Pre-Honeymoon Day 3

We were up pretty early for breakfast before setting off to Cleland Wildlife Park.

We waited for Bus Service 864F at Bus-Stop E1 on Currie Street, a stone’s throw away from our hotel.

As it would be really expensive to use the Metrocard (we would need to take 2 buses to get to Cleland Wildlife Park and another 2 to get back), we purchased the Daytrip Metroticket at $9.40 each yesterday:

Hello from the 5-day-old Mr. & Mrs Hu 🙂

The buses are really punctual; we made use of the journey planner to ensure we catch the buses on time and minimise time wasted waiting for the connecting bus.

Our tickets have been validated for 1 day travel on November 30:

We went through quite some ‘grassland’ to get to Cleland Wildlife Park:

We alighted at Crafers Park ‘n’ Ride then hopped onto Bus Service 823 to get to Cleland Wildlife Park:

The bus stopped by a look-out point where we could have a view of Piccadilly Valley:

And of course, we need to have a shot at this spot which overlooks the valley:

Hello Cleland Wildlife Park!

John Burton Cleland (1879 – 1971)
After whom this conversation park was named, as a boy he walked over these hills and camped on this site.

Tasmanian Devil:

Tasmanian Devils are Australia’s largest meat eating marsupial. Now confined to Tasmania, it is thought that the dingo displaced devils from the Australian mainland. Fossil remains, ranging from 70 to 213 thousand years old, have been found in the Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte National Park and twelve other caves in south-eastern Australia.

Despite being capable hunters, feeding on native animals, such as common wombats, Tasmanian devils are primarily scavengers. These squat, dog-like animals have a massive head and neck, with powerful jaws and teeth which enable them to crush and devour almost entire bodies.

With a reputation for being ferocious ‘butchers’, devils are in fact wary forest dwellers whose delicate, hairless ears blush deep red when confronted with stressful situations.

Lace Monitor:

Lace Monitors, Australia’s second largest lizard, are often seen sunbaking on the sides of trees throughout the Murray River Valley and southern Flinders Rangers.

Possessing large, sharp teeth and specialised throat muscles, Lace Monitors gulp their food of mammals, reptiles, fish, insects, tree nesting birds’ eggs and carrion, whole. When food is scarce, a fat store in the base of the base of the tail maintains them until conditions improve.

Females lay 6-12 eggs in termite mounds, breaking into the mount with powerful claws. The termites repair the nest, entombing the eggs within the controlled environment, safe from predators.

Hopping around a distance away were Kangaroos!

Using feed from the Cleland Wildlife Park,

We could feed them:

And pat them:

When we were done feeding the kangas, we checked out the Koalas:

These furry animals are often called bears, but Koalas are not bears at all. Koalas are marsupials, which means that female Koalas have a pouch in which their young grow.

Koalas are perfectly suited for life in the treetops. They have strong muscles and are excellent climbers. They have two thumbs on each front paw and a clawless toe on each hind foot to help them grip. Koalas use their long, sharp claws to make their way both up and down eucalyptus trees.

Koalas have thick, dense fur that insulates them from extremes of heat and cold. The thick dark fur on their back helps draw in the heat while long guard hairs help repel the rain. The lighter white chest fur helps reflect the heat. The dappled fur on their bottom helps the koala to camouflage into the surrounding habitat. Koalas can be very difficult to see in the wild.

Koalas depend solely on eucalyptus habitat for their food and shelter.

Eucalyptus leaves are a Koala’s main food source. These leaves are high in fibre and moisture content, but low in nutritional value. This means Koalas sleep 18-20 hours a day in order to save energy. When they’re not sleeping, Koalas spend time eating, climbing, grooming and mating.

In one day, a koala can eat up to 10% of its body weight in eucalyptus leaves – that’s around 1 kg of leaves! Of the approximately 800 eucalyptus species in Australia, Koalas will feed on only 40-50 species. In South Australia, there are only 6 or 7 eucalyptus species that Koalas will eat. Koalas use their excellent sense of smell to find the most taste leaves.

Without healthy eucalyptus habitat, Koalas will not survive.

Koalas have a very well developed sense of smell. Like many mammals, they use scents produced by glands in the skin to communicate territorial boundaries and readiness to mate.

During the Koala breeding season (September to April), male Koalas will mark their territorial boundaries regularly. They rub their chest gland onto tree trunks in their home range and bellow to locate females. The smaller female Koala will call in reply and produce a scent in her urine to indicate her readiness to mate.

35 days: About 35 days after mating, a baby Koala, called a joey, is born. It is about the size of a jellybean, hairless, earless and blind. It climbs into the safety of the mother’s pouch, where it will suckle and grow for several months.

4-5 months: Between 4-5 month, the joey will begin to emerge from the mother’s pouch.

5-6 months: Around 5-6 months, the mother Koala produces a special faecal substance called pap. The joey ingests the pap, which puts good bacteria into the joey’s guy. This enables it to digest eucalyptus leaves.

6-12 months: Between 6-12 months, the joey will begin to nibble on eucalyptus leaves. The joey also becomes more adventurous as it rides on mum’s back and learns to climb.

12-18 months: From 12-18 months, the joey becomes independent of its mother, weighing around 3-4 kg. It will be fully mature around 4 years old. Koalas live between 10 and 12 years in the wild and an average of 15 years in captivity.

We walked on and saw many ducks waddling about; we decided to feed them:

Obvious from J’s facial expression, it felt very different from feeding the kangas!

J eventually got used to their pecking and wasn’t so scared anymore:

It was soon time for Koala feeding/patting, so we got in line:

The Koala’s fur is really soft!!!

