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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Life Lately: A Seal Encounter at Taronga Zoo

Why hello there! You might have noticed that I didn't put up my usual Monday blog post yesterday.

Why? Because, you see, I was off making a new friend.

December is a crazy month for us - as it probably is for you too. We're busily trying to finish up work for the year - whilst also trying to fit in all of the fun social things too. Every weekend has been full of events (from birthdays and Christmas celebrations to weddings and family events) and weeks have been full of work which has left me with little time to blog.

So yesterday, when I had to race out of the house early to get to the zoo in time to meet my new friend Mali, I didn't get a chance to put together a post!

But don't worry - a recipe is coming!

But first, I thought I'd share some of our trip to the zoo with you - and tell you about my new friend Mali! 
So let me share it with you! >> 

A few weeks ago I went to an event for Otterbox - and throughout the night they had a photo competition where you could share your photos on social media with the event hashtag - and the next day they'd sit down and choose a winner. 

I wasn't thinking I'd win but happily snapped and shared (because I am a HUGE animal lover) and to my surprise - got a phone call letting me know I'd won the competition! Whilst I thought it was just tickets to the zoo (which is an awesome prize as-is) - I soon discovered that the prize also involved a behind the scenes experience for me and my guests.

I decided to round up my family and make a day of it as we're all so busy in the lead up to Christmas and don't really have that much time to do things together as a whole family. 

We all headed over to Taronga Zoo - and after the seal show, the keepers brought out Mali for us to meet!


Mali is an Australian fur seal and had so much personality. 

He's the big man of the zoo and has two kids of his own (both to different ladies - apparently the macho seals are serious ladies men - and will mate with as many seals as possible in the wild).

His keepers helped him show off his skills and also told us more about the Australian fur seals as a species.

Thankfully they waited until after we'd given him a belly rub to show us his teeth... 

Which looked seriously sharp - and apparently the male sea lions can be quite fiesty as they play and nip at each other when together. It's not unusual for keepers to find males with bite marks or welts on their skin from where they've gotten a little too rough when asserting their dominance.

I don't really know what I thought a seal would feel like - but Mali really lived up to the "Australian fir seal" species title - because he felt just like a huge wet labrador. 

Whilst they look slippery and smooth - they are covered in a coarse, thick fur - much like a short haired wiry-coated dog.

After meeting Mali and saying our goodbyes, we headed off to explore the rest of the zoo - seeing the gorillas and their sweet babies....

Pygmy hippo mamas nuzzling their babies...

Cheeky chimpanzees... (which always make me think of Planet of the Apes - so maybe that should be Creepy Chimpanzees instead 😝)

Sleepy tigers at the incredible Tiger Trek exhibit (seriously, if Taronga Zoo made the whole zoo like that exhibit - I'd be there all the time)....


Giraffes and Elephants (including the latest addition to the Taronga Zoo family - Jai Dee!)...

And, of course, the incredible views!

It was a relatively short trip to the zoo - but the perfect opportunity to take a break from the busyness of the festive season to spend some time with my family, experience some new things and appreciate the beauty of our incredible city (and one of it's star attractions!). 

But tell me, 
Have you ever "met" a seal? 
What's one animal you'd love to get to "meet" up close and personal? 
I love all animals (except birds... which I am terrified of but will appreciate from a distance) and have been lucky enough to pet tiger cubs, ride horses, ride and feed and play with elephants, feed and pet giraffes and now hang out with a seal - but I would love to also get the chance to get up close and personal with lions, tigers (fully grown ones!), dolphins, penguins and meerkats! Oh and a sloth! 

So that's way more than one... but how can you choose?!

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