Horsing Around, Acting the Goat.

At Jugiong, this goat tried to get his paddock-mates to play…


Live to Play: An Otter Day.

The Small-clawed Asian Otters at Sydney Zoo love nothing more than lying on their backs, juggling smooth, slippery, wet pebbles from hand to hand via their mouth and chest.

Researchers seem to agree that Otters perform these rock and pebble juggles more when they are hungry – are they perhaps honing their dexterity for mealtime tasks like manipulating slippery fish, or picking crab meat from the shell? The ultimate meaning of this behaviour remains a mystery – but is nevertheless fun to watch!

First – choose a pebble from your stack of favourites:


Significant Otter.

At Sydney Zoo, Bramanda hung around the Otter enclosure for hours! As Ferret lovers, we have an abiding soft spot for the entire Mustelidae family (ferrets, weasels, stoats, martens, minks, badgers, otters, wolverines etc). It’s interesting and entertaining to see the behaviours we witness every day in our ferrets reflected in other genii and species. We sometimes call Otters “Aqua-ferrets”!

Sydney Zoo is home to a pair of Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinereus):

The Asian small-clawed otter is the smallest otter species in the world. In head-to-body length, it ranges from 470 to 610 mm (18.4 to 24 in) with a 260 to 350 mm (10.2 to 13.6 in) long tail.

Like a lot of zoo animals, the otters know the drill when it’s feeding time.

Like all otters, this pair moved seamlessly between land and water as though the two environments were one.

Captive (and possibly wild) pairs are monogamous. These two seemed like a lovely couple:

The Asian Small-clawed Otter is distributed from Southern India, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

They are listed as Vulnerable, and threats include not only poaching for its fur, and habitat destruction, but also – sadly and preventably – the illegal pet trade.

We love Otters!

Birds Mammals Reptiles

Sydney Zoo.

Sydney Zoo was opened in 2015 in western Sydney. Bramanda visited and spent far too much time watching the Otters. But here are some of the other wonderful animals we saw.

Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus)

The beautiful African Painted Dog (Lycaon pictus):

Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Giraffes (Giraffo camelopardalis)

African Lion (Panthera leo)

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

The Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) were sadly very reclusive on our visit:

The Tufted Capuchins (Cebus apella)

The Sacred Baboons (Papio hamadryas)

A sleepy Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)…

…and other sleepy critters!

Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)

The Kangaroo Island Kangaroo (Macropus Fulginosus fulginosus)

Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)

And for the bird-lovers, portraits of the Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

And finally, we compared the Meerkat (Suricata suricatta)


Gorilla gorilla gorilla.

[Brad]: my ambivalence towards zoos always reaches its peak around the Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla).
Yes, I know they are critically endangered in the wild. I know they are subject to illegal hunting and that their habitat is being diminished at a faster rate than that of almost any other large mammal. I know they average a 35 year lifespan in the wild and a 50 year lifespan in captivity. I know that the good people of Taronga are among the greatest Gorilla experts in the world, and that the round-the-clock monitoring and medical attention these animals receive is second to none. I know they are safer and physically healthier than they could ever be in the wild.

But something about seeing these animals in captivity, and the world of sadness behind their eyes, just tugs at the heartstrings.

It’s crucial that there should be captive populations of Gorillas. But it shouldn’t be. It’s only crucial because of us.

I know that direct eye contact with a Gorilla is not a good idea – they perceive this as a threat and a challenge. But even if it were OK, I don’t think that as a Human I could look these creatures in the eye anyway.