies, copulating wallabies, birds of all shapes and sizes and colors, some lizards, flying squirrels,  and dingos, tasmanian devils. My favorite animals were the little baby wombats. Sadly, some mother wombats had been struck by cars, but the babies had been rescued from the mom’s pouch and brought to the sanctuary. A friendly vet from Chicago who worked in the animal hospital was tending to one, and one of the women from the gift shop had two tiny babies she cared for. Dawwww!

The strangest part of the visit was my trip to the loo. They had animal pooping noises and defecation facts over speakers in the toilet. There was a campaign to get people to switch to recycled toilet paper, led by the superhero Crapman. Oh yes, Crapman.

Well, after all that, why don’t I just show you the adorable and cuddly animals?

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