Join our zoo community

Oceanian fantasy zoo

Discussion in 'Fantasy Zoos' started by amur leopard, 29 Jun 2020.

  1. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Since I wanted a change of scenery for my next map, I have decided to start a new thread in parallel to this thread: A European fantasy zoo.

    It would be a zoo that displays uniquely Australasian fauna. It would travel around the continent, exploring the lesser known islands as well as the large land masses. The zoo is located in the outskirts of Mandurah, Western Australia, along the shore. It will include 10-20 different areas focusing on the wildlife of the different habitats found across this diverse continent. I will give more thought into herp exhibits than elsewhere due to Australia's near-unrivaled dominance in this area.

    The first area I will be describing and mapping out will be Great Deserts of the West. Stay tuned for more!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 30 Jun 2020
    RockWallaby and Councillor like this.
  2. MonkeyBat

    MonkeyBat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Aug 2019
    Posts:
    1,357
    Location:
    Iowa
    Is it possible to request an exhibit for this zoo?
     
  3. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Sure, although I can't guarantee I'll stick to it precisely :)
     
  4. MonkeyBat

    MonkeyBat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    19 Aug 2019
    Posts:
    1,357
    Location:
    Iowa
    Could there be be a Guam aviary perhaps? :)
     
  5. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Jun 2011
    Posts:
    3,389
    Location:
    London, UK
    Hello Amur leopard

    Are you going to be able to exhibit marsupial moles?
     
  6. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    887
    Location:
    QLD Australia
    If this is going to be a realistic collection, then no, or at least if it was done it would be kind of pointless.

    The only birds from Guam that could be kept in Australia are birds that are native to both countries, essentially meaning the aviary would just be full of Australian birds.
     
  7. the racoon has spoken

    the racoon has spoken Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4 May 2020
    Posts:
    491
    Location:
    New Zealand
    When you say uniquely Australian fauna, do you mean that all the animals in this zoo will be only Australian? Because if so it isn't really a zoo themed on the continent of Oceania, but instead one solely focused on the fauna of Australia.
     
  8. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Yes, but it would have to be inside a larger zone dedicated to Micronesia + Marshall Islands etc.

    I think so, but it'll have to be a complicated exhibit ;)

    Oh sorry, meant to say Australasian fauna where I said Australian. Apologies. :)

    I apologise for the mix-up. I meant Australasian fauna where I said Australian fauna. it will be solely Oceanian fauna :)
     
    the racoon has spoken likes this.
  9. Yoshistar888

    Yoshistar888 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2019
    Posts:
    1,413
    Location:
    Australia
    Ive got comprehensive books for each Australian vertebrate group so if you need anything unusual I’ll be happy to help.
     
    amur leopard likes this.
  10. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    887
    Location:
    QLD Australia
    Yes but if the zoo is located in Australia you wouldn’t be able to acquire species that are not already present in Australia. If you want the zoo to be realistic and want species from all over Oceania you should have the zoo located in a place that doesn’t have any strict import laws.

    I am very interested in this project, particularly the exhibits for some of the pacific islands. :)
     
    Yoshistar888 and amur leopard like this.
  11. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Ah, I see. I guess I would therefore locate the zoo in the outskirts of Lautoka, Fiji instead. The climate is quite hot, so the main habitat is dry forest, so rather similar to Mandurah.

    You'll be glad to hear I will be going into some depth with the Pacific islands. I find they are some of the most underrepresented areas in zoos.
     
    animal_expert01 and Yoshistar888 like this.
  12. Yoshistar888

    Yoshistar888 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2019
    Posts:
    1,413
    Location:
    Australia
    In most cases it also applies the opposite as well, our export laws are just as tough.
     
    amur leopard likes this.
  13. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    So would Mandurah make more sense given a good portion of the zoo is still Australian fauna?
     
    Yoshistar888 likes this.
  14. animal_expert01

    animal_expert01 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13 Sep 2015
    Posts:
    887
    Location:
    QLD Australia
    Yes but there is a wide range of Australian species that could be acquired in a zoo internationally, compared to the limited range of oceanic species (other than Australian species) that could be kept in an Australian zoo.

