“Macca” the half tonne saltwater crocodile lazes in the noon day sun, the meerkats are burrowing in the dirt and scampering playfully around their cage while “Hercules” the Blue Tongue Lizard is oblivious to anything but the plate of food placed in front of him.
Despite what may be happening in the human world, life goes on at the same placid pace for the animals at popular Childers attraction, Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo.
Visitors are attending the attraction in reasonable numbers but owner/operator Ian Jenkins remains relaxed and optimistic about the future.
“We will just play it by ear and keep the business open as long as we have customers,” he said.
The continued expansion of Snakes Downunder remains a drawcard for families and visitors to, and from around the rergion.
“All of the animals have a great story to tell,” said Ian. “One of our latest attractions, “Matty” the Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo came to us from the Atherton region where he was found in a populated area quite disorientated.
“He is vision impaired although not totally blind. He has been in captivity for a while for his own protection and is still coming to terms with his new surroundings hence he is a little shy.
“This breed of tree kangaroo is peculiar to the area from the Daintree River to Herbert River Gorge in Australia’s wet tropics,” said Ian. “Australia has two breeds of tree kangaroos and these are not found anywhere else in the world.”
The zoo’s three koalas were oblivious to the talk volunteer staff member Jaimi Raveneau was delivering to an engaged audience regarding the status of koalas in Australia.
Jaimi stroked Matilda, a 19-year-old female koala as she spoke of her passion for the zoo.
“I love the animals many people term as the ‘creepy-crawlies’. Snakes have never bothered me and I really enjioy this close contact with the animals,” she said.
The Cross siblings, Bronte 4 and Owen 2, were fascinated by “Hercules” the Blue Tongue Lizard and enjoyed a hands on experience.
Zoo staff member Ashleigh Bendell said “Hercules” is a Jenkins family pet.
“At 22 years of age he was with Ian and his family before the business started,” she said.
In the next week or so Snakes Downunder expects to welcome its newest attraction, a young adult male Komodo Dragon which is around 2.2 metres in length.
“All being well, and fingers crossed, I’ll be able to collect him from Brisbane next week,” said Ian.
Snakes Downunder operates daily 9.30am until 3pm and is closed on Wednesdays.
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