Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia

Sydney Australia’s world-class Taronga Zoo offers a first-hand view of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Mascots.

Syd, the Platypus
When the first platypus specimens were sent back to England from Australia after European Settlement in 1788, they were thought to be elaborate hoaxes. They appeared to be cleverly created from a number of animals, including a duck’s beak and the tail from a beaver. This unique creature is one of only three living members of the order of animals known as monotremes — the only egg-laying mammals.

Millie, the Short-Beaked Echidna
The name Echidna originates from the Greek goddess, Ekhidna, who was believed to be half snake (reptile) and half woman (mammal). Echidnas are mammals but have several similarities to reptiles, such as their reproductive systems and the way that they walk. The short-beaked Echidnas are common throughout Australia, but are endangered in New Guinea. They are not found naturally anywhere else in the world.

Olly, the Kookaburra
There is an old Aboriginal legend that when the Kookaburra sounds out its symphony of laughter in the morning, it is telling the sky people that it is time to light the fire that illuminates and warms the Earth by day. In fact, the Kookaburra’s famous melodic laughter is usually a group chorus, declaring the family territory in order to keep other unwanted Kookaburras away. They have six distinct calls, ranging from short chuckles to rollicking laughter that they use within their own clan but only one territorial laugh th ?at other clans will respond to.

Lizzie, the Frill-Neck Lizard
This lizard is named for the ruff they extend to discourage attackers and to encourage potential mates. If an attacker approaches and the lizard wishes to raise the alarm, they spread their magnificent frill and hiss frantically. The frill extends from the lizard’s chin and neck and expands to almost half the length of its body. This display allows the lizard to appear larger and less like prey. This illustrious lizard also appeared on the now discontinued Australian two cent coin.

Taronga Zoo
Bradleys Head Rd , Mosman 2088
Sydney, Australia
(02) 9969-2777