    Off the top of my head the only oceanic species that could be realistically kept in an Australian zoo are kakarikis, red faced parrot finches, leachinanus geckos, Goodfellows tree kangaroos, nicobar pigeons, white fronted ground doves various lory species, Solomon Islands skinks, various rainbowfish species and peacock gudgeons.
     
    amur leopard likes this.
  15. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Oh. My fantasy zoos aren't the height of realism as you may have seen from the European fantasy zoo with a general blatant disregard for the country's laws regarding imports, but I reckon some of the species in the Australian areas would be impossible to get a hold of outside of Australia, so I might stick with Mandurah :)
     
    Gibbon05 and animal_expert01 like this.
  16. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Ok, I've put up a sneak peek into the Great Deserts of the West map here: Great Deserts of the West map section - ZooChat
    depicting a Southern hairy-nosed wombat and a Rothschild's rock-wallaby.

    Hopefully I'll have the exhibit description up this week, and the map should come not long after that.
     
    RockWallaby and Gibbon05 like this.
  17. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    OK, here is the First exhibit:

    I have tried my best not to make this too unrealistic but of course many of the species would likely not be obtainable given their captive status and government regulations. I have tried to research each species a good deal but I would appreciate if people gave me feedback because this is also a learning process. This area of the zoo is around the centre, so I will be radiating out around it from this point onwards. To the North are the Papuan forests. To the South lay the Mallee forests and to the East New Zealand and Melanesia. Of course this is how they are laid out in reality, although have had to locate the aquarium on the wrong side.

    Later on, I will post a fully-illustrated visitor map of the exhibit, a more technical map showing keeper pathways and off-show exhibits, a list giving the exact species list with animal numbers and another list with the enclosure sizes. I will try to do this for every single exhibit, but I can’t guarantee I will be able to keep it up, given there will be over ten sections to fully show off the diversity of this continent. Anyway, here is the first exhibit.


    Great Deserts of the West

    The exhibit begins on a clay path, walking through a narrow canyon with steep natural walls on either side. The boulders are around 5 metres high on both sides but the sun still manages to peer through the slender gap at the top. After about 20 metres of canyon, the formation opens up, spilling visitors into a large courtyard. It is mostly dusty clay but dry plants are scattered around the clearing and are the predominant form of vegetation elsewhere. There are paths to the left, right and straight ahead. As people around them pour into the larger paths to the sides, some trickle into the path straight forward.

    As they cross the courtyard, they pass a large restaurant to their left and a large rock formation to their right. Embedded into it are a pair of small exhibits, but the visitors continue on. The path begins to rise and soon they are on an elevated wooden walkway, constructed with lop-sided poles lashed together with rubber ribbons. The walkway is somewhat uneven to give the illusion of heavy use. Another pile of orange boulders are pushed up against the walkway on their right.

    The first exhibit of their visit appears to their left. A small, rather barren aviary is home to Australian Masked owls. For the most part, the exhibit is thickly planted with spinifex grasses (mostly Triodia pungens) but a single Acacia decurrens stands at the back of the exhibit. The owls have a small elevated shed-like structure at the back of the exhibit as well as a couple of perches under parasol-like structures for shade. Another, larger Acacia tree has grown over the exhibit offering more shade for the owls.

    The visitors move on and encounter another bird of prey, this time in a much larger aviary. A massive Wedge-tailed eagle is perched to the left of the exhibit, vocalising. The exhibit’s terrain is similar to the owl aviary’s, with numerous spinifex plants and a small rock formation. There are a few small mounds in the exhibit to imitate the burrows of the next species.

    The visitors walk on and come to another, less realistic formation. Embedded into are a pair of exhibits for two interesting small mammals. The first is for the Western pebble-mound mouse, a species which makes its own microhabitat. When it creates its burrow, it throws up pebbles from underground, making a mound around the burrow but also, due to air temperature differences around the mound as a result of the pebbles, allowing the formation of dew on the pebbles. The exhibit is meant to look like the rock formation behind has been eroded away until it is a sort of overhang over the mouse’s burrow. The exhibit consists of the burrow and a few surrounding spinifex plants. Next to that exhibit is a near identical one for a pair of Little Native mice. Turning to the right, the visitors spot another small aviary, around the size of and similar to the owl aviary seen earlier. This exhibit holds Brown falcons. It has a couple of dead trees, a few small mounds and rock formations scattered around and a cave indoor area at the back of the exhibit. Beyond that is a shaded perch and the indoor housing, hidden by more rock formations.

