We caught up with Chris Humfrey, zoologist and owner of Wild Action Zoo, to chat about his new show Chris Humfrey's Animal Instinct
, his crazy creature-filled home/zoo, and what we can all do to help wild animals!
Check out the video below to see what it’s like living at Wild Action Zoo!
KZ: What is an average day in your house like? It looks pretty crazy!
C: Well as I type, I have a cockatoo chewing on my computer key board, I have a fairy penguin calling out for some fish (who is incidentally swimming in my bath tub), I have two wallabies boxing each other on my steps to my laundry, and that’s just the first 10 minutes of my day! I’ll head out soon for a 10km run to help me focus on the day ahead. It’s always intense! I have to be super fit to be able to do this job. I need to get a huge load of eucalyptus leaves today as we have a female koala with a young joey (she needs special attention), I have to inject a wallaby with antibiotics (because he has a sore tooth), and I have four baby joeys in my lounge room that need a bottle of milk every four hours. The tawny frogmouths CJ, Chewie, Roley and Popeye all need two ‘micey-poles’ each, too. Their favourite place to roost is on my desktop computer. And oh, I forgot Boris and Rosie, the echidnas… I need to mix up an echidna soup in the blender in a minute – all before 10am!
KZ: What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to do when trying to help an animal?
C: I have given mouth to mouth resuscitation to a baby joey kangaroo with heat stroke, rubbed the backside of a constipated koala to help make it go to the toilet, bathed my geriatric water python Big Bertha to help her shed her skin and walked my baby emu chicks in a ‘Baby Bjorn’ to give them some fresh air… Is that weird enough? I also taught my baby fairy penguin how to swim by using rubber duckies as his support crew in my bathtub. Bluey is now a professional swimmer; he should be in the next Olympics!
KZ: What was your first experience with a wild animal?
C: The first wild animal experience I ever remember was at Phillip Island when I was just over a year old! I remember being in a pram, and I clearly recall my family taking me on a ferry to watch the seals at the ‘Nobbies’. I still remember the seals swimming around the bottom of the ferry with their flippers on the side of the boat. I thought that they were waving at me! My second fondest memory was finding my pet frog ‘Fred’ in the public toilets in Coffs Harbour when I was three, and we have been best friends ever since.
KZ: What are your top three tips for K-Zoners who want to help with conservation?
C: First of all, be responsible pet owners! Don’t let your cat wander the neighbourhood and gobble up native wildlife, and always walk your dog on a lead, so that it doesn’t chase kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas.
Second, plant and create a natural habitat for local wildlife in your schoolyard or even in your own back yard! It’s so rewarding to see native wildlife and help them find a new home.
Third, educate others so they know that without nature and without conservation, mankind is pretty much finished, and that every animal has a job to do and is important. We all need to work together to protect and conserve our natural world.
KZ: What is your current fave weird fact about an animal?
C: I love the fact that emergent baby koala joeys have to eat their mother’s poo to inoculate themselves, to be able to eat toxic gum leaves!
Catch Chris Humfrey's Animal Instinct on Animal Planet, Saturdays from March 4 at 6:30pm!