Friday 23 April 2010

Sick of the parrot, Brian

A Dolittle day today - but not a do-little day, despite for once the itinerary instruction of Breakfast at Leisure not being followed by the next item '7.30am meet with resort CEO' or some such. Today the first appointment was 10.30 at Cooberie Wildlife Park, where I cuddled a koala (NOT a koala bear, please: they're marsupials) and saw that they have two opposable thumbs on each hand, so that's an advance on us - or would be, if we too wanted to spend 21 hours asleep in the crook of a gum tree conserving energy. Teddy was well-behaved, soft and furry, quite the poster-boy for koalas. Not so the eclectus parrot, a vision in green and red, who sucked me up close to the bars and, despite the warnings from pretty Frances at the entrance, seduced me into sticking my finger through the bars, whereupon he grabbed hold of it and squeezed so hard that it was several minutes after I'd got it back again before the bleeding started. Prime candidate for ex-parrotcy, I reckon.

Then it was Diddy Boy the dingo's turn: thick coat, big feet, solid ears. They don't bark, you know, just howl a bit, and purr like a cat. They jump like cats too. And despite appearing in ancient Aboriginal rock paintings, in Queensland they're not considered native and therefore not protected. He was very sweet (but of course I didn't have a baby with me).

The next creature to be thrust at me was a big skink, which hung off my shirt like a very lifelike, if rather ugly, brooch; and then a large python called Sheila with beautiful black and cream scales, very smooth and shiny. Cool, literally. She'd been run over and left with a deformed oviduct and would die if she mated, so she can't be released.

It was a nice place, a bit scruffy and old-fashioned, but with its heart in the right place (they rescue all sorts of animals) and the staff young and enthusiastic.

Then it was off to Koorana Crocodile Farm where we arrived too late to try the croc kebabs, burger, steak or spare ribs (though we did have an award-winning pie later, croc meat in a creamy leek sauce. Croc-a-leekie? Very tasty anyway.) We saw salties being fed, heard stories about how dangerous they are and ended with the farm owner, John Lever, ignoring all the dire warnings that the guide had been giving us by getting into the pen with Buka, the biggest one of all, and feeding him tasty morsels by hand, Steve Irwin-style. I wasn't waiting to see him turned into a tasty morsel himself, honest.

It's a big operation, supplying leather to Gucci and other brands, meat to Asia and providing jobs for passing back-packers who want something adventurous to put on their Facebook page. If they can learn to skin a croc in the standard 6 minutes, now that really would be something to boast about.

1 comment:

TravelSkite said...

Welcome, Rosalind! Yes - but 6 minutes to unzip a croc is pretty good, I reckon.


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