    Ahead is another aviary. It is much larger than the falcon exhibit and about on the same scale as the eagle exhibit before, but it is walkthrough. The path weaves through arid grassland and eerie clay formations. A few dry trees, not quite bereft of leaves, adorn the surroundings. Visitors pass through a pair of heavy doors to reach the exhibit. Inside, the clay path has been cleared away, leaving it bare and delineated with a small, low picket fence. Multiple signs tell visitors in vibrant yellow and black to keep on the path. The occupants of the aviary instantly make themselves known. Wild Budgerigars and Mulga parrots line the trees and fly around in flocks, vocalising loudly and playing among themselves. A few are clambering along the picket fence; others are bathing in the shallow dusty pool to one side and the rest are perched in the trees. Signs tell visitors about the birds – differences between them, their at times migratory nature to find food in the desert and their behaviour.

    The next exhibit is very different. It is about the size of a large meerkat exhibit, complete with rocks and dried out logs as well as a few pits in the ground. A large tree stands in the middle of the exhibit. The visitors observe the exhibit from the path, peering over a smooth, 1 metre tall wall which bends inwards at the top to prevent escape. Glass is embedded into the soft clay walls, through which visitors can get a closer look at the inhabitants. Dry grass is planted in tufts around the exhibits, allowing the inhabitants to make well-worn trails around the exhibit. The ground is hardened beneath the softer clay surface to prevent escape via digging, especially since a small tunnel underneath the exhibit allows children to crawl into a smaller viewing area in the centre of the exhibit through a toughened glass bubble. The visitors spot the inhabitant almost immediately: The Perentie. Beyond the exhibit is a small hut and then a mock-clay shelter.

    The visitors can see a larger path ahead running perpendicular to their own course, but to the left is a small building. It is similar to a makeshift wooden shelter, constructed of wooden panels nailed together haphazardly to offer respite from the sun. Inside are two large glass panels offering a view into two small exhibits, slightly larger than the pebble-mound mouse exhibit. Small holes in the wooden walls allow visitors to peer into the more secluded corners of the exhibit as well as into the indoor exhibit. The two enclosures are for two different species of mulgara – the Brush-tailed mulgara and the Crest-tailed mulgara. These two small marsupials are housed in exhibits containing multiple species of plant, including Nitre bush and Sandhill canegrass. Their burrows are at the base of these bushes, and visitors can peer inside the burrows through a small porthole in the wooden shelter.

    The visitors now exit the shelter and hit the larger path running perpendicular to their own course. However, there is a massive aviary straight ahead. The path to walk through it is straight ahead, and as they pass through the double doors, the visitors are instantly struck by the size of the space. The immense exhibit is home to 15 species of bird from the great deserts. The aviary is full of clay formations, fake termite mounds, dry grass, spinifex, Nitre bushes and in one corner a few acacias. The visitors are hemmed into the path by a rope fence, and signage attached to the wooden poles inform visitors about the birds in the aviary. A small round area gives the visitors the names of all the species in the aviary along with information on their distribution and diet. Colourful illustrations make the signs easier to read. The path has been cleared away by ripping out the natural grass and leaving a bare clay path through the exhibit. The path doesn’t explore every corner of the aviary - visitors can also peer into the aviary from outside from a few locations along the paths around it. This leaves the birds some privacy, especially in the dry woodland area of the aviary. The first birds the visitors see are the Splendid fairywrens. These colourful birds dart from termite mound to termite mound searching for small insects. Accompanying them is a Chestnut quail-thrush. The next bird to be spotted is an Australian pratincole, gazing over the grassy area of the aviary from the vantage point of a termite mound. Southern scrub-robins and Spinifexbirds flutter about near the Nitre bushes and a colourful Orange chat flies low over the ground, coming to rest at the foot of a rock formation. A rather duller Red-browed pardalote darts between the termite mounds towards the dry brush area of the aviary, and visitors only just a well-camouflaged Stubble quail hiding among the spinifex bushes.

    The visitors move on towards the less arid area of the aviary, and soon find some shade under a small group of dry acacias. Here, they some a trio of Gray honeyeaters, an Inland thornbill, a pair of Peaceful doves resting on a branch, a Flock bronzewing, a Little buttonquail amongst the dry leaf litter and a tiny Pilbara grasswren perched on a tree limb. Finally, they spot a Crested bellbird sitting still near the crown of a tree near the back of the aviary.

    The visitors emerge from the large aviary and are immediately faced with another large habitat, this time for a mammal species. A large group of Rabbits live in a large, fenced exhibit, designed to bring up the issues with Rabbits in Australia and the trouble they have caused for the local wildlife. The signage focuses on issues of overgrazing and competition with native species. They also talk about the history of rabbits in Australia and their impact on native species there, including the Greater bilby, which is housed next door to the rabbits. A shelter between the two enclosures allow visitors to view both exhibits and therefore compare the two animals, while also harbouring more signage. The bilbies are permitted to dig, as are the rabbits. Both exhibits are rather barren, replicating the arid ecosystem that both species are found in.

