13 NEW EXHIBITS FEATURING MAMMALS, BIRDS AND REPTILES FROM AUSTRALASIAN REGION

(From left) Parma wallaby, tawny frogmouth, white-lipped python and the Naracoorte Cave.

SINGAPORE, 14 AUGUST 2012 – Visitors can expect animals hopping, slithering and crawling in their new exhibits at Night Safari’s latest Wallaby Trail. This walking trail officially opens to the public this Friday, August 17, and will bring visitors through a fascinating discovery of wildlife in the Australasian region which includes Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand.

Originally the Forest Giants Trail, the revamped walking trail features 13 new indoor and outdoor animal exhibits. Visitors can expect close encounters with a range of marsupials, including the parma and Bennett’s wallabies in a walk-through exhibit designed to let visitors get as close as possible to its residents. Other animals include Australia’s native bird, the tawny frogmouth, and the white-lipped python from Papua New Guinea.

“We’re excited to highlight these Australasian species in the Wallaby Trail because the Australasian region is home to more than one million species of plants and animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The introduction of this walking trail adds another dimension to Night Safari’s wildlife experience and we hope to inspire visitors to appreciate and protect the earth’s extraordinary biodiversity,” said Mr. Kumar Pillai, General Manager, Night Safari.

The most prominent feature in the walking trail is the Naracoorte Cave. This re-construction of the Naracoorte Caves National Park in South Australia offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of cave dwellers such as free-flying bats, the giant river toad and the beauty snake. Through the use of dim lightings, this cave chamber showcases stalactite and stalagmite structures simulating a limestone cave. The trail also features an educational interpretive centre that showcases the beauty of Australasian flora and fauna through various animal and plant specimens.

The Wallaby Trail covers 4,800 square metres and can be easily accessed from the park’s main tram station.

WALLABY TRAIL HIGHLIGHTS

Entrance of Naracoorte Cave (left) and stalactites on the cave ceiling (right)

Parma and Bennett’s wallabies
Parma and Bennett’s wallabies are members of the macropod family which includes marsupials such as kangaroos and tree-kangaroos.

Like most marsupials, these wallabies carry young in pouches until they are developed.

Unlike kangaroos, wallabies are smaller. The parma wallaby is one of the smallest of the wallaby species, measuring approximately 50cm and weighing 5kg.

Bennett’s wallaby (left) and parma wallaby (right)

Sugar glider
This palm-sized animal gets its name from its fondness for sweet items such as fruits and flowers as well as its ability to glide up to 100 metres through the air.

Like their kangaroo cousins, these squirrel-like creatures also carry their young in a pouch.

A furry membrane that stretches from wrist to ankle allows them to glide through the night air, using the membrane as a parachute.

Sugar glider

Visitors can catch the sugar gliders in action as they glide from one branch to another in this exhibit.

White-lipped python
Found in Papua New Guinea, this beautiful python is easily recognised by the white marking along its lips.

This non-venomous snake feeds mainly on small mammals such as rats, lizards and birds, which are killed by constriction.

White-lipped python

Tawny frogmouth
The tawny frogmouth is native to Australia where it is commonly known as the morepork. Often mistaken for owls, these birds are in fact closely related to nightjars.

These nocturnal insect hunters have whisker-like feathers around their wide, frog-like mouths to trap prey. Unlike other birds that fly at night catching insects, tawny frogmouths remain very still, waiting for prey.

Their mottled greyish-brown plumage serves as effective camouflage during the day while perching on trees. When they stiffen their bodies and hold their heads up, they look like a branch.

Tawny frogmouth

Brush-tailed possum
The brush-tailed possum is a tree-dwelling nocturnal marsupial and the most common possum species in Australia. The largest of all possums, this animal has a naked patch on the underside of the tail to help it grip branches.

Brush-tailed possum

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE