We were at the zoo again yesterday. You might be thinking, oh my god, really? Yes, really. It’s the best place to kill a couple of hours if you’re in that part of town and you have an annual membership and a toddler with a constant need of diversion. It’s, frankly, better than television. You’ll be hearing about the zoo a lot on this blog.
We did have about an hour and a half of free time and we were in the neighbourhood. The wonderful thing about the annual pass is that you can just “pop in” for a short visit, see a couple of big animals, and leave without feeling like you’ve wasted an expensive ticket. We did exactly that.
Some things at the zoo will always stay the same. The Home Farm is pretty static, though this time the piggies were hiding. The dinosaurs haven’t really aged much since we were there much. Heya, Stan – you’re still looking good for a 65 million year old fossil replica. But some things do change. Constantly. And the amazing thing I’m discovering by visiting there so often this summer is that it’s easier to spot the small things as you become familiar with the various critters and beasties.
The green tree python was looking decidedly less green than last time (yesterday’s photo is the one on the right). Why? Why? Perhaps he’s getting close to shedding. I don’t know but I really want to and one of these days I’m going to have a moment to look it up.
One of the two crocodiles was completely in hiding, but the other one was more easily visible as if to compensate. The new arrangement in the Zoorasic Park House allows you to see almost as much below the level of the water as above it, and the crocodile presented an excellent study in how light refracted through water gives a distorted image. The crocodile feet and tail looked ever so close just hanging suspended in the water where he was floating. But the top of his snout and one beady, half-open eye seemed much smaller and further away in comparison, even though you could actually see both at the same time.
The turtles – there are a lot more of them than I thought! I kept seeing the one in the tank adjacent to the crocodile habitat but it turns out that they’re just that good at hiding in the water. They always seem to have one guy half hanging out somewhere easily visible while the rest masquerade, but this time I spotted random legs or heads poking out from behind the submerged tree trunk and rocks.
The mangrove monitor – a reptile I have caught in action on video before, was particularly agitated today, doing a showy belly dance in the water while pressed against the glass.
The green crested lizards were busy chasing each other. Who knows, perhaps it was a mating dance but this big guy caught up to a little greener lizard and literally perched on top, making the smaller one freeze completely still for several minutes until the bigger one got bored and crawled off, literally shoving a foot in the smaller one’s face at one point.
The elephant enclosure turned out to have antelope! Indian blackbucks, to be precise. The sign has always been there but I never noticed it until I actually saw the antelope yesterday. We also learned that the big male Asian elephant, Upali, has his own space (an elephant version of the man-cave, if you will) where he likes to hang out in peace away from all the females. And there are a lot of females and babies. I don’t know if it was the time of day or the weather (it was relatively overcast and the zoo was fairly quiet for a weekend) but there was a lot of activity amongst the female herd. They were not terribly close but they were moving back and forth a lot in groups of twos and threes and we even got to glimpse, for the first time, the smallest and newest additions to the elephant family, still hairy and so, so tiny compared to the big lumbering beasts.
The sea lions were frolicking as they almost always do (Google auto awesome very conveniently made an animated gif for me out of my photos and video). The male orangutan sat looking as chilled as ever. He was so, so close to us! The Mister figures it was about 15 to 20 feet of water between the observation deck and the outcropping of stone on which he was perched. We did however, get a rarer sight of one of the smaller orangutans climbing on the rope bridge overhead. While I’ve previously once seen the big male traverse it from a distance looking like it was the easiest thing ever, this one did it with a strange sort of backward shuffle.
And again, perhaps because of the weather, many of the lemurs were taking shelter inside, more easily visible to the tiny faces pressed against the glass of the covered houses. And the aforementioned Asian elephant habitat, the Kaziranga forest trail, looked even more mysterious and otherworldly with the overcast sky and cloud cover. I can’t get enough of this place.
I’m sure we’ll be back again soon. Stan will look like he hasn’t aged a day over a million years, but the elephants seem to grow fast and there’s a new Amur tiger I haven’t seen yet. And it’s been a few years since we’ve been able to spot the snow leopard. There is always something new and often when I’m there I forget that I’m supposed to be an adult. I get so enraptured watching the animals and trying to photograph them that my husband often ends up being the sole adult, ushering us both along to keep pace with our schedule.
Video assembled courtesy of another Google Auto Awesome trick.