National Tree Planting Day: Meeting Taronga’s Zoomobile!

When you think of Australian animals, koalas and kangaroos have hogged much of the limelight. However, today we met a few unsung characters when Taronga Zoo’s Zoomobile came to town.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not exactly sure what we were at this morning. I was just tagging along with my daughter and her cub scout pack. There was tree planting, running through the bush with her mates and meeting a real cast of characters from Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo. I was about to say cute and furry characters but if you’ve ever seen an echidna, you’d realise they’re more along the lines of rough and spiky. Indeed, I was told their spines can easily puncture through car tyres, although I’ve patted a few and survived unscathed. Also, I wouldn’t exactly describe the Eastern Shingleback Lizard as “cute” either. That is, unless you go with the definition: “ugly but interesting!

Our daughter pats a Shingleback Lizard

Our daughter pats a Shingleback Lizard

Mind you, in terms of cuteness, it is hard to overlook this baby Ringtail Possum.

How cute: Baby Ringtail Possum.

How cute: Baby Ringtail Possum.

Personally, the star of the show had to be a somewhat obscure marsupial called the Yellow-bellied Glider, which arrived in a rather intriguing wooden contraption that reminded me a bit of a miniature phone booth. I didn’t hear this critter make a noise and was just admiring its photogenic qualities and the softness of its fur when an almighty din erupted from the DVD player. Can’t even begin to describe what its call sounds like but you can listen to it here:

Feeding the Yellow-bellied Glider.

Feeding the Yellow-bellied Glider.

I was also stoked to meet their echidna. You might recall that we chanced across a few echnidas on a bushwalk locally which I wrote about here:

Talk about a sticky beak!

Talk about a sticky beak!

Even though we’ve seen echidnas in the wild, I was still stoked to see theirs, who was also a lot more sociable and willing to show off a little and give us a few more insights into the life and times of the echidna. Apparently, it locates it’s food using the tip of its snout or nose, which is sensitive to electrical signals from an insect body and this is how it searches and “sniffs” out ant and termite nests. Echidnas then normally tear into the mound or nest with its sharp front claws while its snout exposes the ants or termites. These are then caught with its fast-flicking, sticky tongue. Because they have no teeth the Echidna crushes the insects between horny pads in its mouth.

That all sounds like a lot of hard work just to get a feed…especially when you could just pop into the supermarket!

This lizard looks quite accustomed to the camera!

This lizard looks quite accustomed to the camera!

In addition to the cute and furies, the sharp and spikies, there were the reptiles…always popular at any animal show. I must admit I was quite relieved not to run into any of these on our recent bushwalk…especially any SNAKES!!

Miss intrigued by the Children's Python.

Miss intrigued by the Children’s Python.

The Zoomobile wimped out a bit today on the snake front by only bringing what’s known as a Children’s Python. After all, it’s not a good idea to introduce Australia’s deadliest snakes to a whole lot of kids. “Mummy, look at me,” as Little Johnny’s clutching an Eastern Brown, Australia’s deadliest snake. That wouldn’t go down well on Facebook at all!

Yes, Australia is full of deadly snakes and if you’d like to read more about them with going anywhere near them, click here:

In contrast to the Eastern Brown, the Children’s Python is like the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny all rolled into one user-friendly snake.

Actually, maybe not.

I just did a bit of quick Google research and found out that the Children’s Python isn’t some docile relative of a jelly snake, which makes a suitable pet for kids. Rather, it is named after the scientist John George Children, who first described them. Humph! That’s the last time I go playing with one of those things. Yes, they actually do bite but are non-venomous.

Yes, I’ll stick to eating jelly snakes!

Back on the cute list, we also spotted this frog which seemed to change colour to match its habitat. Clever!

Well, returning after school drop off this morning, I have finally found out what yesterday was all about.

