This large and slender cheetah is distributed across more than 25 African countries, boasting a population of around 12,000. However, the Asiatic sub-species is in a critical situation, with only 50-60 individuals remaining in Iran.
Cheetahs utilise various vocalizations for communication. Purring expresses contentment and enjoyable social interactions, particularly between mothers and cubs. Chirping resembles the sounds of little birds and is used by mothers and cubs to call each other. Churring is observed during social gatherings. Growling, hissing, and spitting occur in response to annoyance or danger. Yowling intensifies in situations of heightened danger or fear.
Cheetahs are carnivorous and enjoy small antelope, gazelle and fresh game. Cheetahs only eat fresh kills and prefer smaller fast moving game.
Females Cheetahs can give birth to as many as 9 cubs at once, but usually 3-5 after a gestation period of 90 to 98 days.
The birth weight of a Cheetah cub is between 150g to 300g.
Cub mortality is as high as 90% during the first weeks after birth.
Cheetah siblings stay together in a group after their mother leaves them at 18 months.
The females will leave the group and live and hunt alone, while the males form a coalition and hunt together.
Binturongs, with their prehensile tails, dark fur, and mysterious demeanor, appear almost mythical, evoking a sense of enchantment and intrigue. Binturongs are usually gentle animals, provided they don’t feel threatened or harassed. If you get close enough to our Binturong ‘Boogle’, you may notice he smells a lot like buttered popcorn. His scent glands create this unusual smell and are something Binturongs are best known for.
Binturongs are solitary animals, usually only seeking out another Binturong for mating.
Binturongs are omnivorous and eat small mammals, birds, insects, as well as fruits.
If you’d like to learn more about these intriguing animals, Personal Binturong Encounters are available at Mogo Wildlife Park and Hunter Valley Wildlife Park.
One of the most iconic animals known to Australia, Koalas are often mistakenly called the “Koala Bear”. Koalas are not a bear, but are in fact a marsupial. Koalas have thick fur that ranges from very light to very dark grey on the head and body, with white patching on the bottom, chest and ears. They have 5 digits on each hand- 3 work like fingers, and 2 work like thumbs. Koalas also have no claw on their thumb toe, and two toes joined together with separate claws. Koalas have small eyes and a large black nose, and sleep for 18-20 hours a day, primarily waking in the night-time to eat, fight and mate. Males can weigh up to 14kgs, and females up to 10kgs. Koalas have a lifespan of 12-15 years in captivity, and 8-10 years in the wild.
Koalas feed exclusively on Eucalyptus leaves. They have specially designed gut flora that assists in safe digestion without being affected by the leaves’ toxins. Koalas rarely drink water, attaining their hydration through the Eucalyptus leaves. In times of drought or bushfire Koalas have been known to drink large amounts of water, even venturing into areas populated by humans for water sources.
Koalas are fairly solitary animals, but come together for breeding season. A group of koalas living in the same area can be considered a population, with older, stronger males being dominant or alpha-males. Fighting is common, especially between males protecting territory. Males will breed with several females in a breeding season. Females give birth to one jellybean-sized joey, occasionally two- however the occurrence of both surviving is extremely rare. Joeys will develop in the mother’s pouch for 7 months, venturing out when fully developed and riding on their mother’s chest or back. The joey will feed on the mother’s faeces (known as ‘pap’) for 6 weeks to develop the gut flora necessary for digestion. At 12-15 months of age, koala joeys will leave their mother in search of their own territory.
While you can’t cuddle a Koala in NSW, at Featherdale Sydney you can get close to a Koala and possibly event pat one in our Koala Encounter.
The Australian Dingo is believed to have been introduced to Australia from Asia between 1000-5000 years ago. Dingoes stand at up to 70cm tall, weighing 12-24kg, with red, white or black fur. They have a slim build and erect ears, with a long, narrow snout and bushy tail. In comparison to domestic dogs of similar size, Dingoes have larger canines. In winter Dingoes develop a thick winter fur coat, which they shed during spring and summer.
Dingoes are an opportunistic predator, and will feed on a variety of mammals, including wallabies, kangaroos, rabbits and possums, as well as reptiles and birds.
Dingoes live in small packs of 3-12 members, with an alpha male and an alpha female. Communication is made through scent marking in faeces, and howling. Dingoes do not bark as is the case with domestic dogs. The alpha male and female will usually be the only breeding pair in the pack, with other subordinate members assisting in the rearing of pups. Gestation is 9 weeks, with an average litter size of 4-6 pups. Pups are born in a den where they will remain until large and strong enough to travel outside. They are weaned at 4 months of age and are usually independent between 6-12 months of age.