Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Rat the Size of a Toddler and other Australian Animal Lessons

I had really meant to bring the kids to a zoo much earlier in our visit to Australia. As it was, we never got around to it until our very last full day when we found ourselves with some time to spare before our flight-that-wasn't-to-beKangaroo Island Wildlife Park (called the Parndana Wildlife Park at the time of our visit in January 2013) seemed like the perfect place to check off one final item on our Australian Wish List.

And what a visit it was! It was highly educational. Here are some of my favorite photos.

Lesson 1: Is that a rat the size of a toddler?

Kangaroo Island, Australia
What a gigantic white rat! Or is it?



This is my favorite photo from the park. It looks like a gigantic white rat and brings to mind The Princess Bride's ROUSs (Rodents of Unusual Size). No photo trickery is involved. Seriously. Lab experiment gone awry? Actually, it's an albino Eastern Grey Kangaroo.


Lesson 2: How to identify a Cassowary

When we were in Queensland, we came across a sign warning us about what to do should we encounter a cassowary.


Sounds like a fierce creature, doesn't it? We luckily never came across one in the wild, but saw one at this park, safely ensconced on the other side of a fence. I don't think there's any way to mistake its distinctive head coloring. Can you tell how big it is? I'd say its beak is right about jugular height on me.

Kangaroo Island, Australia
A highly dangerous cassowary

Lesson 3: Don't mess with kangaroos.

My boy was getting a bit chilled. Being the practical, wilderness-savvy mom that I am, I suggested he warm his hands on the kangaroo. Use what's around you, right?

A warm kangaroo to cozy up with

It turns out that the kangaroo wasn't too keen on this idea. My son crouched down behind the kangaroo with his hands on its back. Next thing we knew, the kangaroo whipped around and punched him in the face. It wasn't a TKO, but we definitely won't be messing with any kangaroos in the future. 


Lesson 4: Real life versions of a game character look nothing like the animated one.

My boys like the Sonic the Hedgehog game which has Knuckles the Echidna as one of the characters.

Knuckles the Echidna

Kangaroo Island, Australia
An actual echidna

They are as different at night and day. No spiky white gloves. No multi-colored shoes with weird LEGO blocks on top. Different. 


Lesson 5: Kangaroos do not have 3 legs.

Kangaroo Island, Australia, joey, pouch
Count the legs, 1-2-3

This kangaroo definitely made us pause for a closer look. Um, how many legs does it have? 1-2-3? Three??!! After a moment, I realized it was a baby joey that dove into its mama's pouch head first leaving one lone leg sticking out.


IF YOU GO:

  • There are are plenty of other animals at the park -- kookaburras, koalas, pythons, crocodiles, emus, etc. Most of them are less freaky than the ones pictured above. 
  • Plan on 1 hour to mosey around and feed the animals. 
  • Tip: Do not use the kangaroos as hand warmers... or try to climb into their pouch.
  • Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park is located on the Playford Highway between Parndana and Stokes Road
  • Open daily 9AM-5PM; 10AM-3PM on Christmas Day
  • Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for concession, and $8 for children
  • Family admission (2 adults and up to 3 children) is $45
  • Coffee and light refreshments available in the gift shop but a small cafe is in the works
  • Website: www.kiwildlifepark.com 

Related Kangaroo Island Posts:

Kangaroo Island's Koala Walk
It's the Great Penguin, Charlie Brown
Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch




This post is part of the following link ups. Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.

38 comments:

  1. Oh wow, I did a double take on the kangaroo to, Michele. That's a great picture of the albino kangaroo also. I had never heard of Knuckles the Echidna before.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed reading about your experiences with some Aussie animals. I didn't realize the cassowary is a dangerous animal. Makes sense though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Always wondered what a cassowary looked like. It was in one of Ellie's music class songs and I couldn't picture one for the life of me. . . as for the rat. Um, it is bigger than Ellie and she is 4yo.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now that I know it's not a rat, I can say it's so cute! And point taken - no hand-warming on the kangaroos! Looks like a great visit!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved your post about Aussie animals. As you saw from my post, I had some Aussie animal pics from the wild. Yes, you want to be careful of those kangaroos - getting behind them certainly isn't the thing to do - and those hind legs can rip an animal/person's stomach open in 2 seconds flat.
    And their claws are really sharp.
    Anyways, I am glad you got to see some Aussie animals, even though it was in a zoo. We have some really unique animals over here in Oz.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a fun day! That birl does look mean. I always thought kangaroos were relatively friendly...see what I don't know! Thanks for linking up this week.

    ReplyDelete
  7. We didn't get to the Zoo -- made it to the entrance and then took the coastal hike. Oh well, just means we 'have to' go back to Oz!

