One of our long time readers, April and her daughters, sent us a very special Australia Day post for us to share with you! Enjoy!!

January 26th is celebrated each year in Australia.  It is the anniversary of the day Captain Arthur Phillip arrived with the First Fleet to settle Australia.   My daughters and I decided to take some of our American friends to meet some native animals (including a live one…).

Sonali got to have a Crocodile encounter.  Crocodiles are notoriously cranky and you would never want to hold a real one.  They can grow up to 6 meters long (20 feet).

Vivi was lucky enough to hold a Green Sea Turtle.  Did you know female green sea turtles always return to the same beach they are born on to lay their own batch of eggs?

Jess held a Dugong, also known as a sea cow.  Dugongs grow up to 3 meters long (10 feet), weigh over 400kg (880 pounds) and can live up to 70 years.

Dolly met a Ring Tail Possum.  Ring tail possums are nectar eaters and are quiet shy.  We are lucky enough to have some that live in our garden.

Harmony held a Platypus.  Platypus are monotremes, which means they are mammals that lay eggs.  Platypus live in freshwater creeks, have a bill like a duck and clawed feet like an otter.

Cecile went swimming with a Fairy Penguin, also known as Little Blue Penguins.  Fairy Penguins are the smallest variety of penguins and some live right along Sydney Harbour-but are always threatened by feral cats and dogs.

Nellie said hello to a Wombat.  Wombats are not really cuddly, they are very large (40 inches/55 pounds) and dig deep, long burrows underground.

Kirsten was very brave to hold a Grey Nurse Shark.  In fact, she will be perfectly okay, because Grey Nurse Sharks are no threat to humans (or dolls) and eat only small to medium size fish.  However they are critically endangered, so they need humans to help protect them.

Mini Kaya meets an Eastern Grey Kangaroo in the grass.  As you can see it is only a joey (baby kangaroo), adult kangaroos are much larger and can be very fast.  The quickest speed recorded was 40mph!

Mimi and a Green Tree Frog.   There are many varieties of frogs in Australia.  Frogs have very sensitive skin, so you always have to wet your skin before picking one up.

Kit cuddles a Koala! Lucky Kit, although Koala’s have very long, sharp claws for climbing Eucalyptus trees.  Koalas sleep 18-20 hours a day, so Kit was lucky to catch this one awake!

Josefina got to have a hold of our pet Blue Tongue Lizard.  Her name is Bubblegum, because she has a blue tongue.  She lives in our vegetable gardens and eats snails.  She is very friendly, but most Blue Tongue Lizards are shy and would rather hide.

Thank you so much April and girls for taking the time to put together this fabulous and very educational post for us! Happy Australia Day to all our Australian readers!