Thursday, February 12, 2009

Moonlit Sanctuary











On Wednesday evening we visited the moonlit sanctuary with my sister, Rachel and her daughter, Alisha. This is a wildlife reserve at Pearcedale on the Mornington Peninsula about 30 minutes away from where we are staying. It is called the moonlit sanctuary as you can go on tours at dusk to see all the native Australian animals. We were fortunate as no one else was on the tour that night so it was like having our own private tour. First we got to meet a python. You could have it wrapped around your shoulders but I declined. All the kids did and enjoyed it! There were also lizards and other snakes to see.
We then went out into the sanctuary and fed the kangaroos and wallabies. They were very friendly when you had food in your hand. We then followed the guide and his lantern around to visit different animals. We saw sugar gliders up close. They are like small possums or squirrels but they can glide from treetops for up to 150 metres. We saw one with a baby in its pouch. We also saw an Eastern quoll, bettongs (which we also fed), dingoes, a wombat and a koala. Most Australian animals are nocturnal so it was great to see them when they were more awake. We also saw Tawny Frogmouths up close. These are birds which are about the size of owls but only eat insects. This meant you could let them chew on your hand without it hurting. Jake & Phil tried it but I wasn't keen! The koala we saw managed to open one eye when we approached but then went back to sleep. They sleep about 20 hours in every 24 due to only eating gum leaves which don't give them much protein. Unfortunately lots of the smaller Australian animals have become endangered due to the introduction of foxes into Australia so it is really important for places like the moonlit sanctuary to preserve breeding populations. There is another major wildlife sanctaury at Healesville which is still under threat from the bushfires. The winds are quite strong again today even though the temperature is lower which will not be helping control of the fires. Hopefully there will be some decent rain here soon as it is hard to see how they will get control of the bush fires otherwise. We go to Queensland tomorrow where there has been huge rainfall and flooding (although not in the bit we are going to!). I'm hoping for sunshne and 30C!
Esther

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't blame you for keeping your distance from those dodgy animals...

Nice to read what you're up to!

Sunny day here, took a day off for a walk on the downs! No possums though...

Take care,

Ralph

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