Dazed and in shock, I will never forget my first encounter with one of Australia’s top predators at the Crocoseum. I never understood how crocodiles moved silently in murky water when sneaking up on their prey but now I had my answer; with size being of no consequence, crocodiles (and alligators) are masters of stealth and ambush tactics. To showcase those abilities, a zoo handler gladly stomped through water where a great living fossil was waiting for his “treat.” The stomping alerted the crocodile of handler’s presence. Everyone in the stadium silently watched as the reptile crept through the waters without making a single ripple. Other than the clear water, no one would have been wiser about a crocodile even being in the stadium.
As the handler backed a safe distance away from the pool he stomped repeatedly. The stadium held its breath anticipating the crocodile’s next move. Without warning, the salty lunged from the watery depths and snagged the bait from the handler. It was an impressive and incredibly eye-opening spectacle. Salt water crocodiles are not to be messed with in the wild. As impressed as I was with the show, I had nagging questions about the ethics of the Crocoseum and Australia Zoo. It was Steve Irwin that originally brought unethical wildlife issues to my attention in the first place. So after doing a little bit of research I felt at ease. It is very clear that the Irwins always have a positive reason behind their animal conservation efforts. The intention behind the Crocoseum is to accomplish Steve’s dream of educating people about how crocodiles hunt in the wild so we can live safely alongside them.
The Australia Zoo is more than reptiles and hunting skills. It’s a wildlife park meant to protect and preserve its animals. When I found out I was going to visit the zoo as part of my internship program, I was excited to see first-hand how the Australia Zoo sets an elevated standard that separates it from other zoos which purely exist for entertainment. My first impression was the amount of space the zoo covers. It is so massive that it’s practically a resort for wildlife. Spending an entire day at the zoo still wasn’t enough time to trek through the entire zoo in one day. The signage, plaques, and educational material are plastered everywhere for zoo-goers to learn about the animals and efforts of the zoo. The staff were also very friendly and I took note that the zookeepers carefully tended to all the animals in every exhibit. Honestly, I didn’t feel like any of the animals were in distress like I have seen in other zoos in the past. The staff truly care about the animals and want them to live their lives as if the animals were in their natural homes. If you grew up watching Steve like I did, then you know he was always the number one advocate of wildlife. This zoo keeps Steve’s legacy alive by rescuing over 90,000 animals, tending to animals in their animal hospital, caring for endangered species, and continually striving to better understand each of the animals.
As a child, Steve inspired me to try to understand animals. As an adult I still learn from his legacy. Most of the natural world is the wildlife’s territory. We need to understand when we are entering that territory and we need to respect it. Not the other way around. My love of nature has led me to donate to WWF and other organizations throughout the years. I even adopted an endangered tiger through WWF. The Irwins have a similar program and if you feel driven to help wildlife conservation then you can take a look here. Every life matters and that’s the biggest message I want to promote with this post today. I know I missed the perfect opportunity to post this article on earth day but in my eyes every day is earth day. Please scroll below to take a look at a few memorable moments from my trip to the Australia Zoo.
Memorable Australia Zoo Moments
This beautiful and sleepy marsupial was deemed my spirit animal by an Australian Aboriginal shaman. While I can’t understand why this cuddly guy is my spirit animal, I can connect with him about loving sleep. I learned from the staff that koalas usually sleep between 18-20 hours a day and enjoy eating eucalyptus leaves. His fur wasn’t soft to the touch like I imagined. When I held him, the koala’s fur felt like I was holding the bristles of a broom. To solidify our friendship, this furry guy decided to photobomb our photo session. I realized I should have taken the staff’s earlier warning more seriously. He relieved himself on my arm for the duration I held him. It was a reminder that these lovable animals aren’t meant to be civilized. He’s cute, wild, and still one of my favorite memories.
Believe it or not, kangaroos are way softer than koalas. It was disheartening to hear that Kangaroo populations in Australia are comparable to deer populations in the United States. Car accidents are an issue and a lot of people consider them pests. I don’t agree with treating deer or kangaroos as pests but it’s perfectly normal to find kangaroo fur lucky items and kangaroo jerky in markets and tourist stores. For that reason, I’m grateful the Australia Zoo exists and is home to so many of these kangaroos. They enjoy pets from people and tourists enjoy their company. It’s a win-win.
Behold the Crocoseum! I won’t say anything more about it since my introduction included a lot of information. The video I recorded for the show I witnessed in 2018 didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. To replace my video, I found a recorded show on YouTube for you to enjoy.
Original photos from my trip in 2018. Don’t judge the quality of the photos because I had an older camera back then. I’m just grateful I have a few mementos.
What are some of the best zoos you have visited? I’d love to hear about your memorable moments in the comments below! If you haven’t already, you can subscribe below for more wellness, lifestyle, and travel adventures. I’m also on socials! 👇
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