Australian Reptile Park
SO EXCITED FOR THIS DAAAAYY!!! Australian Reptile Park, our hosts from Air B’n’B were gracious enough to drive us (as it is a bit difficult due to strange bus schedules), check out Chilling Out in Woy Woy for $50 off your first Airbnb booking!
OMG, this trip to Australia sure crossed off some life goals! Some of those goals included seeing koalas, kangaroos (and baby roos!) and platypuses (in the wild of course, but my dreams were soon squashed when I was told it was pretty hard to see a platypus in the wild). Platypus’ are very fascinating because it is a mammal which lays eggs, it has very unique features and it is only found in Australia. The platypus is often referred to as a cross between a beaver and a duck, a platypus male only weighs about 2kg (4.4lbs). Platypus’ eat about half their weight in food everyday, which is probably a good thing, because this platypus was very active! Male platypus’ have one hind claw which is poisonous which is allegedly extremely painful, some zoo keepers say they would rather be bitten by a venomous snake than be poisoned by a platypus!
In the picture below (top left) is a rare moment when the platypus decided to slow down and do a little swim by to see what was going on!
So many animals to see; wallabies (though they look very similar to kangaroos, they are quite a bit smaller when full grown (pictured bottom right middle) and are more of a grayish colour in comparison to the kangaroo which is more brown (a baby kangaroo is pictured bottom right corner). There are also emus, kangaroos, a Tasmanian devil (top middle) and koalas (it is illegal in the state of New South Wales to hold a koala(bottom left middle)), a platypus (definitely a highlight), parma wallabies, dingoes, blue winged kookaburra, quokkas (top right corner), and brass winged dove (bottom left corner). Incredibly beauitful!
The Australian Reptile Park is also one of the only places that you can go to see the milking of the Funnel Web Spiders for the use in antivenom. The talk about Funnel Web Spiders was particularly interesting because it decribed that even though it was the most venemous, it doesn’t jump and it is not very fast. This helped to calm many nerves about being in Australia around the most venomous creatures in the world.
Interesting things I learned about Fennel Web Spiders which helped me to get over my fear of spiders:
The most venomous spider in the world, the Funnel Web Spider, can not jump. It may be creepy crawly, but it is actually relatively easy to catch and if you can catch one, you can send it off to be milked for antivenom!
The Funnel Web Spider is only found in Sydney. Many venomous or poisonous spiders live in certain regions and as long as you are aware of which spiders live where, you can know what you have to do when you are bitten by one.
The reproduction of these spiders in captivity has proven to be quite a challenge! Even though they have lots of little funnel web spiders, they seem to all die before they get to adulthood and they can not figure out why! (So at least for the time being, there isn’t a large amount of spiders being reproduced!)
They hide in shoes and in the garden. They like place which are dark and quiet and sometimes the tend to sometimes end up in places they are not supposed to be, so they will look for the darkest smallest quietest places to hide and that is often shoes or in your garden! So just make sure to shake out your shoes before putting them on!
The are only active at certain times of the year. They are mostly dormant in winter, but in summer is when they come out to mate. The female spider will eat the male spider after they mate, so one more spider down! Haha For this reason, the female spiders are often bigger then male spiders. This also means, the smaller the spider, the less venomous the bite. (Below, the male on the left and the female on the right)
You can survive a Funnel Web Spider bite. As soon as you are bitten by a funnel web spider, it is best to go straight to the hospital, as a fit healthy adult you have a maximum of 90 minutes before you are dead (but try to stay calm!). The next deadliest creature on earth is the Inland Taipan Snake and if you are bitten by this snake, you still have between 5-8 hours to get to a hospital which is a huge difference.
There is antivenom!! If you are bitten by a spider or snake and get to the hospital as fast as you can, there is a good chance that you will survive thanks to the milking of the funnel web spider.
Check out Advice from the Locals- Australia for more tips!