The city of Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Where are they going next? Canutillo, Durango, Mexico.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Some animals and birds you might never see in the wild

It went down to -2C (29F) overnight, which is abnormally cold for this area at this time of year. Fortunately, we were nice and warm staying inside Mary and Adam's house!

They were headed off to work at 7:30am, so they left us on our own. The nearest attraction to us is the Healesville Sanctuary, so we decided to head over there.

The Healesville Sanctuary is part of the Victoria Zoo. However, it is only Australian animals and birds that are looked after there. And they are not really on "display"... it's more of a rehabilitation facility and is for animals that can't be released back into the wild.

Normally, we are not into visiting zoos. However in this situation, we figured it might be the only opportunity that we have to see some of the more endangered and hard to find species in Australia.

So, we're going to show you some animals and birds that you would not normally see anywhere else!

This is a Southern Cassowary.
It's slightly larger than an emu, and a relative of the ostrich.

The cassowary is a very dangerous bird. 
It has a big middle toe built like a dagger!


This is an echidna.

Not really a relative of the porcupine, but kind of similar. Strangely, it's closest relative is the platypus! They're actually fairly common, but you are unlikely to ever see one. They are very solitary.

The emerald pigeon.

There is a full fledged animal hospital at the sanctuary. It may be totally random if it is being used during your particular visit, but we happened to get lucky as they were doing a health exam on a wombat. Really interesting talking to the girl who explained in detail everything they were doing.

Doing a health exam on a wombat!

Examining the wombat's teeth.

Next up, we went to the platypus talk. I was really looking forward to this because the platypus is such a strange creature and it's not something you'll see anywhere else in the world. Sure, there are other zoos in the world that have the platypus, but it's more interesting to see them in their home country.

Our host got right in the tank with the platypus.

The platypus was much smaller than we expected. I actually thought it would be about the size of a beaver. But it's much smaller.

Some strange platypus facts...

They don't have a stomach. Their gullet connects directly to their intestines.

Their odd bill gives them a sixth sense. A platypus’s bill is comprised of thousands of cells that give it a sort of sixth sense, allowing them to detect the electric fields generated by all living things. It’s so sensitive that the platypus can hunt with its eyes, ears, and nose all closed, relying entirely on the bill’s electro-location ability.

They lay eggs, yet they are mammals and the hatchlings nurse and drink their mother's milk. And yet, the mothers have no nipples. 

The males are venomous. The rear claws contain venom glands that are used to fend off competing males during mating season.

The main function of the platypus's tail is just to store up to nearly half of the animal's body fat in case of a food shortage. A female platypus also uses her tail to hold incubating eggs against her warm body.


You are unlikely to see the platypus in the wild because they spend the daylight hours in their den, and the nighttime hours is the water.

A female gang-gang cockatoo.

The diamond firetail.


Scarlet-chested parrot.

A princess parrot.


I thought this bird was gorgeous!
A  gouldian finch.

Rock wallabies.

A barking owl.

A long-billed corella.

A wedge tailed eagle.

Ruth, feeding the a red-tailed black cockatoo.

An amethystine python.
This big snake was sleeping. 
All curled up, nice and warm.

Really an interesting day seeing some animals and birds that we likely won't see in the wild. And if we do... well then all the better!

We spent the rest of the afternoon planning our upcoming Mexico trip. Almost done, and there should be more info coming your way in the next day or two!

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18 comments:

  1. Those are some unique and colorful birds, very interesting facts about the platypus!

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    1. They were beautiful birds and some of them that we saw are on the endangered list so the chances that we would see them in the wild would be very slim.

      Yep, we learned a lot about the platypus that we never knew before. Now it would be neat to see one of them in the wild and there is a possibility but again our chances probably aren't good.

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  2. Those Australian animals and birds are definitely beautiful and unique. You were very lucky to have seen them.
    Be Safe and Enjoy the outback.

    It's about time.

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    1. Some of them are very unique for sure and our chances at seeing them in the wild probably aren't very good but we were glad to see them there and in a great environment. It is nice to know that the sanctuary is there to help save some of the injured and rescued animals. It is also nice to know that they try to places the animals or birds back into the wild once they have recovered, at least the ones that could survive on their own, the others that can't they try to learn from them and use them when they can for breeding in order to reintroduce more to the wild later, such as the platypus.

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  3. Very interesting! Didn't know a wallaby is a small to medium kangaroo, some are no larger than rabbits.

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    1. Not all wallabies are big, I think the swamp is probably one of the bigger species and is somewhere between the size of a small to medium kangaroo. I don't think there are many types that are the size of a rabbit but the rock wallaby does have one species in their "family" that isn't much bigger than 1.5 to 2 kilos in size.

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  4. Have you seen any snakes in the wild? Australia has a bunch of different ones that are venomous, so be careful with your hiking

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    1. Not here in Australia we haven't! The area that we are in at the moment is in their winter season and it is too cold for the snakes so they are hibernating just like they do in the southern part of the US in the winter.

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  5. Very cool. Especially the platypus. I had no idea it was such a complex animal

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    1. The platypus is definitely one of earth's strangest animals. We learned a lot from our visit to the sanctuary.

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  6. Those Platypus's are definitely different. An electric snout? That is so cool. Great photos!

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    1. Yep, very different indeed! We would love to see one in the wild but I don't think our chances are very good.

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  7. We were lucky enough to see platypus in the wild. It involved a late evening hike past glowworms, a rowboat and a small swampy lake in a remote location!
    You did get a much better look at them than we did!
    We loved the exotic wildlife down under.

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    1. Lucky you! Even though we got a better look at one, I think it would still be more interesting to see one in the wild. We have pinned off a place where we might possibly get a chance to see one but we don't have high hopes.

      The wildlife down here is amazing, definitely a very close second to the wildlife in Namibia. I think the birdlife is better here in Australia though.

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  8. I never realized that a wombat was so large. A place very disconnected, in terms of nature, from the rest of the world.

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    1. Neither did we! We did see one on the road one day but we weren't sure if it was dead or not, as it never moved but it's eyes looked like it was alive. It is one of the animals that we could possibly see in the wild so we do keep our eyes peeled for one.

      Yep, Australia does have some very different wildlife, that is for sure.

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  9. How beautiful the animals and birds! What a special treat to get to see so many in one place. Lovely colors!

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    1. We agree! One of the nice things about this park/zoo is that all the animals are Australian and most have been rescued or were injured. They try to reintroduce the animals that they can back into the wild once they are healed and some of the animals that can't be put back into the wild they use in a breeding program and then reintroduce the offspring back into the wild to increase numbers as some are endangered. We really enjoyed the sanctuary and what they are trying to do.

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