    Having observed both species, the visitors move on. They find themselves on a large plaza as they turn around. They have reached a dead end on their course so can either go left or right, but first they walk towards another exhibit for Rufous hare-wallabies. It is very similar to the bilby exhibit, with a little more space and a shelter to itself. The visitors then turn left back towards the deserts exhibit as opposed to right, which would take them into the New South Wales area. A thick area crammed with termite mounds ensues on either side of the path and suddenly the visitors find themselves in an immense fenced exhibit. The inhabitants of the walkthrough exhibit are immediately apparent. Though the whole enclosure is not instantly visible due to a fluctuating and slightly hilly landscape, the visitors can immediately identify the famous Red kangaroos resting nearby in the exhibit. A bachelor group of kangaroos is held in an adjacent, non-walkthrough exhibit, while all the red kangaroos in the main exhibit are either females or children except a single dominant male. The other species of macropod in the exhibit are Common wallaroos and Northern nailtail wallabies. The latter are smaller than the other two species but the exhibit is large enough that they have space to avoid each other and allow peaceful coexistence. Termite mounds are scattered over the exhibit. Most of the exhibit is covered in spinifex, with only some areas showing bare clay, and a small area holds a lone group of acacias. A small dry pool is the area where the most of the marsupials can be seen. The visitors slowly walk through the exhibit, peering around termite mounds and over dips in the ground to try and spot the different species. The path is delineated with a rope fence again which rises to a height of around a metre.

    Emerging from the walkthrough, visitors find themselves facing the plaza they began on at the start. To the right is the path between the two clay cliffs they took to enter the Desert area and a few small mammal exhibits, to the left is the path they took to reach the elevated boardwalk to view the bird of prey aviaries at the start as well as a large restaurant with a view over the kangaroo walkthrough. The visitors choose to go straight ahead, passing by the small mammal exhibits. There are two small exhibits on each side of the entering path. The first pair are very similar in size and formation, embedded once more into a large clay cliff. The species held in them are Plains rats and Spinifex hopping mice. The other two exhibits are slightly larger and are once again embedded into the cliff on the other side of the entering path. They hold Central rock rats and Long-haired rats. All four exhibits are planted with long tufts of spinifex, have a burrow, a large sheet of glass for viewing and a couple of logs.

    Before the visitors go straight ahead, they turn to check out another exhibit. The viewing is reached by a set of steps which takes the visitors to the top of a large pile of boulders. At the top, they have a view over the exhibit from a large wooden shelter. From here, it is instantly obvious that this enclosure is the largest in the whole desert area – the largest in the whole zoo in fact. It is spread over a massive plain of spinifex, peppered with termite mounds, dead tree trunks and dry bushes. The inhabitants are a pack of lively Dingoes. These canids are not a species of their own but rather probably feral dogs. They run across the plains carelessly, playing and chasing each other. Their food is spread around the exhibit to encourage them to run around. Having watched the dingoes from afar, the visitors descend the steps and return to the plaze, turning left towards the entering path.

    Yet another pair of similar small mammal exhibit lays on the left side of the path straight ahead, and this time they hold Desert mice and Shark Bay mice. They are most similar to the first pair of mouse exhibits in that they are of a smaller size.

    The visitors continue down the wide path. To their right they spot a building. The building, as well as containing an indoor viewing area for the pair of Central rock rats, contains a large viewing window into a large, dry-woodland style exhibit. The enclosure is covered in dry acacias, spinifex and Nitre bushes. An obscure climbing frame is balanced among the trees. The visitors watch for a while, and finally the animal shows itself. An endangered Northern quoll comes rocketing out of the undergrowth and up a slanted log, into the trees. Here, it picks up a small piece of meat hidden on the tree branch and jumps off, running out of sight again. Signage talks about its main threats, the greatest of which being the Cane toad, an introduced and poisonous species wreaking havoc on the species’ populations.

