Koalas, Kangaroos and Echidnas at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

A visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Queensland is highly recommended, for children and the young at heart it is a fabulous way to spend a day. As soon as you walk through the entry gate you will smile at the sight of koalas sitting among tree branches, munching away on eucalyptus leaves or having a nap. These beautiful creatures, like so many of our native flora and fauna are victims of progress, their natural environment destroyed by developers and their lives threatened by domestic animals and traffic. The wildlife sanctuary does a wonderful job of raising awareness of the plight of our native animals, educating children and caring for the sick and injured at their wildlife hospital.

There are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the animals. For a fee you can have your photo taken cuddling a koala or you can buy food for the lorikeets and kangaroos and feed them by hand. We didn’t do any of that, however we did venture into the kangaroo enclosure and took great pleasure in patting young kangaroos while they were dozing in the sunlight. The largest and oldest of the male kangaroos was taking a nap near the gate, at 8 years old he has fathered plenty of kangaroos, the second male is 4 years old and not quite as large although one of the volunteers told us that his nickname was Fatty.

My friends and I spent a day there recently and we loved every minute. When our legs grew weary and our stomachs hungry we hopped on the people mover train and enjoyed a ride through the park and selected a lunch venue. The sanctuary’s rainforest environment is filled with the sound of birds calling and at times, howling dingoes, the train passes by the enclosures of kangaroos, wallabies, water birds and the Tasmanian Devil. Cameras and phones in hand we took hundreds of photos of creatures we don’t often get to see as well as a few that we will never see in the wild because their numbers are low and they are on the endangered list. I regretted not taking a camera with better zoom than my iPhone, the digital zoom on an iPhone really isn’t great and many of my photos look more painterly than photographic.

Living with the local wildlife

We all think of Koalas as the most cute and cuddly of creatures, they’re one of the most popular Australian native animals and there are many opportunities for visitors to have their photo taken cuddling a Koala. Did you know that they also bite? Well they do and a couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of one grabbing hold of my thumb and not wanting to let go, nothing serious but gave me a fright and antibiotics were prescribed as a precautionary measure. It wasn’t the Koala’s fault, he was casually sitting on the side of the motorway minding his own business and I was on my way to the shelter. Koalas are often victims to traffic and there was no way I was going to leave the little fellow (not sure what gender actually) in such a precarious position, I pulled over and with towel in hand walked over to the Koala hoping that he wouldn’t make a run for it and end up under a truck. Not knowing whether the animal was injured or just frightened, I threw the towel around him, picked him up with every intention of taking him to the vet for a checkup and that was when he decided to bite me on the hand. I swore and wondered if he was ever going to let my thumb go, nobody bothered to stop and help and seeing as though he was starting to struggle I let him go into the bush. Apparently a Koala that doesn’t struggle is either in shock, badly injured or very unwell, and this little fellow took off into the bush and up a tree so I am assuming that he was ok. Having a wild animal loose in my car probably wasn’t such a good idea anyway.

Getting bitten by a Koala isn’t terribly common, most people look surprised when I tell them and then start laughing, Hubby being one of them. Even the Doctor and Nurse at the local medical centre found it interesting, they’d seen plenty of other types of animal bites but never a Koala. It makes for a great story, and if I ever have to rescue another Koala I will know to be wary of his mouth as well as the claws and I’m tempted to leave a pair of thick gloves in the car just in case.

I don’t have any photos of my Koala experience, instead please enjoy a cuteness overload of ducklings out for a morning stroll and a curious Wallaby that visited us one afternoon.