boaconstrictor.JPGI stared down a lion, patted a penguin, fed a 2.2 tonne rhino and made a Galápagos tortoise very happy by giving him a neck rub.

Words can’t really convey what an amazing day Pauline and I had yesterday. As guests of the Perth Zoo we were given a behind the scenes look at the life of a modern zoo. Perth Zoo offers several Close Encounters with the animals and if you’re an animal lover I’d encourage you to look at the packages they have available. We were in a small group of just six people taking in the sights, sounds and smells behind the scenes.

We love visiting the zoo but when you get to meet the animals it’s so much more special. As you can see from the photo I even got up close and personal with a boa constrictor. He was a very friendly chap. Boa constrictors are non-venemous and humans are too big for them to consider us as food so it was a very safe meeting.

One of the highlights, and there were many, was getting very close to the two male and one female lions at the zoo. We weren’t quite close enough to pat the big kitty cats but we were less than a metre away from them, just separated by some steel bars. Thankfully the lions were chewing on a few kilograms of horse meat at the time so they were a little distracted. Hearing all three lions giving a little growl was impressive. I can only guess at how loud it would be if they decided to let out a real roar.

We fed a couple of orang-utans, got inside the cage with two ring-tailed lemurs, gave Tricia the elephant some bread and a rub, watched the sun bears feeding and did so much more. It was a very full day.

As well as all the animal experiences, we were given a magnificent hamper for lunch and spent over an hour having drinks and nibbles with the zoo staff at the end of the day once the zoo had closed. It was all part of a prize Pauline won through The Sunday Times.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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