Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Ligers and I

Ligers and I
Originally uploaded by joe with a camera
Had a trip to the zoo on saturday! It's set among wooded hills and ancient quarries, so it's quite spread out with a decent amount of walking between the enclosures, fairgrounds, and other bits and pieces. Some parts (the crowded ones) were pretty horrendous, but there are some beautiful little spots amongst bamboo groves away from the madding crowd... Anyway, just wanted to tell you about some strange goings on that are still leaving us baffled...

Ligers are truly magnificent animals - absolutely enormous, and the photo clearly doesn't do them justice. It's amazing how these cross-breeds of lions and tigers are actually bigger than either! Anyway, there were two, in a big enclosure, prowling around and being admired by a small but noisy crowd of onlookers, and separated by nothing more than plate glass...

Despite the crowds of tourists, one of the ligers became obsessed with us. It was staring at us wherever we went, until we started to get slightly unnerved. In the spirit of true scientific enquiry, we split up, one of us going for a wander at a time, to see who it followed. It was definitely me (Joe). Seeming to realise we were playing some game, it gave me a rather worrying growl, before crawling away from us backwards until we could only see its eyes, staring at us... It was really quite spooky.

Even stranger, one of the spider monkeys had a similar reaction, although in that case it merely seemed confused and curious. When we left, it ran around the cage until it couldn't get any further... and it was obviously us again, with several people in the crowd laughing and pointing.

We wondered whether it was the beard. If it gets too hot in the summer and I have to shave it off, we'll go back and re-run the experiment. As long as the snakes on fieldwork don't share this fascination, we'll be fine...

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