Thursday, May 14, 2009

Taronga Zoo

The zoo here is amazing, probably the best I’ve ever been to. It’s not just the scenery. The zoo also has great shows, like a ranger talk about birds punctuated by actual raptors and parrots swooping over the audience on cue. And there is a large Australian animal area that comprises almost half the zoo.

I have always had a particular love of koalas, so a highlight for me was getting to go into a cage with two of them. This one was named Katy, if I remember correctly. It might have been Katy’s friend Trevor. It’s kind of hard to tell them apart.

You can’t touch the koalas here, or anywhere in New South Wales, for that matter. Koala cuddling is only legal in a few states, and yes, there actually are laws on the books concerning koala cuddling. It’s a different country. So I don’t know what they feel like, but I can report that their fur looks very soft and plush, but maybe not so clean.

An interesting note about Australia: As anyone who has read Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country knows, almost everything in Australia can kill you. It has toxic snakes, spiders, jellies, crocodiles, fish, and even seashells that can bring down a grown man. But the bears? Sleepy, stoned, and perfectly harmless.

(Yes, I know koala bears aren’t really bears, but I still think it’s interesting.)

Here is a link to more photos. I apologize if some of them don’t have captions yet. I’m on vacation!

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