Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat
01/25/2013 - 01/25/2013
View World Trip 2012 on noahv's travel map.
While in Port Douglas, we decided to take some local advice (which, in general, has given us some great adventures that we might not have found on our own) and visited the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat. If you drive up to Port Douglas from Cairns, you'll pass by this place just as you turn off of the Captain Cook Highway onto the road to Port Douglas.
It doesn't look like much from the road, but once inside we found a well laid out and extensive wildlife habitat (not really a zoo, since there were no cages). There were large areas set aside for all types of birds, koalas, crocs, and kangaroos.
We got there just before the 9:30am Rainforest bird feeding tour, and had a great guide take us around to show us all of the different birds they had there. Australia has an amazing variety of birds! Our family favorite has been the rainbow lorikeet - very pretty!
Here is the food that we were delivering - Alex and Leah helped the guide to feed the birds. As you can see, these birds eat a wide variety of foods...note the live mealy worms at the top right. Yum!
Apparently, no emus are allowed in this area:
Here is the Bush Stone Curlew - a very good looking bird, which is a fairly common bird around Port Douglas and is often active at night and makes a very eerie wailing call. This one in particular was interested in the food that Leah had, and managed to give her a good peck on the hand (greedy bird!).
Noah was very impressed with the size of the pelican that walked across the path in front of us - that is one LARGE bird!
We also spent a couple of minutes getting the koala lecture (but honestly, koalas are not the most exciting of animals, and we had already heard the same information at some of the other places we've gone). We then passed through the turtle and owl area:
"Hedwig" the Owl
They are also one of the few places that have managed to breed Black Necked Storks - here's the "baby" (already almost as big as an adult at only 3 months):
During our time there, we all learned a lot of new facts about Australian animals. Here's a quick list of some of our favorites:
1 - Lorikeets like to swing around on branches (and bounce up and down), and are VERY curious!
2 - Although koalas "sleep" for 18-20 hours a day, they're really digesting their food, since the eucalyptus leaves that they eat (only a specific 120 out of over 700 types) provide very little energy.
3 - The Cassowary bird is endangered, with less than 2000 left in the wild.
1 - Tree Kangaroos are the evolutionary link between possums and kangaroos.
2 - The largest salt water crocodiles ("salties") are over 6 meters long - that's 20 feet! They can weigh over 2000 pounds too!
3 - Wombats, like koalas, are marsupials, which means that they have a pouch to raise their young. Other marsupials include kangaroos, possums, opossums, and the Tasmanian devil.
1 - Koalas never need to drink water - they get all the moisture they need from the eucalyptus leaves they eat. In fact, some say that the word "koala" originates from the word "gula", which means "no drink" in Aboriginal.
1 - The Australian freshwater eel spawns on the Continental shelf (over 20 kilometers from the Australian shore). The females will swim out, lay eggs (thousands of them) and then die. When the eggs hatch, the babies will begin their migration back to freshwater locations that their mothers came from - much like the migration patterns of the salmon!
We then walked over to the kangaroo area, and spent some time feeding all of the kangaroos and wallabies that they had there.
On the way out, I noticed the following on sale in the gift shop. I thought that was a pretty good bargain for a killer python, but decided not to spend the $1...
We very much enjoyed our morning at the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat. It was a great way to spend Australia Day, and we recommend it to other families in the area.
P.S. We happened to be there at the exact same time as another traveling family. Unfortunately, we didn't make the connection in person, but had a good laugh afterwards when we both posted pictures of our experiences, and realized that we were both in the same place at the same time! Small world indeed...