Kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils, and Baby Wombats — Oh, My!
In the small town of Bicheno is a 150-acre fenced and gated plot of land that’s called East Coast Nature World. Turning into the asphalt parking lot at the edge of Nature World, we felt a bit wary of the place; we didn’t want to see animals in a circus-like setup. However, we decided to take our chances because it is one of the few places where it’s possible to see wild Tasmanian devils in the island state of Tasmania.
Fortunately, Nature World proved to be a truly lovely place and run with the best interests of the animals forefront in mind. It acts as a sanctuary for native Australian animals who’ve been abandoned while young or wounded in some way, and the property is set up to allow free roaming as much as safely possible.
Kangaroos bounded all over the grounds of Nature World, but my favourite were the mama kangaroos that carried sweet like joeys in their pouches, like this one. Look at how the joey’s legs are popping out of its pouch!
We fed the kangaroos pellets bought from the gift shop at $1 per bag. The kangaroos started off friendly enough, but before long, dozens of large, increasingly aggressive kangaroos were surrounding us. It was a bit too much for me, but Sweet Baby thought kangaroos bouncing up in his face were the funniest thing ever.
A separate part of the sanctuary housed a number of native Australian birds in glorious technicolor.
As a child, there was an entire year when, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d answer “a male cardinal.” (I meant Ohio’s rosy-feathered state bird, not the clerical figure. Because that makes more sense, right?) But these gorgeous cherry red parrots with cobalt blue feathers covering their bellies and throats are even prettier than the bright red male cardinals that so captured my imagination when young.
And in a shady overhang separate from the parrots, an inquisitive owl roosted.
Next up is the reason why we came to Nature World — Tasmanian Devils! They’re small, furry, and frankly, when they looked up at me like this, I really, really wanted to reach into their enclosure and pet them. However, I wanted my hand to remain attached to my arm slightly more, so I resisted the temptation. Tasmanian Devils have the strongest bite for any mammal their size; they are four times more powerful than a dog equivalent in size.
As much as I enjoyed watching the Tasmanian Devils, it was the baby wombat that really stole my heart. This wombat was named Sarah and had been abandoned by her mother when she was too tiny to fend for herself, so the people at Nature World are raising her until she’s old enough to be released back into the wild.
Here’s a strange fact: Young wombats actually need to be cuddled for their emotional well-being. They pull away in their adolescence and no longer want to be held by humans after they’ve reached adulthood, but big babies like Sarah positively glow when getting snuggles.
Sweet Baby was apprehensive and happy and wary and enormously excited for the chance to pet the baby wombat. Sarah, the wombat, seemed to be experiencing similar emotions during their encounter. First, Sweet Baby would reach out to pet Sarah and she would draw back. Then, Sarah would stretch out her head to Sweet Baby and he would laughingly recoil. Do you think they could each recognise that the other one was also a baby?
Only after going through the photos, I’ve come to realise that I stayed staunchly behind the camera for our entire visit to Nature World. So, if you’re reading this blog as a stranger, just imagine this trip also included a third person who bears an alarmingly close resemblance to a red parrot.
All in all, it was a beautiful day spent with the animals.