Bush in your Backyard
Monday 2nd April 2012

Before you pack up your swag and head into the bush to experience native Australian wildlife, you should check out what’s in your own backyard.

The new exhibit in Taronga Zoo’s Australian Nightlife precinct is all about celebrating the wildlife around us in suburbia. It was dreamed up by Senior Zoo Keeper Paul Davies and no detail over-looked!

The exhibit is a ‘living backyard’. It looks like a typical suburban yard complete with bbq, shoes piled by the back door, washing line and even plastic creepy crawlies scaling the house. Oh, and don’t trip over the cricket bat over there! Living in the exhibit are possums, tawny frog-mouthed owls and a bandicoot.

The animals definitely at home in their suburban surroundings. The Ring-tailed Possums run up and down the back fence and the Tawny Frogmouths have taken to playing with the pegs on the clothes line. Paul says the best part about the exhibit is that this is exactly what’s happening at night in your own backyard while you’re busy watching the TV.

Lucky visitors that have been into the exhibit on the Wild Australia Experience enter through a living room. It feels like you’ve walked into someone’s lounge room with a cup of tea sitting half-finished on the table. It’s so life-like that Paul said recently a Zoo Visitor remarked that he felt like he was on the set of “Thank God You’re here”.

When we said no detail had been overlooked, the exhibit is complete with its very own sound track - the familiar urban blend of cars, barking dogs and sirens. Indeed, the exhibit is so realistic that Taronga’s cleaning team accidently removed a recycling bin which makes up part of the backyard!

This slice of suburbia aims to raise awareness about the animals which surround us and ways which we can share their habitat.

“So many countries don’t have native wildlife in their cities anymore. We are privileged and we need to learn to appreciate it” said Paul.

You can encourage native wildlife in your own yard by putting in a possum box or making yourself a ‘lizard lounge’ by piling up rocks for lizards to bask on or hide in. It’s also important to keep dogs and cats inside at night to protect critters in your yard.

If you want to get really close with the animals in this exhibit you should check out our Wild Australia Experience tour by clicking here.

By Fiona Millist, Digital Intern