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Wild Life Sydney A Review of WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Discussion in 'Australia' started by WhistlingKite24, 2 Jan 2020.

  1. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    Directly next door to SEA LIFE Sydney, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo is situated along the popular Darling Harbour. The majority of the zoo is either indoors or netted over into giant aviaries allowing their free-flying birds access to large sections of the zoo. Geared towards the tourist market, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo strongly advertise that they are home to the ‘Aussie Big Five’ - wombat, koala, platypus, crocodile and kangaroo (an interesting concept I haven’t heard of before). As with all three attractions I visited during my trip to Sydney, this was my first time visiting the zoo.

    After paying admission, bypassing the annoying photo (like the ones at the SEA LIFE aquariums) and walking up a winding ramp, the first enclosure seen was a tank for a Scrub Python. This was quite a spacious enclosure and was certainly larger than many scrub python tanks I have seen. Continuing on was the humid Butterfly Tropics which had a lush butterfly garden with a series of reptile tanks. I only saw two species of free-ranging butterflies; Common Eggfly and a tattered-looking Cruiser Butterfly. A large glass-fronted reptile enclosure with a body of water ran along the garden. This enclosure housed Northern Long-necked Turtle, Broad-shelled River Turtle, Merten’s Water Monitor and Eastern Water Dragon. A nice mix of water-loving reptiles. This area also had a set of four tanks; one for Boyd’s Forest Dragon and three for White-lipped Tree Frog (someone really likes white-lipped tree frogs). These were all nicely-furnished with mock rock backdrops.

    Exiting the butterfly garden was a standard enclosure for a Tasmanian Devil. This enclosure also had a glass viewing window further inside. The devil was snoozing in its small den during my visit. The first of the free-flying birds were also seen here; a brave Emerald Dove walking directly in front of the devil and a male Satin Bowerbird in a tree. Up next were a pair of standard tanks for Eastern Brown Snake and Inland Taipan. These were located opposite the glass viewing window for the devil.

    The next two tanks were very generous in size for their inhabitants; one tank had Blotched Bluetongue (a nice change from all the Eastern Bluetongues I see on a regular basis at local zoos) and the other tank housed Cunningham’s Skink. Opposite these tanks was a glass-fronted enclosure with mature trees and mock rock cliffs for Koala, Laughing Kookaburra and Bush Stone Curlew. Other birds seen in this enclosure were Princess Parrot, Brown Cuckoo Dove and Gouldian Finch. It was quite odd seeing birds behind glass and took some getting used to.

    The next enclosure contained the species I most wanted to see at the zoo - Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby. Their generously-sized enclosure with large mock rock cliffs contained three individuals. I was thrilled to see such a striking species and this therefore brings my species of rock wallaby seen in captivity to four. The wallabies shared their enclosure with a Common Wombat who also had a dark side den area which could be viewed behind glass. I also saw some additional free-flying birds in this particular enclosure; Red-browed Finch and Zebra Finch.

    Nearby was a nice enclosure for an active Spencer’s Monitor. Up next was the Daintree Rainforest exhibit which was lushly-planted and had several glass viewing areas around the perimeter of the enclosure. I saw a few bird species in this enclosure; King Parrot, Topknot Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Wonga Pigeon, Red-browed Finch and Plumed Whistling Duck. I also saw a well-constructed bower for a Satin Bowerbird, and Emerald Dove was signed but not seen in this particular area. This enclosure also housed a small group of Red-legged Pademelon and a Southern Cassowary (a male called Princess, who was originally believed to be female). Again, seeing birds behind glass was very unusual and mixing the cassowary with other smaller species even more so. This area also had two tanks for Frill-necked Lizard and Boyd’s Forest Dragon.

    Right before reaching Kangaroo Walk-about were a series of frog tanks for Green and Golden Bell Frog and Magnificent Tree Frog (Green Tree Frog was also signed but not seen). These tanks were all very nice and had a small pool for the frogs.

    The Kangaroo Walk-about is the zoo’s main macropod exhibit and contained additional enclosures within the area. It was located in a red-sanded outdoor area which was netted over for the free-flying birds. The walk-through area also had a series of mature eucalypt trees and bottle trees. There were also glass viewing windows along the side, back in the indoor area. The first inhabitants I saw were the most exciting in my opinion- Spinifex Pigeons (they are like a bedazzled crested pigeon). They are a beautiful species and I would love to see them at more zoos and wildlife parks. I have seen them pop up at a few of the bird sales and auctions I have attended in recent years.

