There are more than five awesome Australian animals or birds. The continent broke off from Gondwanaland way before any others so some pretty weird evolution occurred that is unlike anywhere else in the world. I was able to see all 5 at the Healesville Sanctuary outside of Melbourne.
- Exhibit A: the Platypus. Sometimes called the duckbilled platypus, but that is redundant. There is not another kind of platypus. This may be my favorite animal in Australia. (All five of these are contenders.) I saw the wee platypus climb out of the water and into her den–alas no photo. I did buy a terrific hand puppet in the gift shop.
- The Wombat. It was a hot day and so the wombat was snoozing under a log. They are so darn adorable. There is a photo of one in the newspaper and you just want to give it a squeeze.
- Koalas. They have to be on the list, of course. They are fascinating; however, they are also sloth-like and hang out high in trees so there is not as much interaction. And you want to cuddle them until you see their amazing claws.
- Surprise: Wedge-tail Eagle. Did not know about them until the Spirit of the Sky show. Wow. They are HUGE. And awesome.
- Surprise: Dingo. Maybe I am missing Lulu and Dozer (dogs at home). We caught the keeper presentation on the dingo and watched her interact with the two in the closest enclosure. I was reminded of my beloved Radar and yet there is that wildness that is also fascinating.
What does not make my top five? The Tasmanian Devil fell out, in part because they are not very bright and can be vicious. The kangaroo because, except for the joeys that are A-Dor-A-Ble, they are kind of like really big rats and as common as deer. The Little Penguin I associate with New Zealand as well.
My friend Sandy’s favorite animal is the echidna. I did not see one until I was on Kangaroo Island and I have to admit they deserve adoration–not sure what animal or bird they’d knock out of the top 5. What is your favorite?