Last post of Tasmania pictures! No, seriously, it really is. Get ready for an animal heavy update guys.
This first batch of pictures is from the Platypus House- a small platypus and echidna conservation park. It's about 20 minutes north of Launceston, where we spent the last few days of our vacation. It's getting pretty close to the north end of the island. After failing to see a Platypus around Hobart we figured we pretty much had to visit this place. They're almost impossible to take pictures of though. We had only slightly better success taking their pictures than we did of the dolphins. Here's a platypus butt.
Fun fact- platypuses are poisonous! Who knew? The males have a small spur on one of their back feet, that has enough poison in it to make a grown person quite sick, and could be potentially fatal to small children. They also have a very thick layer of blubber to keep them warm, which means they naturally float. They really like having underwater outcroppings that they can rest under while they wait for fish to swim by. Here's a picture of the little guy swimming to one such resting/hiding place.
Now, the echidna portion was very interesting. They brought two out and put them in the middle of the room with everyone. They put a little food out for them, some kind of honey and ant paste or something, and then just let them go! It was kind of cool watching them wander around.
Look out! He's on the move!
They are also quite accomplished climbers. The old school Sega game "Sonic and Knuckles" makes way more sense now.
The next day we went to the Tasmanian Zoo which is right outside of Launceston. What can we say? We are suckers for the wildlife.
This emu was especially interested in Laurel's camera.
This is an Eastern Quoll. I think it's the closest thing Australia has to a squirrel.
Some monkey from Senegal or something, we don't really remember. This would have been a much better blog post if we had posted it in January.
This is Laurel's new best friend. She's a rosella. She followed Laurel from one end of the cage to the other. They had a nice conversation, and enjoyed biting the end of her sunnies when we put them through the wire. Really friendly bird, and we were worried that she was lonely all by herself. On our way out, we asked about her to one of the zoo attendants. Turns out, this rosella is by herself for a reason. She's apparently a very naughty bird with a history of aggresive behavior, and actually killed the last rosella she was caged with! Bad rosella bad! She is pretty cute though . . .
Laurel was actually super popular at the zoo- she was drawing a lot of attention. We had lunch at the zoo, and they have some fish tanks around the picnic area. These fish actually stopped swimming around and just stared at Laurel the whole time. We ran some experiments- if Greg left the table, the fish continued to stare. If Laurel left the table, they immediately lost interest and swam off. As soon as she came back, they resumed staring. We're pretty sure they wanted to eat her.
Now, we had already seen Tasmanian Devils, but this zoo had baby devils- and you could have your picture taken with them!
Here are some adult devils eating some bones. Mmmmmmmmmmm, delicious.
Its a penguin! Greg loves penguins, and this guy was especially cute and fuzzy.
Lastly, here's a wombat. This is the first wombat we've seen in Australia, which is ironic since we named our blog after one. Wombats are nocturnal so this guy was pretty sleepy. After getting a couple of great pictures of his butt, he was nice enough to turn around for us. Wombats live in burrows they make for themselves in the ground and their chief defense against predators is their strong, sturdy backside, which they will use to pin predators to the wall of their burrow, until they give up and leave. True story.