Sunday, May 31, 2009


I met up with the same folks, give or take, with whom I went to the bug and globe exhibit a couple weeks ago and we hit the LA Zoo today. The weather was fantastic for walking around in the sun because it was a rather chilly 65 to 70 and hazy most of the day. The sun came out for our last hour or so and I started to notice the heat of it. The zoo is open from 10-5. We met there at 11 and I was thinking it was only 2 or 3, partly due to the late warmth which in my area rolls in around 1 on foggy mornings,, but we left at 4:30. It was surprising to find out how late it was; the time flew.

We really enjoyed the heck out of ourselves. I learned about a bird with a reversible toe, I saw my first live agouti (agouti was the mnemonic for a friend's phone number, years ago), a monstrous silverback gorilla surprisingly dove down a hillside on his belly slip-n-slide style, chimps did a little parade, and the giraffes were entertaining for long stretches. At the entrance, they'd had a warning sign that the animals might seek shelter as it could rain (and they would not give rainchecks or refunds if so). Far from that, the animals seemed to delight in the mild weather and were out and about and far more active - and vocal! - than I usually see zoo animals. I not only got some pictures, I took some brief videos.

A good number of the photos were focused on the enclosure rather than the animal which limits the selection I'm willing to share globally, but not to worry, the odd and therefore interesting ones mostly came through.

The meercats do a good job of sentry duty at the front of the zoo walk.
LA Zoo meercat on alert

Cranky Otter can't go to a zoo with otters and not get a picture of otters, but it was a near thing. They were hiding. There were at least 2 *under* another blanket in a hammock nest. We had all sorts of speculations about what they were up to as they were quite wiggly.
LA Zoo distant view of river otter in ugly hammock

There was a whole family of giraffes. There was one caged up around the corner (there were giraffe-flu jokes floated), but here are the rest, small to large. What was amazing to me was how utterly still the baby was for most of this. The others wandered and scratched and ate and flicked, but the baby just stood close to mom and tried not to draw attention. Didn't work, being cute in a big display and all, but the instincts were good.
LA Zoo 5 giraffes of varying sizes

Later, dad wandered off in search of leaves almost, almost out of reach. Check out that big ol black tongue! And the fractal like edges of the spots.
LA Zoo giraffe tongue sticking straight up

Then he had to lick his lips clean. I got about 12 seconds, but he spent several minute on this before I tried to get the photo. He really whipped that tongue around.

This horned DLA (deer like animal) caught us by surprise when it went over to either lick this rock, or try to giraffe-tongue its way to the overhead leaves or both. But it hung out in this position for quite a while. I think you'll agree he looks very odd. I kept expecting him to move in not so kid-friendly, drunkey "hey baby, wanna dance" way, but he kept it clean.
LA Zoo vertical deer like animal propped upright on a rock
His coloring in real life and in the picture reminds me of either plastic reindeer or fake rocks. I can't get over how fake he looks, but if you need proof, I have pictures in slightly different poses.

Another, more famous DLA, the zebra, had a prominent spot for their herd. This one kept catching my eye though, because he was just so "oh, Pooh, do you think anyone likes me? :sigh:" that I think of him as Eyeore. I think his Eyeore-ness mostly even came thru in the photo.
LA Zoo mopey zebra

After seeing the slip-n-slide gorilla show off his beer gut and stocky thighs, we saw the parade of chimps all taking their dinner from one part of the enclosure to another. I don't think I've ever seen monkeys act in a group like this at a zoo before.

There was a toddler talking to a monkey who seemed to be delighting in talking back to her for long minutes. This was his last small outburst before the mom dragged said toddler to the next display and none of the rest of us seemed to inspire him to hoot.

I think this seal's head looks like a wet daschund.
LA Zoo swimming seal with doggie shaped head and big ol eyes

The flora also had its high points. This was a vibrant burst of color.
LA Zoo bouganvilla and greenery

I liked the texture of these palms framing the newly emerging bottlebrush flowers
LA Zoo flora with red fleurs

On the whole, I don't like graffiti because of the vastness of the damage it can do to someone's stuff, creating disproportionate, usually unreimbursed, harm. A second to wreck it, and all. However, every so often, I find graffiti I like. When I went to Italy, there was a graffiti agave cactus along the "Lovers Lane" walk, carved with years of names and initials and such. It was especially cool because it was pretty much the only mauled plant. The bamboo at the zoo were not as limited in extent, but still eye catching and mostly confined to a small area. [If you want to do graffiti, make the thing you're marking up more beautiful, or make sure your ugly scratches don't matter.] Really, if you're going to mark up something, a fast growing grass kind of tops the list.
LA Zoo bamboo with graffiti

The fencing at the entrance was an art bonanza. Kudos there too.
LA Zoo artful fencing with animals cut into metal

Saving the best for last though:
Who's got the biggest balls of them all?

When we first saw this guy, he was standing up, scratching his nads, and I thought they were something attached to his fur because the connection seemed sketchy for such a big dangling clump. On further reflection, they've got to be on some bouncy tether or be rather maladaptive to a guy moving by hopping. Here he is, a kangaroo showing off his large, hairy pair.
LA Zoo kangaroo airing out his hairy balls

And the red kangaroo across the way is similarly attired.
LA Zoo red kangaroo with big dangling balls

Upon reflection, the leaping lemur video wasn't as impressive as kangaroo balls, so no zaboomafoo for you. Go to the PBS show, they really leap like that in real life. Just not when my video is rolling.

Hope you enjoyed my day at the zoo too!


MickiP said...

Nice blog!

That Meerkat is taking its turn being the sentry ... guarding/lookout while the rest forage.

The "DLA" as you called him, is a male Gerenuk. They eat standing on their hind legs, and so the zoo also feeds them up high. Cool, huh?

As in the wild, chimps often follow each other ... when one moves in a troop, most others follow.

The giraffe in the other area has/had been pregnant ... they are probably just keeping a close eye on her and away from the others for now.

Anyway ... had a good time stopping by...

CrankyOtter said...

Thanks for clearing up the DLA name, I honestly didn't even think to look. I'm glad to hear the zoo feeds the animals in ways they enjoy.