Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tasmania: Salamanca Market and Bonorong Wildlife Park

We managed to go to three major tourist attractions in one day, but it meant we didn't get quite enough time at each of them, though that's what happens when you only have so much time. First was the weekly Salamanca Market in downtown Hobart, which had tons of stalls. I got stuck at one selling cards and the cutest reusable tote bags with screenprinted Australian animals. I also tried a garlic bratwurst at a German food stall, which helped me power through the rest of the long day of driving.
Bonorong Wildlife Park was a great place to visit if you like animals. It is a rescue and rehabilitation place, so they really care about their wellbeing and do try to re-release if the animals are able to survive on their own. You get a bag of kangaroo food, so I finally got to hand-feed kangaroos, and there was a huge paddock full of them! One grabbed the bag out of my jacket pocket as I attempted to take photos, so they were not afraid to stuff their noses and hands around to get the food.
We heard the keeper talk about the wombat - didn't know that it has a large, thick plate on its backside so that if an enemy follows it into its burrow, it can basically crush its head against the roof of the burrow (including dogs!). It also is affectionate for about one to two years, then goes into a kind of 'adolescent' phase where it suddenly wants nothing to do with its mother (or human keeper). That's when they can re-release it because it doesn't need to be mothered anymore.
The keeper fed the Tasmanian devils, which look pretty peaceful until they are feeding. Apparently they got their name because they would make these devilish howling noises in the forests, and the Europeans had no idea what was making the sounds. 

Finally, we heard about koalas and got to pat one. They also have a bone structure that allows them to sit comfortably in trees for long periods, kind of like a V-shape.

This was our first time seeing spotted quoll - pretty much polka dot rat-looking animals! There was a black one and a tan one. There were also several colorful birds and an owl-looking bird with no neck that had an ominous look.


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