As soon as I walked in one of the guys in charge made a point of guessing where I am from by my accent and later went on guessing accent unrelated things, all accurately. Astonished I asked how he knew this or that, and he said he had a special gift for knowing things about people. That was especially fun when I soon discovered that some of my colleagues had visited this zoo the day before and told him about me coming the following day. They gave him all the information he later so accurately “guessed”. We all had a good laugh about it.
The Rockhamtpon Zoo was truly special. We learned that they breed koala bears here for all of the other zoos in Australia and as a plus, visitors were allowed to hold the koalas and take pictures with them. At that time they had three unbelievably soft, slow and cute koala bears of different ages. My colleagues and I had a blast holding them. By that time I never had a pet of my own and this was one animal I fell in love with fast and wished I could take home with me. While holding the koala and smelling the soft eucalyptus perfumed fur I was thinking what a tease it is as the seemingly perfect pet cannot be a house animal. The eucalyptus diet makes it nearly impossible to have the subject of my love taken home with me. In order to hold my lovely koala every day I should move to Australia and work in a zoo. Maybe this particular one, as we were told that in the rest of the country zoos do not allow people to hold them, for risk of catching disease.
In life we have to learn to give up and move on. The earlier we learn this and the better we get at it, the easier life becomes. Yet, I still miss my koalas and still find it a tease that I cannot have the best pet there is: a soft, adorable looking, sweet smelling, slow moving furry friend.
Another big event at the Rockhampton Zoo was the presentation of the pythons. We were invited to hold them as well, but not many adults rushed to volunteer. Yet, there were two young kids eager to do just that and at their height both kids were hunched over by the weight and length of the pythons. I was in awe and admiration of the children’s pleasure with it and my mind said this is not normal adult behavior but an irrational fear that I have to conquer. As a result, when the zoo keeper invited me to hold the snake I got up and came close. He placed the snake around my neck and I wanted a picture to prove my courage to family and friends. I have to say I did not feel courageous. I was laughing and asking for a picture- fast. I wanted out of there quickly. The picture process was taking too long and I could feel the snake beginning to move. I did not even dare to look at it and, while laughing, I could feel tears in my eyes. Not tears of joy, I am sure of it. I wish I could say my snake phobia is gone now. Wishful thinking!
The food for the kangaroos was another smart touch. In the zoo they are so used to being fed by visitors that they recognized the paper bag I was holding and came to me quickly. It was nice to see them all around and even hanging on me. I love looking at the pictures and thinking of it as a dance with the kangaroos.
Photos from Rockhampton Zoo: