Eight hours sleep! Fantastic! Unfortunately John wasn’t so lucky but, hopefully, we’ll both be ok tonight. Anyway… today we had a lovely morning meeting lots of Tasmanian wildlife, including wombats, Tasmanian devils and koalas, who were all super cute!
Bonorong is a wildlife sanctuary, not a zoo, and primarily looks after Tasmanian native animals who are sick and injured, aiming to get them back into the wild if possible. We couldn’t see all their animals. Some were hibernating because it’s currently winter, or sleeping because they’re nocturnal. However, there were plenty to see and I particularly enjoyed the daily tour when we learnt a lot about some of the animals.
There were lots of birds… some brightly coloured and others less so, but still rather handsome. I can’t remember what they all are but they included parrots, parakeets, emus and kookaburras. Some were in cages and others were flying or wandering free or perching in trees.
I think my favourites were the wombats. The one above is called Lizzie. I was surprised to learn the ones we saw are only young and they can grow up to a metre long and reach 40kg in weight. They build extensive burrows with rooms like our houses, and they have backwards facing pouches so, when they dig, the soil doesn’t cover their babies. The most interesting fact though was that their poo is square and used to communicate! The pictures above also show a possum and a quoll, I think, which are also marsupials and rather cute.
The koalas aren’t native to Tasmania but have been allowed to stay in the sanctuary because they can’t be released into the wild. These are Katie and Ben. They sleep for 20 hours a day and eat eucalyptus shoots for the rest of the time. Not a bad life! The interesting fact about koalas is that eucalyptus is poisonous to the babies so they eat mum’s poo to build up immunity to it!
When we went into the wildlife sanctuary we were each given a bag of food to feed the kangaroos. There were about 80 kangaroos of various ages and sizes in a large enclosure. Some were quite large and a bit intimidating at first… They obviously know visitors will feed them! We were told they like to have their chests scratched, which John is doing in some pictures. In another picture, the joey is enjoying the view from mum’s pouch while, in another, a large male is getting rather amorous with a younger female!
The Tasmanian devils were a highlight of the trip for me. I think they’re quite cute although John doesn’t agree. They are called devils because of their loud, screeching cry, not because they are particularly ferocious. The Tasmanian devils aren’t very good hunters apparently, because they can’t see very well. They tend to scavenge and enjoy eating carrion. We were told how they’ve become endangered because of a nasty facial cancer transmitted by bites. It causes a slow and painful death by suffocation or starvation. The Tasmanians are starting to manage the disease by vaccination and genetics so hopefully it’ll be eradicated one day and the population will recover. However, we were also told that Tasmania has a huge problem with these and other animals being killed on the roads at night, which is when many of them come out.
It started to rain during our tour round the wildlife sanctuary so we decided to go for lunch and visit Richmond. On the way to Richmond, we stopped at the Wicked Cheese Company, where we enjoyed a bowl of soup and some excellent cheeses.
Richmond is an early Tasmanian colonial village that was built in the 19th centuary and has lots of Georgian buildings. There’s a beautiful bridge across the river that was built by convicts and is reportedly the oldest bridge in Australia. There is also the oldest gaol in Australia in the village. We didn’t visit this because we wanted to visit the convict penitentiary in Hobart on our way home. Unfortunately we missed the last trip and will have to do that another day.
The picture above shows the Tasman bridge at Hobart, and the one below shows a rainbow above Richard and Rachel’s paddock. I’ve taken some pictures of pademelons in the garden this evening, but those will have to wait until tomorrow. I also had a go at taking pictures of the moon, just in case I’m up early enough to see the lunar eclipse at dawn tomorrow. Time will tell. Good night!