Left: Building up the courage to feed the cassowary. Right: Sizing up my opponent.
Hand feeding a cassowary (the most dangerous species of bird in the world).
After preparing to have my hand pecked off, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that he was actually quite gentle, turning his beak to the side to scoop the feed out of my hand.
A gorgeous little pademelon.
Feeding a pademelon. Such amazing little creatures.
Drawing a crowd. Black swans and lots of roos.
The most inquisitive kangaroo I have ever met.
Clockwise: 1) A koala resting in a tree. All of his buddies were sleeping. 2) 3 kookaburras 3) A Tasmanian devil.
Phillip Island Wildlife Park
The moment we drove past the wildlife park I mentioned I had to go there. I thought the opportunity to hand-feed some kangaroos would be a fun experience plus it's something that never occurred to me would happen during our weekend away on Phillip Island. Upon arriving, we both paid admission ($18 per adult) and purchased extra feed bags (.50c per bag). The lady behind the counter (and several people walking around the park) warned us not to let the emu's see the bags of food. If they see them, they do anything to get them... Duly noted.
We entered the park and walked straight ahead towards the echidna's, while looking in their enclosure we were greeted by a pademelon. The pademelon's were unavoidable (in a good way), there were so many of them (way higher numbers than I had imagined), we ended up walking past the koalas and around to the corner of the park, just to spend some time feeding them away from where most other patrons were walking. They are adorable little creatures and would grab our hands with their small little feet in hopes to find more food there. Unfortunately, at one point I looked over at the wrong time and had a view inside one of their pouches. A sight that cannot be unseen.
Next we head over to the cassowaries. I was apprehensive to feed them at first. They looked like they would eat my hand. Their iridescent feathers and prehistoric feet were incredible, nonetheless, the cassowary still looked like it could take my hand off with one peck. Anxiety aside, I went ahead with it and was surprised to find out they were relatively gentle, using the side of their beak to scoop the feed instead of pecking straight down like I assumed they would. Bodhi neglected to tell me until after I had fed them, that they are the world's most dangerous bird and could have disemboweled me with one swipe of its foot. Probably best he did that.
A lot of the animals within the park roam free, contained only within the limitations of park boundaries and some of the animals are housed inside of enclosures. We continued through the park past Falcons, Eagles and Owls, their enclosures unfortunately looking like they could do with a bit of a spruce up. On the other hand the birds have probably plotted their escape and are possibly waiting for the perfect time to bust out through a hole and fly free. So to fix, or not to fix? Continuing walking we ended up in a large field where the wallabies and kangaroos congregate and they flock to you as soon as they see food, from there, the dingo's, Tasmanian devils, and then emu's. Unpredictable and demonic emu's.
To make it known, in some/most circumstances I am not the best around large birds, so it's safe to say a bird with a beak hovering around my eye level and a penchant for chasing and pecking isn't going to be among my favourites. As we approached the enclosure, the fear obviously apparent on my face prompted passers by to inform us of the same berserk emu scenario forewarned to us earlier. I took it seriously, Bodhi did not, waving a bag of feed in front of my face within a minute of being inside the gate. Luckily, the Emu's took off after him instead.
If you're in Victoria and looking for a location where you will have the opportunity to hand-feed and walk around with Aussie wildlife, set on 60 acres and home to 100 species of Australian animals, Phillip Island Wildlife Park is definitely that place.
Phillip Island Wildlife Park Location
2115 PHILLIP ISLAND ROAD, COWES, VICTORIA, 3922
TEL: (03) 59 522 038 | WEBSITE
by NATALIE MARIE
An Aussie girls guide to
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