Before we move on to my visit at Rainbow Springs, I thought I'd post this short (1 min.) classic Looney Tunes clip with Wile E Coyote and the sheepdog. You'll see why I made reference to him in yesterday's post! Also, I neglected to tell you that a sheep was sheared on stage and the shearer threw balls of the fleece out to us audience members to rub between our hands. I did as instructed and my hands were noticeably oily - as if I'd just rubbed an expensive cream into them. With a light pleasant smell. Needless to say I bought some of the lanolin cream they were selling there - produced in NZ - I really like it :)
Also, Dianne from Collies and Life left me a very interesting comment worth checking out in response to Tuesday's post where I'd mentioned that I was disappointed to learn women weren't allowed near the Maori carvings. She explained the fascinating reason behind this.
The last stop in my Rotorua city tour was at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park.
Situated on an enormous reserve of spring water, it features gorgeous scenery, hosts numerous varieties of local birds (including the elusive and endangered kiwi), small reptiles, and a trout farm.
Our guide was fascinating & very knowledgable. He shared many intriguing tidbits regarding the local flora and fauna.
Including the fact that the underside of the fronds from these trees are phosphorescent and were placed along the trails by the natives (they would have also been carrying lit torches) to aid them in their travels at night.
A representation of the largest of the Moa species that were found in New Zealand. This giant bird has been extinct for approximately 400 years. There were eleven species of various sizes, with the largest reaching about 12 feet in height and about 650 lbs in weight. It's Jurassic Park!
1. Two rows of teeth in the upper jaw that overlap one row on the lower jaw.
2. Born with a pronounced photoreceptive "third eye" on the forehead, which disappears (scales grow over) after the first few months of life. Ongoing research suggests that this eye is thought to be involved in setting circadian and seasonal cycles.
3. Able to hear, although they have no external ear.
4. Other unique features in their skeleton - apparently evolutionarily retained from fish.
They have been protected by law since 1895 and are threatened by habitat loss and predators that were introduced from other countries, such as the rat.
This huge (close to chest-high) rock was stunning and is valued at 1 million dollars!
Seems there's a legend behind everything - click on pic to expand.
And now for New Zealand's national symbol (besides the Silver Fern) - I wish I could tell you this is a live Kiwi, but in reality it's a stuffed one! I did see a couple of real kiwis (one recently hatched at the park), but photography of the bird is strictly prohibited - a flash could damage their delicate eyes (they're nocturnal creatures).