    Other birds found in this walk-through included Princess Parrot, Bush Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Zebra Finch, Gouldian Finch, Red-browed Finch, Wonga Pigeon, White-headed Pigeon, Emerald Dove and White-browed Woodswallow. Chestnut-breasted Mannikin and King Parrot were signed but not seen in this area. I also saw a Galah in an off-display aviary from the walk-through area.

    The only macropods I saw were Kangaroo Island Kangaroos (Agile Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo were signed but not seen). The other two species I saw in Kangaroo Walk-about included juvenile Emus and a very active Short-beaked Echidna. The echidna was being followed by an entourage of tourists with their phone cameras. Within the walk-through there were three additional enclosures that housed a Koala, a Quokka and two Kangaroo Island Kangaroo joeys. I felt that the quokka enclosure was one of the few exhibits at the zoo that was a tad small for its occupant.

    Next to these enclosures was a large viewing area to see the Saltwater Crocodile from above. The vertical space of the crocodile was inhabited by a group of Red-collared Lorikeets. I wonder if there ever has been any close calls or fatalities with this lorikeet/crocodile mix. Entering back into the indoor area (and air-conditioning) continued the strong emphasis on reptiles with four tanks for Olive Python, Central Netted Dragon, Dwarf Bearded Dragon and a mix of Shingleback, Frill-necked Lizard and Central Bearded Dragon (not seen). These were all presently nicely.

    Up next was the enclosure for their Platypus (two females, one of which is over twenty years old). I wasn’t a big fan of their enclosure due to how shallow their body of water was (it was essentially a smaller tank within a tank). Every other platypus enclosure I have seen over years has been much deeper. In saying this, the tank was wider than most enclosures I have seen for the species. Their enclosure was also very well-lighted (very unusual for a platypus exhibit).

    The small nocturnal zone began with an unsigned enclosure with its occupants remaining hidden (presumably an arboreal species due to all the branches). The next smallish enclosure was for Feathertail Glider (signed as A. frontalis). They were lapping up their food during my visit. Adjacent to these enclosures, was a large enclosure for at least three Bilbies. This was one of the largest enclosures I have for the seen for the species to date. Up next were a series of darkly-lit reptile tanks for Black-headed Python, Woma Python and some of the smaller reptiles; Night Skink, Centralian Knob-tailed Gecko and Spotted Python. The second-last nocturnal exhibit was for a mix of Yellow-bellied Glider and Rufous Bettong. Both species remained hidden but I don’t blame them. There were two people continuously knocking on the glass saying “knock knock anyone home.” I politely (but firmly) told them how they would feel if someone did that to their home and instructed them to stop it. Luckily they stopped and moved away from the enclosure. Some full-grown adults really act like children at zoos sometimes! The final enclosure in the nocturnal zone housed a colony Ghost Bats.

    Continuing to the new Discovery Treehouse which mainly housed invertebrates, there was a cylindrical tank for Cyclone Larry Stick Insect (it’s not every day you find a species of insect named after a natural disaster) and a larger enclosure for Spinifex Hopping Mice. It was really interesting to see the very active mice in a daylight setting. There was also a nest for Bull Ants behind glass in this area.

    The next series of enclosures were six walled tanks for three species (two in each). They contained Superworm, Rainforest Snail and Giant Burrowing Cockroach. Whilst I loved the idea of these walled tanks for invertebrates, having the three species represented by two tanks each seemed unnecessary. The next tank held a Common Yabby. Like the superworms, I felt that they could have opted for more unusual invertebrates rather than species they use to feed their animals.

    Moving into the next room were two vertical tanks for Golden-tailed Gecko and Goliath Stick Insect. I love golden-tailed geckoes (I only found out they existed at Taronga Zoo the day before), they are a great little species. Along a wall there were five boxed enclosures for spiders. They were quite small but adequate, and contained Sydney Funnel Web, Redback Spider, Wolf Spider, Huntsman Spider (unspecified species) and Australian Tarantula. The final animal enclosures on this level were a series of standard open-topped enclosures for Koalas which overlooked the Kangaroo Walk-about.

