Lions and Tigers and Bears--er, no, but Wallabies

Trip Start Dec 18, 2011
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11
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Trip End Sep 15, 2013


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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, September 9, 2012

We drove inland (into the bush) to visit Dubbo, a "country town" that has a very large wild animal park. It's bigger and more spacious than a zoo, so it made for a pleasant all-day walk to see the animal in their habitats. We didn't know what we would see, but Liam desperately hoped to see a kookaburra. Sadly, no kookaburras. There were only ground birds in the zoo pens, though at the ponds there were quite a few native birds free to come and go--but no kookaburras. There are lots of references to kookaburras in children's stories and songs. We'll keep looking and listening.
Liam and Andy did make friends with some gentle wallabies at the animal park.
The lion feeding was one of the most spectacular events to watch. The animal keepers tie a bag of raw meat near the top of a pole and then let the tiger into the enclosure. It simulates living in the wild as best the animal keepers are able.
On a native animal note, we've had to curtail some activities due to animals. Our daily bike ride to school is along the roads now instead of the forest path. It turns out that the magpies are vicious here in early spring when they have young in the nest--they swoop down and actually peck the heads of people too near. One little boy died two years ago after running into the street to get away from an attacking magpie.
On a family bike ride, first I was attacked and later Andy was attacked. I was able to ride along and wave my hand above my head to keep the bird off my helmet, but Andy's attacker swooped down so quickly that there was no hovering. He proudly shows the scratches in his helmet. Chris has since been attacked twice--a magpie attacked his temple when he was riding alone, and he came home with a bloody gash. The same magpie did it again last weekend and attacked both temples. He was in front of the three of us, and I'm glad there was very little traffic as he was swerving into the cars' lane as he was waving his hand and weaving about on his bike. The bird didn't go after any of the rest of us. They try to go for the eyes; there are websites explaining how to
protect yourself from their attacks. We wear sunglasses while bike
riding, which is probably what protected Chris's eyes.
Guns are strictly regulated here, but I'm thinking about slingshot attacks to avenge Chris's wounds. Andy advocates the rights of the birds to defend their nests. We'll have to negotiate it a bit further.
The men working on building new houses all around us told me that they've killed a brown snake (the one that is so fatal you can't even make it to the hospital for treatment after being bitten) and a red-bellied black snake (much like the bite of a rattlesnake--absolutely terrible, but if you get to a hospital within a few hours you will survive) where the boys had been playing in the tall grasses and hillocks across the street. So, those areas are off limits from now until the next winter. A friend of mine saw a dead brown snake on the road next to Liam's cricket practice field. We all know snakes try to avoid humans, but I've heard on numerous occasions that the brown snakes are actually aggressive and will come after you rather than try to go the opposite direction. I'm hoping to never see a snake, especially a brown one, in Australia. A 17-year-old boy from a nearby town was bitten this past weekend by an inland taipan, classified as the most deadly snake in Australia. Snake experts say that one drop of the taipan's venom "can kill 100 men."
See why Andy and I are becoming paranoid about snakes?
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Comments

Moni on

Thanks for sharing your adventure, Melinda! Go for the slingshot and hope you don't actually hit a magpie!

oonagh mcelligott on

Yes, brown snakes are to be avoided - so we were advised down at Pottsville 2 years ago. We are allowed shoot magpies, they are considered unwelcome vermin and also destroy other nests and fledglings.

Mary Stahl on

WOW! It is great to read your blog. Please keep the updates coming. Hello and hugs to all.

Sheilla Torkelson on

Use a tennis racket; they don't like it! Do take care of yourselves.

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