Monday, March 11, 2013

Philadelphia Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo, for everyone's information, does not have a capybara. Or at least that's what they want you to think. The truth is they do, but they keep it hidden away because the capybara is the pleasantest, politest, and wisest of all creatures. They keep it in a secret room because being a zookeeper is a hard job, and sometimes they need to go and spend an hour having tea with the capybara, submitting to it their dilemmas, and accepting its wisdom. And its cookies. They can't do that if it's out in its cage spreading its wisdom amongst the masses. The crowds would be enormous, and people would be angry when they took the capybara away for personal use. So they keep it a secret. It's unfortunate for capybara enthusiasts such as myself, but I understand. If I had access to a capybara, I would hog it, too. (Hahahahaha.)

What the Philadelphia Zoo does have, or did the day I went with Historian Esquire, is unusually active animals. Normally when I go to the zoo all the animals are sleeping behind a rock, as if they don't like people milling around and staring at them or something. But the animals at the Philly Zoo were awake and playful, and if they weren't, they at least had the decency to sleep publicly.

Let's start with this pygmy marmoset. This pygmy marmoset was very difficult to catch in focus.


This pygmy marmoset also appears to be very angry. The secret capybara would not approve, for the secret capybara knows that anger only makes you unhappy. Better to let it go, pygmy marmoset.

Sloths, on the other hand, never get angry. Sloths don't have that much ambition.


The secret capybara doesn't approve of this either, but it's decided to pick its battles.

Historian Esquire has a friend who works at the zoo, and she wandered around with us and told us interesting tidbits. For example, apparently nobody knows what giraffes use their little fuzzy horns for.


Historian Esquire's current theory is telepathy. The secret capybara can neither confirm nor deny this.

Now for some examples of public sleepers. First, the leopard:


Predators need not be fast all the time, says the secret capybara enigmatically.


This lion was sleeping in a row of lions all laid out on the grass right next to the window. It was extremely convenient.

This fellow, however, was well aware of the people on the other side of the glass. He ate some food with his back to us, and bounded around a little, and then came over and did a variety of poses.


After this he turned his back again and did an over-the-shoulder pose. It was very weird. Also, he might be a she. I have no idea.

I was perhaps most impressed by this jaguar which was up and about playing with its toys. Animals never play with their toys when you're in front of their cage! It was like The Miracle of the Zoo. (What would also be a miracle is if I could tell a jaguar apart from a leopard. This might be a leopard. The other one might be a jaguar. Rest assured they are both spotted cats of some kind. They may be the same cat. They may be the same animal, even. I am not sure.)


Hey hey.


We're the monkeys.

The polar bears are very old, and look it. The one in front has clearly just had enough.


Doesn't even get up for visitors, can't be bothered to control its tongue. Little does it know that it's a young whippersnapper compared to these turtles.


The oldest one is a female, born in 1928. She is 84. She had a bit of trouble eating her lettuce, but frankly, I have trouble eating lettuce, so I don't think that's to do with her age. The secret capybara says it's okay: everyone has trouble eating lettuce sometimes. I love the secret capybara.

My personal favorites were the kangaroos. First, because their family name is "Bouncepants." Every time I think about that, I laugh.


But second, they obliged us by hopping around on their giant feet, and then some of them boxed! It was the most wonderful thing I have ever seen! Actual boxing kangaroos! Magnificent. Just don't tell the secret capybara I said so. It's a pacifist, of course.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My compliments to the secret capybara for so enlightening your zoo visit, and to Esquire's zoo friend for providing delightful tidbits of information. Thanks for sharing.