    The visitors exhibit the building and continue down the path. Almost immediately after the quoll exhibit to the right is another exhibit with a few outdoor viewing windows. The visitors approach the windows and peer in. The exhibit is mostly rocky and inside is a large group of macropods. The species displayed is the Rothschild’s rock wallaby, a strangely coloured relative of the more common Yellow-footed rock-wallaby. The wallabies stand predominantly motionless on rock ledges or on the clay, while others hop around from rock to rock surprisingly deftly. The visitors turn away from the outdoor viewing windows and enter yet another shelter with indoor viewing. Here, they can see the rock wallabies close up, as well as learn more about them from the interactive and colourful illustrated signage. To the left inside the shelter however is another window into a different, smaller exhibit. The enclosure is somewhat ruffled, with lots of large gaping holes in the ground dug out with powerful claws, bushes ripped up and thrown aside and a sapling tipped over. It appears as if the enclosure houses a large, dangerous creature. In fact, out of one of the holes come a bundle of fur with a snuffling nose. The exhibit actually houses Southern hairy-nosed wombats. Signage talks about their burrowing habits, their critically endangered cousins and their speed. Interactive signage allows people to compare their running speeds with that of a wombat, a kangaroo and a bilby. The wombat and wallaby exhibits are separated with a clay wall made to look natural.

    The visitors turn back to the left side of the path where they have a ground level view of the dingoes through a fence. Here they can closely interact with the intelligent canids. Turning back to the right, the visitors now see another exhibit a bit like a desert prairie in form. Sandhill canegrass covers the exhibit apart from occasional bare areas of clay and a couple of termite mounds. The inhabitants of the exhibit are one of Australia’s largest birds – the Australian bustard. They can be viewed over a low fence and a small moat separates them and the visitors. The bustards have an exhibit around the size of that of the wedge-tailed eagles. The visitors can also view the bustards through a glass panel inside a shelter. Another species can be seen from the shelter – the diminutive yet energetic Sandhill dunnart. The signage tells visitors about their diet – small insects, and how they hunt for them.

    With the dingo exhibit still on their right, the visitors have a final exhibit before they hit the biggest plaza in the zoo. To their right is a large aviary for Black-breasted buzzards. They have a couple of trees and a few termite mounds but overall quite a barren exhibit. Visitors peer in through the mesh from behind a low fence.

    Now they are at the plaza that forms an intersection between three exhibits – the Great Barrier Reef exhibit and the Mallee scrublands. In the centre of the plaza however is a circular building with a row of terraria going around it for tiny mammals. These are exhibit for mammals below and around the size of a house mouse. The indoor exhibits and keeper areas are inside the building, while the visitors view the mammals from outside by going around the building and peering into each terrarium. There are seven terraria in all, each for a different species. The first they hit is for an odd mammal called the Little red kaluta. It forages in spinifex plants for food, so the exhibit is essentially two spinifex plants, a log and a clay floor. The next exhibit going anticlockwise is for the Long-tailed planigale, another curious marsupial species. It is noted for its extraordinarily narrow head which allows it to squeeze into cracks in parched ground. Next is the Fat-tailed false antechinus, a similar species to the previous two in diet and behaviour. Forrest’s mice inhabit the fourth terrarium, and have a small burrow with underground viewing for the visitors. Pilbara ningauis are next up, with a slightly larger and more wooded exhibit due to their more arboreal nature. Sandy inland mice inhabit the penultimate terrarium, with a barren, sandy exhibit. And finally the well-adapted Kultarr is housed in the final terrarium, with a barren exhibit with nothing but spinifex, clay and a burrow.

    The visitors climb another set of stairs to reach the top of a pile of boulders to observe the dingoes yet again from beneath a shelter. The higher vantage point allows the visitors to properly appreciate the scale of the exhibit. In the distance, they can see another exhibit beside that of the dingo for another large animal. They descend the steps and leave the plaza, moving towards another pair of small mammal exhibits to the right. They barely spend any time watching them, having just been bombarded with seven other small mammal species just previously. They see the signage telling them that the inhabitants of the two exhibits are Western mice and Red-cheeked dunnarts. They spot the dunnarts but don’t hang around to look for the mice in their large terrarium. Instead they move on. Now they come face to face with a series of caves to their right. They enter the caves through a plastic curtain and are immediately met with a large crowd of bats. The zoo breeds the three species they keep. The visitors walk through the caves in turn, peering into the darkness. Lit up signage tells visitors that the three species kept in separate caves are the Yellow-bellied sheath-tailed bat, the Gould’s wattled bat and the Hill’s sheath-tailed bat. The wattled bats are reintroduced into the area around Mandurah to bolster wild populations.

