The South Coast and Croc World

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At the weekend we went to the South Coast, one hour drive south of Durban. We stayed at a beach house. When we got there it was very wet, so we did some puzzles. Then we went to the beach. There were lots of rockpools. In the pools were lots of little fish and crabs. As the tide came in, all the crabs hid from the waves, sitting on the rocks. It was fun to watch!

Then on Monday we went to CrocWorld. First we saw all the snakes. Some of them were hard to find. This was because sometimes they were in a corner of their case and sometimes because they were well camouflaged. My favourite was the green mamba, it was very green! In one case you could see the skin that had been shed by the snake. It was massive. There was also a green iguana that Mummy liked.

Then we saw some birds. They were all rescue birds. There were 5 spotted eagle owls that we saw eating dead chicks, we saw one pull the head off. There were flamingos, one of them did a poo and all the fish in the water, came and ate it. It was disgusting! I liked the grey crowned crane. There was a nest with 2 eggs in it. It was difficult for the crane to sit on the eggs because its legs were so long. There were also some marabou storks. One was called Stallone and his beak looked strange because it poked up. He was born like that. There was also a noisy fish eagle – it is called the voice of Africa.

Then we saw the crocodiles! They were Nile Crocodiles and were big and fat and most were lying in the sun. We saw a couple swim under the water, all you could see was their eyes and some bubbles. I learnt that they keep their mouths open to help cool them down. They can stay under water for an hour, and they can swim 30km/hour. People can only swim 8km/hr! There was a big crocodile called Henry, he was 4m long. He is the oldest crocodile in captivity. He was captured in 1903 because he was taking children from a village. He had 10 wives! The best part was I got to hold a baby crocodile. It was 5 months old. It was very wriggly. We also learnt that we should stay at least 5m away from the waters edge, because crocodiles launch half their body out of the water to catch their prey.

We also got to see leopard tortoises. Some were really big and I got to hold a baby. It hid its legs and head and did a pee, but not on me! We found caterpillars crossing a path. There were so many it was hard not to stand on them. We also found geckos hiding in the wooden hand rails. There were also lots of monkeys that were eating the birds food.

We spent a bit more time on the beach. We found a jelly fish and lots of blue bottles. I don’t like them, but luckily no one got stung. There were lots of little crabs that were transparent. We could only see them when they were running fast across the sand. We picked up lots of good shells too. The Indian ocean was warm to paddle in, and it was fun to chase the big waves.

We also filled a bag with plastic rubbish. There were lots of bottle tops and lollypop sticks. Plastic bags are really bad in the sea because they look like jelly fish to turtles and they try and eat them.

There was a monkey at the beach house, it tried to steal into the house to get food! It was a fun few days. Now we are back in Durban waiting for the car.


Butterflies for Africa, and KZN Museum

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Today we went to a butterfly house. We had a guide who showed us eggs hidden under a leaf. Then he showed us some big caterpillars. They were camaflouged green and brown against the plant they were eating.  They were really big. Then he showed us the cocoons. Most were dry and empty and some were green coloured. They had caterpillars changing into butterflies in them. There were lots of butterflies. My favourite butterfly was the blue one but I was a bit scared that they would land on me.

There was a game where you had to match the caterpillar to the butterfly. It was hard because the caterpillar looks nothing like the butterfly. I also learnt that butterflies lay their eggs on a particular plant as the caterpillars only eat one type.  But moths eat most plants.

In the butterfly house there were also hedgehogs and guinea pigs. They were very smelly. The hedgehogs were albino, that means they were all white coloured instead of brown. There were turtles and stick insects. The stick insects looked like sticks so were hard to see.

After the butterfly house we went to the Kwa-Zulu Natal Museum. It was really good. There were lots and lots of displays of stuffed birds and animals. I liked the bird section because there was my favourite bird – the flamingo! We also saw lots of bird eggs. Did you know that the kiwi has the biggest egg compared to its body. And the ostrich has the smallest egg compared to its body. There was a model of a moa from New Zealand and we even saw a dodo! These are birds that are extinct.  Vivi found a wolf, that was next to a massive moose. There was even a polar bear which impressed Daddy. But there were all types of African animals too.

Upstairs in the museum there was a cave showing how people used to live. I liked the rock art. There were stegasauras and triceratop skeletons and a container to dig out your own fossils. There were lots of displays. I liked the bead work and there were some musical instruments to play.  Daddy liked the spears. It was fun. There was also a big map of Africa to put together.

Umgeni Bird Park

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Yesterday we went to a bird park. But it wasn’t just birds there.

First we went to a bird show. I had two favourites and both were owls. They were funny. The first owl kept on flying off the stage and the second owl didn’t want to go home at the end. The birds even flew over our heads! Vivi liked the pelican best. It was really big and the keeper fed it chicken.

I liked the toucan, it was very colourful. There were spoonbills and scarlet ibis in one cage. The spoonbills bills really looked like spoons! But they did pee alot. My favourite was the flamingos. I learnt that the yolk in a flamingo egg is dark pink, and the chicks get pink milk from their parents when they feed.

There was also lots of parrots and macaws. I liked the blue and gold macaw. One of the parrots said hello to us when we walked past! They were very colourful and noisy.

When we were walking round Vivi spotted a black millipede on the ground. It was 20 cm long and very fat. We also saw a golden orb spider. It was big and had red and black striped legs. But the best thing was that it was sitting on a gold coloured web!

I drew a picture of my favourite things: A flamingo, a spider, a blue and gold macaw and a golden pheasant.