Sunday, February 27, 2011

Marcus among the marsupials

Today was Marcus's 9th birthday party (his actual birthday is tomorrow). Elf had the idea of taking everyone to Bonorong Wildlife Park, one step beyond last year's very succesful visit from the Reptile Rescue people. The only difficulty was getting a dozen kids out there, about 40 minutes drive from town. Imp and Ed came to the rescue with their immense 4WD, and a few parents organised to share drop offs/pick ups. It all worked out well.

Once the kids are past a certain age, I find working out what to do with them at a party is the hardest thing. The good thing about going somewhere like Bonorong (or the YMCA as we did a few weeks ago for Michael) is that you simply feed the kids and keep them under some semblance of control, and the rest just happens. For lunch we just barbecued sausages and onion and put them on bread, and set out some carrot sticks etc with dip, and avoided cutlery and plates entirely. Elf also sidestepped the giant cake transport problem by making about 40 beautiful chocolate cupcakes.

The ranger who took us on a tour was excellent. She introduced us to a blue tongue lizard, baby wombat, a koala (pretty much just a vertical wombat, apparently) and four lady devils. The devils were hilarious - they were attacking her with evil intent. All four of them were seizing her boots in their powerful jaws while she chatted calmly to us, prodding them away and shaking them off. They are approximately cat size, but they have the STRONGEST JAWS IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. After a while she sat up on the wall, so her feet were a bit out of their reach. One of them got a grip and hung on as she lifted her foot, until the devil fell to earth from about half a metre up. Then she pulled her feet right up on top of the wall, for the good of the devils who are not very good at falling.

This was not as funny as when she fed them (dead chicks if you must know) and the first one to grab it would set off at pace, always anti-clockwise around the pen, with the other three chasing like keystone cops.

The ranger said their eyesight is so bad and their brains are so dim that every time she goes in there to feed them, they assume she is a devil, and attack. Once they have established that she is really big and top of the pecking order, they back off. Presumably when she starts feeding them they vaguely remember that this is what happened yesterday, too.
The boys were not exactly rough with the kangaroos, but certainly casual.
Nom nom nom.
Can run faster than Usain Bolt. Allegedly.
On the drive out to Bonorong we had Avon and Reuben in the back with Marcus. At some point we were talking about Shakespeare - Avon and Marcus competing to be the biggest know-all about his works. Marcus has recently read and memorised one of the Horrible History series dealing with The Bard. Reuben said he had heard of Shakespeare, I think mostly through a cartoon called Gnomeo and Juliet.

Marcus: At the end of the real Romeo and Juliet, Juliet pretends to be dead. And Romeo is really sad so he kills himself. The she wakes up and sees that he's dead so she really kills herself too.
Reuben: That's really stupid.


IT IS ALLY said...

Is that a wombat? It doesn't look very fast.

chris.dadness said...

It looks like the archetypal not-fast animal. It walks with a kind of slow, rolling gait, like a staff member getting something for you at a large hardware shop when you are in a hurry.

Yet young ranger lass insisted they can run faster than an Olympic sprinter, when retreating to their burrow from danger, eg a dingo.

It's worth relating what they do then - they wedge their front in the burrow, leave their heavily-protected bony arse out, with a little space above it. The dingo sticks it's head in and tries to bite the wombat's arse. Wombat then jacks up and down rapidly, crushing the skull of the dingo.

How impressive is that?