    The visitors now encounter another exhibit. They look in through an outdoor glass panel, but see nothing. A sign tells them that inside are Golden bandicoots. They reach a fork where a path goes off to their right towards the Mallee scrublands, so they turn into it briefly. From here, they are able to see the bandicoots from inside a shelter. There are three pairs of bandicoots for breeding purposes, two of which are on-show in separate enclosures. The viewing shelter allows the visitors to see both pairs at once. The floor in the shelter is slightly elevated, meaning that the visitors have a better view of the exhibit and can peer into the dense vegetation where the bandicoots are likely to be sleeping. The indoor, darkened exhibits can also be viewed from the shelter.

    Now visitors spot another small path going off to their left behind a building (the reptile building, which is connected to the main path). This small, clay path allows views of the outdoor reptile exhibits, primarily exhibiting snakes. The exhibits are large and well-thought out, with each species’ needs catered for. First are a couple of smaller exhibits. First an exhibit for Thorny devils, with a relatively barren clay exhibit, and second an exhibit for Central bearded dragons, who have a more rocky exhibit. Recently, a study found that bearded dragons in outdoor enclosures are 80% more active than in an indoor exhibit. The large outdoor enclosure makes this difference even more palpable as the generally lazy indoor lizard is transformed into an active and attentive creature. The same, but to a lesser extent, applies with all reptiles, so it is upon this premise that the zoo decided to build outdoor exhibits for reptiles who normally get the short end of the stick. Now the exhibits are getting progressively larger. An exhibit for Desert death adders follow, and then for King Brown snake. The visitors can view them through a glass panel. Inland taipans, the most venomous snake species on Earth, are in a neighbouring exhibit, once again quite barren. The next few exhibits are another size up, and are for Black-headed pythons, Woma pythons, Stimson’s pythons and Spotted pythons. The signage encourages visitors to look past their fear and to appreciate the pythons for what they are. One of the signs, for example, points out the beautiful colouration of the Woma python, while another differentiates between the different python types in Australia, pointing out the variation among the group. Finally, the largest exhibits hold the largest lizards – the monitors. Species here (other than the Perentie, which is of course housed elsewhere in the area) include the massive Sand goanna, the Pilbara rock monitor and the Ridge-tailed monitor. The exhibits for these are much larger than those for the smaller snakes, and most have a good-sized boulder, logs scattered about along with a small pool. The visitors hit the end of the row of exhibits and a dead end. They turn back, then right, back along the path and back onto the main path with the bat caves. Straight ahead is a strange rock formation – a miniature mock-rock Uluru. The visitors climb to the plateau at the top of Uluru, from which they are able to observe the dingoes once more and sit in the shade of a shelter. The best views are when the sun goes down early in the summer and visitors are sitting facing West, watching the sky darken until night envelops it.

    The visitors take a different path down and are faced with the reptile house. It is styled as an Australian bar, similar to the Nocturnal Australian House at Columbus zoo, with a menu behind the bar, a few abandoned liquor bottles, stools lined up in front of the bar and faint music playing. The building doesn’t look terribly stable but has in fact been reinforced by the zoo beneath the façade. Paint is peeling off the walls and tiles and missing from the roof. A piece of corrugated iron has been used to patch up an area where the roof has caved it, and has become rusty from the rain. A lop-sided sign tells visitors that they are entering the ‘Laverton bar’. This is where the indoor reptile exhibits are located.

    Visitors walk past the bar and a few derelict tables and into an outhouse connected to the bar. Here, signage tells visitors about how invasive species have had a profound impact upon Australia’s wildlife. Cats, dogs, pigs, horses, cane toads and rabbits all enter the signage in some way or another. Having read this, visitors continue past the outhouse and into a long, thin building. It is styled so that it looks like an old, disused stable. There are at least 25 stables, all holding varied species of small animal. The doors of each stable have been replaced with a glass panel, allowing visitors to gaze into quite a tall and wide indoor exhibit for each animal. The smaller creatures without an outdoor exhibit are on the left, while larger reptiles seen outside before are on the right to allow them access to their other exhibits. The first few exhibits on the left are for spider species. There are three spider terraria are piled on top of each other in the stable. They are elevated off the ground by a structure disguised to look as a hay bale which in fact hides an area for keepers to stow away equipment for spider care, including gloves, tweezers for feeding and large buckets of maggots and flies. The top terrarium holds Pediana occidentalis, a large huntsman spider species. In the middle terrarium is the Redback spider, a famous relative of the Black widow spider. And in the bottom terrarium is Delena cancerides, another fearsome huntsman spider. Spiders are not common in the desert but are found there nonetheless.

