Video: Australian Reptile Park hit by massive downpour, putting animals at risk

Staff at the Australian Reptile Park scrambled to relocate animals at the popular tourist attraction on Friday morning after a massive storm brought torrential rain and flash-flooding.

The park was closed so staff could focus on protecting the animals, sandbagging doorways and sweeping water out of buildings.

In a video released by the zoo, staff can be seen running through near knee-deep water carrying soaking wet koalas, and one photo shows just the eyes of an American alligator keeping an eye on events while almost fully submerged in the floodwaters.

An American alligator watches on.
An American alligator watches on. Photo credit: Australian Reptile Park

Despite the flooding, the sudden downpour was a welcome relief to the area after months of bushfires and hot, dry weather.

Australian Reptile Park Director Tim Faulkner had just arrived back at the zoo after spending time rescuing turtles and platypuses from drought-affected areas.

"Just last week, we were having daily meetings to discuss the imminent threat of bushfires, just 8km away from the park here," he said.

"Today, we've had the whole team out there, drenched, acting fast to secure the safety of our animals and defend the park from the onslaught of water.

Wet but still cute.
Wet but still cute. Photo credit: Australian Reptile Park

"The contrast between the current bushfire crisis and this sudden flooding is striking. But we are well-aware that a huge part of Australia is still burning, and millions of animals are still under threat. The rain doesn't replace the millions of hectares of habitat that has been lost over the last few months."

Even wetter but still cute.
Even wetter but still cute. Photo credit: Australian Reptile Park

Staff at the zoo are confident it will return to business as usual tomorrow. 

"We'll be open and ready to welcome visitors for the rest of the summer school holidays," Faulkner said.

"And we could do with the with the help and continued support of our amazing community!"