    ReplyDelete
  8. We certainly do have some very different animals and they're wonderful tourist attractions. I've never seen an albino kangaroo though....cute little fella!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I do not think I would have fed that thing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've heard for years that cassowarys were nasty but a punch from a kangaroo is something new - and funny because it didn't happen to me! What a fun way to spend some time as a family.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm amazed that the zoo was such a "hands on" place. Did your family have to sign a waiver that if anything punched your son in the face, it was okay? Ok, that kangaroo still looks like a big rat that would only be beautiful to it's mother.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well that was a fun read, very cool animals and that white albino...it does look like a giant rat, scary!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fabulous read and what fun, for adults and children! I love wildlife parks that are run well. We saw cassowarys in the wild in Queensland and got up close to take photos not realising how dangerous they were, until a coach guide almost grabbed us by the ankles to pull us away from them!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hahaha, definitely use what's around. Yeah, Mom. Well, your son's very obedient and pretty courageous too. I'm not sure I could do that. A chicken, that's who I am.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Joey's are so cute when they dive head first into their mother's pouch. It is very much like, "If I can't see you, you can't see me". It always makes me laugh. Kangaroos and wallabies are very dangerous and can really hurt you. I know a wildlife carer who lives on a property and one day there was a different kangaroo that came in for a feed. She knew to be careful, but all of a sudden it used both it's arms to knock her in the chest. She fell down and was severely bruised and sore for weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I liked the first photo much better once you clarified that it was an albino kangaroo and not a giant rat!! Never would have guessed that kangaroos could be dangerous though - thanks for the warning!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Ugh. No big rats! Even knowing it is an albino kangaroo kind of grosses me out! I do love the 3 legged kangaroo though that was actually a joey. Too cute! Thanks for linking up again this week!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Michelle, I quickly skipped the first photo because I'm not a big fan of R-A-Ts. Then I read that it was actually an albino kangaroo then I scrolled back with interest.
    Ouch! Now I know how not to mess around wit the 'roos. Oh, your poor son. I hope he still trust your judgement around animals.:)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I had to scroll down quickly to avoid the rat picture. Even though it's a kangaroo I still can't stare at it too long. LOL. Gives me the heebie jeebies!

    Oh yes, I've read not to mess with kangaroos.

    HAHA -- That 3 legged kangroo photo made me do a double take and then I had to read the picture's description! Right... totally forgot about the pouch!

    ReplyDelete
  20. The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park sounds like a great place to see Aussie wildlife. We have some beautiful animals here in Australia, Michelle, but we also have some 'not-to-mess-with' ones. Your kangaroo story reminds me of a bush walk my husband and I were on a couple of years ago. Walking along the track we came across a big Daddy kangaroo - he was huge - sitting right in the middle of a track just wide enough for one person. Well, we weren't going to get to close and ask his permission to get past him, so we high tailed it and found another track for our walk. You don't mess with those guys, that's for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Haha, I'm feeling a little bad for laughing at the fact your son got punched by a kangaroo, but it is a little hilarious.

    The cassowary looks beautiful! It kind of reminds me of the bird, Kevin, from the movie Up.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Such neat photos!

    Great to have you be a part of "Oh, the PLACES I've been!"

    - Alma, The Tablescaper

    ReplyDelete
  23. These are such cool animals! What a great experience for the kids. Unfortunately, we aren't going to Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park but it's such a great park. Thanks for the kangaroo warning since I'm sure we're going to encounter some at a sanctuary we're planning to go to.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow I thought it was a big rat too and I could not imagine why he was feeding it! LOL Very cool photo and great story of the day with amazing photos ~ some of the animals I had never seen before like that albino kangaroo and the cassowary! Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love Aussie animals, they're such a crazy unique bunch! I bet this was a fab day out!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I think my fave is the echidna, what a strange looking creature! Can't believe the Kangaroo punched him in the face! :O

    ReplyDelete
  27. Wow, that rat is really big. Hahaha .. I am imagining that kangaroo punching your son in the face - very good lesson that kangaroo has thought you :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Cuuute :)

    I have the weirdest image of that kangaroo turning around for the punch.

    Echidna's are the cutest, even with all those protective spikes.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Kangaroo Island looks amazing, I really wanted to go, but I never did and now I'm leaving Australia this week!
    That is hilarious that you told your son to use a kangaroo as a hand warmer! :) I can't believe how much the albino kangaroo looks like a rat!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hilarious post! Your poor son, and I love the third leg! When I visited Australia I just couldn't get enough of the wildlife...so different...

    ReplyDelete
  31. Ha, I think I'm on the kangaroo's side here - if someone stuck their cold hands on my back, I wouldn't react well!

    ReplyDelete
  32. A kangaroo?! Omg, that definitely wins for the craziest thing I've seen all week! Haha, I was thinking, "wow, that's one ugly cat!;-)"

    ReplyDelete
  33. Whoa, that does not look like a kangaroo at all. Definitely like a giant rat but you learn something every day. It looks like it was a lot of fun checking out all the unique animals.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thankfully that's a kangaroo and not a rat (i can't stand rats). So it's true Kangaroos punch, I always thought it was a myth.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for linking up with us again. When I was in primary school (I am an Aussie) I did an assignment on the cassowary - I had nightmares for a few nights thinking about it attacking me :) Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Love the kangaroo bit. In fairness, it seems like a good idea to warm up with a woolly jumper. :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. yes, not the smartest idea to get behind a kangaroo. Lucky he only punched him. Did you see the size of the "claws" on those hind legs. They are made for fighting and can rip an opponents stomach open!

    ReplyDelete

I read each and every comment. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Comment moderation is on, so your comment may not appear immediately.

Web Analytics