    Next is a small terrarium for Desert trilling frogs. This species is known for being able to survive in the desert despite amphibians’ general need for at least semi-aquatic habitats. Again, the terrarium is lifted up and topped off by a couple of fake hay bales. Next are the geckos. There are two gecko terrariums per stable, with the same format as others with the hay bales. These exhibits are all on the left, since they don’t have an outdoor exhibit. The species in the gecko terrariums are: the Smooth knob-tailed gecko, the Giant cave gecko (which has a darkened exhibit), the Jewelled gecko and the Pilbara cave gecko. These exhibits therefore take up 2 stables. They all have clay or rock floorings and lots of landscaping. Next are the skinks – perhaps the most populous desert lizards in Australia. They have similar exhibits and are again two to a stable, with the same format. The species here are the Stoles’ skink, the Great Desert skink, the Sharp-snouted delma, the Western shingleback and the West blue-tongued lizard. The blue tongued lizard have an entire stable to themselves, with an exhibit that mimicks the side of a boulder. There are lots of smaller stones in the exhibit for privacy as well. The other exhibits are similar, just smaller.

    Next are the larger exhibits. Each reptile now gets an entire stable to itself. The first in line is an exhibit for Gravel dragons, who have a couple of large rocks, a log and clay flooring. Next up are the Central netted dragons, who have termite mound, a couple of logs and a spinifex bush, and lastly the final exhibit on the left holds the Bardick. These reptiles have a sloped area of spinifex and Nitre bush around with a couple of logs and stones.

    Having got to the end of the row on the left, the visitors track back and observe the exhibits for the species on the right. The first is for Thorny devils and is a striking deep orange, given it is predominantly bare clay. It has a single log and a stone for hiding behind. A small wooden door opens and closes to allow the devils in and out of their indoor exhibit. The food is scattered around both the indoor and outdoor exhibits encouraging movement. These reptiles are quite small so the exhibit is quite generous in size, but they are rare in zoos and are relatively requiring species. Next are the Central Bearded dragons, who have a very rocky and sloping exhibit, allowing them to climb. Food is placed on hard-to-reach ledges to challenge the dragons and to make them move even if inclement weather means they have to stay inside. Next are the Desert death adders and King brown snakes. Both highly venomous snakes have rather barren exhibits (especially the adders). They only have a few logs between them. Both exhibits have a couple of rocks each. The visitors move onto the next few exhibits. Once again, each species still has a stable per exhibit. The pythons however have slightly wider stables meaning they have more space both vertically and horizontally. The exhibits are less barren than the adder exhibit except for the Woma python exhibit, which is dazzlingly orange with all the clay and the red termite mound in the corner. The food is hidden in nooks and crannies in the exhibits. Finally, the monitors each have 2 stables to themselves each, giving them lots of space to clamber around the various rock formations laid out across their exhibits. The more arboreal ones have dead trees and small pools, while the Sand goanna has a uniquely clay-based exhibit just like the Woma pythons. Each animal has an adequately sized wooden door to allow it through into its larger and more pleasant outdoor exhibit. There is a light in each reptile indoor exhibit for basking, although the strong Australian sun is likely more effective in the outdoor exhibit, and the stable house as a whole is only lit with a couple of straggling, bare lightbulbs. The visitors now push open a crude wooden door made of slats and pass into another house.

    However, this time it is larger, and supposedly modelled around a garage. A derelict motorbike lays tossed aside on the floor to the left, while empty gasoline cans and rusty bolts are packed into rotten shelves, one of which has buckled under the weight and sent hay and empty water bottles streaming onto the floor. Here, an animal called the Greater stick-nest rat can be seen. Visitors walk over to the left of the garage, where the wooden wall is occasionally replaced with a small glass viewing panel into the exhibit beyond. To the left of the wall is a large viewing panel into the outdoor exhibit for the rat, with a large nest, a few termite mounds and a spinifex. The smaller viewing windows give the visitors a view into the indoor exhibit, a small shed attached to the side of the garage. The shed and the rats’ outdoor exhibit are interchangeably accessed via a small wooden flap that can be bolted open or shut if needed.