It was the 26th July and National Tree Planting Day and we were planting trees to protect the long term habitat of the Yellow-Bellied Glider, which actually lives locally at Kincumber. This is a joint project between Gosford City Council and Taronga Zoo. One thing I did pick up was the these gliders live in tree hollows, which are formed when the branches drop off and the wood rots away to form the hollow. It takes at least 120 years for a tree to be mature enough for these tree hollows to form so we really need to protect our older trees as well as planting new ones for the future. Here is a link to more information about the project:

Meanwhile, as the cubs were planting trees and enjoying the Zoomobile, our son was away on camp with the Scouts. We managed to enjoy a snapshot of the bush when we picked him up. I particularly loved the pink Boronia flowers. They have a beautiful fragrance and I used to pick them and make potions out of them when I was a kid.

Beautiful Boronia Flowers.

Beautiful Boronia Flowers.

Anyway, just thought I’d share this impressive shot of him carrying his pack. I don’t think it was an heavy as it looks or gravity would have done its job.

Glad I'm not carrying that pack.

Glad I’m not carrying that pack.

Our boy Scout is rapidly growing up!

Our boy Scout is rapidly growing up!

It’s been very encouraging working on this post and realising the limitations of my knowledge and pushing those boundaries out. Of course, we never stop learning and most of our greatest lessons take place out of the classroom.

xx Rowena

The End of a Great Weekend.

The End of a Great Weekend.

24 thoughts on “National Tree Planting Day: Meeting Taronga’s Zoomobile!

  1. Pingback: National Tree Planting Day: Meeting Taronga's Zoomobile! | Gaia Gazette

  2. Midwestern Plant Girl

    How fun! A zoomobile! Thanks for sharing animals from your big island. They all looked so different than our fuzzy and scaley friends here.
    Yes, exactly how did Mr. stay upright and not on his back like a turtle? The pack looks huge!

  3. roweeee Post author

    I thought you’d enjoy this post and did you like how I managed to photograph some bush flowers? Thought of you. Still Winter here so the flowers are a bit scarce at the moment.
    I had a pack like that when I went to Europe back in 1992 and I ended up falling backwards down the stairs and doing the turtle dance. Not surprising really as I am definitely no minimalist!

  4. roweeee Post author

    It is, isn’t it!! It is amazing to have all those animals and then the spectacular harbour views. We’re due for another visit!

  5. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Kathy. I love his smile and he has a truly beautiful personal warmth. That said, he does get a bit stormy as well. We’re all complex, aren’t we?!!
    There used to be a great cafe in Kirribilli by Sydney Harbour called: Freckle Face. They had a t-towel which said: “A face without freckles is like a sky without stars”. I’m not sure that my daughter agrees but they are part of growing up in Australia.

  6. merrildsmith

    Thanks for the intro to your fauna–and flora–too! One of my cats definitely looked up when I played the glider video. 🙂 Your children are both adorable, but I don’t know how your son managed that huge pack! Sounds like you had a fun day.

  7. roweeee Post author

    Your cat has a long journey to catch that glider! Thanks for your lovely comments about the kids. They are doing better at the moment. My son made it into the AVID class at school. Given your family’s involvement with teaching, I thought you’d appreciate the link:
    I am pleased he got in. He is good at maths but struggles with his writing and resists my help unless my husband is home. That reminds me, I have to get back onto him. I bought a great book for doing creative writing with boys and I just need to take a deep breath and get started! xx Rowena

  8. roweeee Post author

    Actually, I think we were all sugar and spice and all things nice and so God thought he needed to add a bit of danger to keep us on our toes!

  9. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Derrick. My kids are constantly extending my education…sometimes for better but at times for worse.

  10. roweeee Post author

    Nature is constantly teaching me things…and the kids. Some good…some not so good but life certainly isn’t dull! Hope things with you are going well! xx Ro

  11. jncthedc

    Thank you for a lovely journey with nature. I learned, I smiled and memories were churned. I went to an alligator farm in Florida that offered a similar experience.

  12. roweeee Post author

    You’re welcome. I really enjoy being with nature and walk my dogs a long the beach several mornings a week. At the same time, I also enjoy visiting the city but these days like to come home xx Rowena

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