We then checked out the swamp aviary:

Reservoirs of life:
Wetlands are fragile in-between places that separate land from water.

Often it is hard to know where wetlands begin and end, because they blend in so gradually with both land and water environments. However, they are home to a teeming diversity of wildlife.

Wetlands not only feed and shelter wildlife, they also provide safe breeding grounds and nurseries for young fish and waterbirds.

Fish and crustaceans hide among the roots of wetland plants and spawn beneath fallen branches. Birds nest in the surrounding native vegetation.

Not just any old tree:
Regent parrots are listed as a vulnerable species under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Found along the River Murray, regent parrots are just one of many species that shelter and breed in the hollows of large, dead redgums.

Redgum hollows are only found in very old trees over 100 years of age. However, old hollows are becoming difficult to find due to changes in land use and competition from introduced species.

It is important to protect large old trees, both living and dead, so that they continue to provide homes to birds and animals in the future.

Nature’s water filter:
Wetlands, once dismissed as smelly old swamps, are now valued. Due to Australia’s unique evolution, our wetlands are unlike any others on earth. In the past, these wetlands have been significantly reduced in number and size.

Wetlands are dynamic ecosystems that constantly change. In flood, wetlands absorb water, filter it, purify it and then slowly release it back into the ground-water. When wetlands dry out, they leave behind nutrient-rich sediment on the floodplains.

Wetland environments are a vital habitat to a rich and diverse abundance of plants and animals – including us.

Then, and now…
Yesterday’s wetlands were often considered as wastelands. Large areas were drained and filled to become agricultural or urban developments. Much of the original habitat was lost.

Today, the importance of wetlands is recognised. Some sites, such as the Coorong in the South East and Coongie Lakes in the far north of this State, are acknowledged as being internationally important for migratory birds.

Local and state governments and the community are working together, and with other countries, to re-establish and rehabilitate the wetlands of tomorrow.

Seasonal balancing act:
Wetlands need to follow a natural seasonal cycle of flooding and drying to work effectively. This provides the right habitat for various plants and animals at different times of the year.

The wet/dry cycles trigger various activities. Native fish use flooded wetlands to breed. River redgums only flower in flood which in turn provides food for nectar-eating birds and insects.

When the wetlands begin to dry, a flush of new plant growth appears. Many birds return to the area to feed.

The cycle begins again when abundant rain falls.

We walked on and saw emus:

J was pretty scared of them, they were quite aggressive and scary-looking!

D was pretty brave, as usual:

Reversing the roles:
The emu is Australia’s largest, flightless bird, standing up to two metres tall.

Emus can travel several hundred kilometres a year searching for food. They eat a variety of native seeds and fruits and play an important role in the germination and spread of some plants.

Displaying dedication and determination, the male emu assumes the responsibility for raising the next generation. Rarely leaving the nest even to eat, he spends either weeks sitting on the eggs and tends the chicks for up to 18 months.

Kangas are still our favourite to feed:

At another aviary, we saw a couple of Masters of Disguise:

So much land for the kangas!

A joey and its mummy kanga resting:

The Mummy kanga was trying to scratch itself:

So cute! 🙂

Wombat resting on a hot day:

I might look slow

With a low centre of gravity, strong claws and powerful legs designed for burrowing, wombats can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h.

That’s only 10km/h under the vehicle speed limit of many Adelaide streets. This speedy marsupial also has a strong jaw that supports teeth which continue to grow through out the animal’s lifetime.

Wombats are also territorial and actively defend their home range. Speed plus an incredibly strong bite means our wombats are displayed in an enclosure rather than roaming throughout the Park.

Please do not attempt to pat these animals.

Can you spot the echidna?

Living Fossils:
Echnidnas have existed throughout most of Australia for around 80 million years. Easily recognisable with bodies covered in long sharp spines, echidnas feed on ants and termites by flicking them into a toothless mouth with a long sticky tongue.

Echidnas have been referred to as living fossils, representatives of the egg-laying mammals known as monotremes. A single soft shelled egg is laid directly into the belly pouch of the female. The hatchling sucks milk exuded from numerous pores surrounding the mammary glands and remains in the pouch until large enough to be left in a burrow.

That’s the brush-tailed bettong:

We went to the Dingo enclosure but didn’t see any…

Finally, we checked out the reptile section:

In another area, are ghost bats:

Do you know what it’s doing?

It’s feeding:

We saw a bilby:

It moves really quickly:

It’s been a fruitful trip, it’s time to go!

Cleland Wildlife Park
365 Mount Lofty Summit Road
SA 5152
Tel: +61 (08) 8339 2444
Hours of Business: Open 7 days a week – 930am to 5pm
Note: Closed on Christmas Day

We needed to catch this Bus Service 823 to catch the connecting Bus Service 864F back to the city; the next Bus Service 823 would only arrive at 5ish PM.

And as usual, J bought magnets as remembrance of our day at Cleland Wildlife Park!

Good-bye to wilderness:

Hello to urbanisation…

We were soon back in the city and shopped around a little, reminded that Christmas is ’round the corner!

We saw dog food that contained kangaroo meat 😐

J had craving for subway:

So we had subway for lunch.

And then J craved for maggi mee and tuna:

So we had maggi mee and tuna for dinner!

We ended our day over a movie with beer and Grain Waves 😀


2 thoughts on “Pre-Honeymoon Day 3

  1. Pingback: Good-bye, Adelaide… | Hu's Married!

  2. Pingback: Sydney Dream Day 5 | Hu's Married!

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