    In the corner of the garage is a staircase descending to the Southern marsupial mole exhibit. The atmosphere darkens as the visitors go down the steps. They end up in a darkened room, underground. Only faint infrared lights illuminate a series of underground pathways through clay, while bright lamps light up the ground above the underground burrow system. In reality, marsupial moles, tunnels they move around through collapse behind them as they burrow through the dry sand. The visitors can try to spot the zoo’s four moles in the tunnels made for them in the exhibit using the faint infrared lights that do not disturb the moles. The moles have been quite successful despite being previously non-existent in captivity. Food is hidden in the burrow pathways to try and encourage the moles to move around. The burrows go around the entire room and are at several levels underground meaning there is at least 70 metres of tunnels in the exhibit.

    The visitors climb back up the staircase and exit through a wooden door. They walk down the path for a while until they spot two exhibits on their right. Both are large aviaries for two different species of birds. The first is for the highly intelligent Torresian crow. They have a large aviary, with termite mounds and logs and a small group of acacias. The next aviary along is for the Bourke’s parrot, a similar species to the Budgies and Mulga parrots seen earlier. A small shelter by the exhibit tells the visitors about Night parrots, a closely related species to the Bourke’s parrot. They are highly endangered and recordings of individuals are highly-prized to such an extent that fake videos of them have been made. A short clip tells visitors about their conservation and just how rare they are.

    Visitors now cross the path. A pair of exhibits are to the left of the path and between them is another shelter. Here, they find out a bit more about the species in the exhibit. The two species housed are the Crest-tailed mulgara and the Brush-tailed mulgara. Both surprisingly small species who are quite secretive, the exhibits are only just larger than those for the large mouse species to give the visitors a chance of seeing them. However, despite the enclosure size, the mulgaras remain hard to find. The enclosures are quite densely planted with spinifex and only a few small patches show bare clay. A couple of logs adorn both exhibits. Having eventually seen both species, the visitors move on forward.

    They come to a large aviary (just a bit bigger than the eagle aviary seen earlier) and peer inside. This time, it isn’t walkthrough despite housing small birds. Looking in, visitors spot an energetic Red-capped robin. Near it is resting a Diamond dove. The other birds are harder to spot, and it is several minutes before the visitors spot any more. Eventually, a vocal Banded whiteface comes fluttering within inches of the mesh canopy over the exhibit and then darts away into a nearby tree. A trio of the same species isn’t far behind and they join it. Peering more intently into that tree, visitors see a Crimson chat preening on the far side. A bright Mistletoebird comes darting into a clump of spinifex near a viewing window and the most colourful bird of all in the aviary, a White-winged fairy wren, shoots out of the spinifex and hops along the clay ground towards the visitors, watching them inquisitively for a while until it flies off to join a Dusky grasswren on a low-hanging branch.

    Finally drawing their attention away from the aviary, the visitors hit a fork in the path. The map informs them that the right fork takes them towards another exhibit while they haven’t quite completed their visit of the desert area, so they turn left. They turn left again into a path they have already been down, past the perentie exhibit, then the budgie aviary and the owl aviary and then turn left. To their left they have the owl exhibit and then two more large bird of prey aviaries. First, an exhibit containing Black-shouldered kites full of termite mounds and rock formations appears, and then a larger aviary for Little eagles. Both exhibits have illustrated signage, a couple of trees and a small elevated shed in the top corner of their exhibits for inclement weather, and beyond there is the bird of prey keeper facility. Turning to their right, visitors finally spot the largest bird of Australia in its scrubland exhibit: the Emu. They watch the massive birds from the elevated boardwalk for a while as they eye up the dingoes next door intelligently, then turn to small pool to have a drink, trudging through a small grove of acacias. Finally, the visitors turn away and finish their tour of the Great Deserts of the West area. Next up will be the Mallee scrublands region, which should hopefully be shorter and more punchy :D)

    Let me know what you thought of this 6300 essay. Repulsively unrealistic, I know, but this is the fantasy zoo forum and we can dream :p. I tried to do at least a bit of research on each species to learn more about their behaviour, habitat and tendencies, but some bits may not be quite up to scratch, and I apologise, although I would love to hear about it
     
  18. Yoshistar888

    Yoshistar888 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    11 Aug 2019
    Posts:
    1,413
    Location:
    Australia
    Missed opportunity for Turtle Frogs:p
     
    SpinyLiving likes this.
  19. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Feb 2019
    Posts:
    3,461
    Location:
    London
    Don't worry, they'll be in the Mallee scrubland area.
     
  20. German Zoo World

    German Zoo World Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    30 Apr 2020
    Posts:
    534
    Location:
    Baden-Württemberg




    Great Enclosure Design


    Love the themed Enclosures in the Garage



    Great Exhibit
     
    amur leopard and Yoshistar888 like this.