    The final area was the underwater viewing for their Saltwater Crocodile. There was also a side enclosure for a large Pig-nosed Turtle (a species I am quite fond of). The large body of water in both the turtle and crocodile enclosure had a few species of fish; Crimson-spotted Rainbowfish, Banded Rainbowfish and Seven-spot Archerfish.

    To be absolutely honest, I was expecting more from WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo and their collection seems to have diminished over the years. In saying that, what was there was done very well. Despite being space-constrained, the majority of the enclosures were of an adequate size and some even generous (the reptile exhibits come to mind). The zoo is also a very popular attraction with tourists packing every corner of it. Something like WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo would have great potential near Brisbane’s main CBD (although it would be a direct competitor of Lone Pine). All in all, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo made for a pleasant experience and I encourage others to visit.

    A species list will be posted below and more photos of WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo can be found here: Wild Life Sydney - ZooChat
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2020
    nczoofan and Chlidonias like this.
  2. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    These are the species that were seen and/or signed at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo on the 28th December 2019. The * indicates that the species was signed but not seen.

    Short-beaked Echidna
    Tasmanian Devil
    Common Wombat
    Feathertail Glider (signed as A. frontalis)
    Yellow-bellied Glider *
    Rufous Bettong*
    Agile Wallaby*
    Red-legged Pademelon
    Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby
    Kangaroo Island Kangaroo
    Eastern Grey Kangaroo *
    Spinifex Hopping Mouse
    Ghost Bat

    Southern Cassowary
    Plumed Whistling Duck
    Emerald Dove
    Spinifex Pigeon
    Wonga Pigeon
    White-headed Pigeon
    Brown Cuckoo Dove
    Topknot Pigeon
    Bush Stone Curlew
    Laughing Kookaburra
    Galah (off-display)
    Red-collared Lorikeet
    Princess Parrot
    King Parrot
    Satin Bowerbird
    White-browed Woodswallow
    Red-browed Finch
    Zebra Finch
    Gouldian Finch
    Chestnut-breasted Mannikin *

    Saltwater Crocodile
    Pig-nosed Turtle
    Broad-shelled River Turtle
    Northern Long-necked Turtle
    Central Bearded Dragon*
    Dwarf Bearded Dragon
    Eastern Water Dragon
    Central Netted Dragon
    Boyd’s Forest Dragon
    Frill-necked Lizard
    Blotched Bluetongue
    Cunningham’s Skink
    Night Skink
    Centralian Knob-tailed Gecko
    Golden-tailed Gecko
    Spencer’s Monitor
    Merten’s Water Monitor
    Spotted Python
    Scrub Python
    Woma Python
    Black-headed Python
    Olive Python
    Eastern Brown Snake
    Inland Taipan

    Magnificent Tree Frog
    White-lipped Tree Frog
    Green Tree Frog *
    Green and Golden Bell Frog

    Crimson-spotted Rainbowfish
    Banded Rainbowfish
    Seven-spot Archerfish

    Rainforest Snail
    Common Yabby
    Sydney Funnel Web
    Redback Spider
    Wolf Spider
    Australia Tarantula
    Hunstman Spider (species not labelled)
    Giant Burrowing Cockroach
    Bull Ant *
    Cyclone Larry Stick Insect
    Goliath Stick Insect
    Common Egglfy Butterfly
    Cruiser Butterfly
  3. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    12 Aug 2008
    California, USA
    Thank you for the review.

    What is a superworm? Googling it indicated that it is a trade name for meal worms, but I doubt that is what is exhibited?

    Do they still have the photo opportunity with the giant head of the prehistoric croc lunging out at you? That looked like it was very cheesy, but fun from the photos in the gallery.
    WhistlingKite24 likes this.
  4. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

    2 Jan 2017
    West of the black stump
    Another excellent review!
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  5. WhistlingKite24

    WhistlingKite24 Well-Known Member Premium Member

    2 Jul 2018
    Brisbane, Australia
    Glad you liked the review. Yes believe it or not the superworms (Zophobas morio) were actually beetle larvae. They are very similar to mealworms and they make a pretty pointless exhibit.

    I don't think they have that anymore (sounds like something I'd remember if they did). :p
    Last edited: 2 Jan 2020
  6. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    12 Aug 2008
    California, USA
    Here is a link to what I mentioned: Crocodile display - ZooChat
    WhistlingKite24 likes this.
  7. leone

    leone Well-Known Member

    1 Aug 2016
    Good wildlife