i love zoos. and i hate them.
i love them because i love the animals. i love watching them and learning about them. and i'm pretty sure that they should all come and live with me and be my best friends forever and ever.
but i also hate them because i hate seeing these magnificent creatures caged up in tiny spaces. especially the really big ones; it's so sad to see them locked up when you know that they should have thousands of miles to run free in. and i know that sometimes the zoo is the only place for some of the animals to really be free and safe, but it's still so sad to think about the fact that they can't return home because their habitat is being destroyed and they're being hunted. in that case, living in a zoo is probably their best option, but it still makes me sad.
that being said, i could sit and watch the animals for hours. couldn't you?
pandas are one of my favorite animals to spy on; they're just so freakin' cute. and at the san diego zoo they have three! the mama, bai yun, above, and two of her children. we didn't get to see the smallest panda baby, xiao liwu, because he was sleeping in a tree, but at a little under a year old, he's still only 39 pounds or so. (and as a result, could totally fit in my backpack and come home with me.)
we also saw yun zi, another son of bai yun. he's massive. and adorable. and despite what the panda trainer said about panda's having coarse hair, and not being soft and fluffy, i would still cuddle with him any day of the week.
there was a lot of action in this cage -- a zoo employee was cleaning out the cage, so the animals were very riled up and running around. of course, the running looked more like fancy high stepping or prancing, but it was still cool to see the animals up and about.
the capybara, looking like a cross between a beaver and a guinea pig, is the world's largest rodent. and it's cutest. i would take a family of these guys home with me in an instant.
i mean, just look at those cute butts. how could you say no to a butt that cute?
my senior year of high school i helped a friend do a project on llamas, and ever since then, i've had a soft spot in my heart for them. especially when they're cute and precocious like this guy.
i was happy to see that the elephants had a pretty large enclosure, but unfortunately that made taking pictures a little more difficult. in fact, we discovered on this trip that while our fancy new camera is, and will continue to be awesome, it may be worthwhile to invest in a new telephoto lens.
while we were watching the meerkats, who may be almost as cool as the prairie dogs at the sonora desert museum, a tour bus rolled by and said that timon, the meerkat in the lion king was modelled after one of the meerkats at the san diego zoo. kind of cool, huh?
i know that koalas are supposed to be vicious and mean little animals, but i just can't believe it. all they do is sleep and look adorable, how can they be mean? i just want to have one attached to me at all times, sleeping and hanging on while i go grocery shopping and run errands.
the giraffes were super cool because they had a plaque with each of their names on it. we sat there for ten to fifteen minutes trying to figure out which giraffe was which. it was not an easy task. but it made me feel better to pay extra attention to them -- so many people look at them every day i thought that we owed it to them to learn their names, if only to say hi.
omg. can you believe this kangaroo? how inappropriate. i love it.
i learned something new about flamingos recently: flamingos stand on one leg to conserve body heat. since their other foot is often in water, that lowers their body temperature, so standing on one leg should help them from getting too cold. i wonder if it works for humans? i smell a winter time project!
this clouded leopard was one of my favorite animals, and the one that made me the saddest. when we came over to say hello, he/she (?) was pacing the cage in a loop. as the clouded leopard came nearest to us it meowed the most pitiful, throaty meow growl you've ever heard. and as if that wasn't enough to make me want to put it in my purse right then and there, we saw it's awesome magnificent three foot long tail as it walked away. gimme.
these guys were awesome -- two grizzly bear brothers from idaho. we were lucky enough to stumble upon them as they were getting fed and it was really cool to watch. because they patiently waited as their trainer threw all sorts of food into their habitat, but what they really wanted was the huge hunk of meat. as soon as she threw it in, they both retrieved their portion and took it off to a corner to eat in peace.
this guy was also waiting for his food, albeit a little more civilized, sitting at a makeshift table.
all in all it was a great trip -- we saw lots of cute/ferocious animals and we visited with friends. the worst part, rcg wouldn't let me take any home with me.
what's your favorite animal to see at the zoo?