austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Lovely Miss Kangaroo spoons on the sand

I got up to the zoo and renewed my membership. Unfortunately next year the Jurong Bird Park isn't included in the membership fee, but I've still got a week to over down there without paying extra. There was some glitch at the printer desk, and they had to do two cards for me, but only let me have one. They've been renovating heavily; in fact, what was formerly a nice empty patch is now a free-range orang utan exhibit. The barbary sheep are missing altogether, and they seem to have taken out one of the walkways I used for my usual wandering about.

On the way to the overlook for the cheetahs, zebras, and wild dogs, I noticed a Malayan water monitor lizard sunning itself and covering the thin sidewalk. A woman walked towards it, and didn't seem to notice; happily, a zoo with free-ranging exhibits is about the only place where you can say ``careful'' and have people stop and look cautiously around. As something which stopped the flow of foot traffic briefly, the lizard quickly became subject of a bunch of pictures, and a zoo attendant who happened to be nearby explained that it was just sunning itself, and would scoot off if it was touched. The meerkats have a new sponsor, too. Instead of the Housing Development Board, they're brought to us by HSBC.

While I brought my camera tripod and all my lenses and such, so I could take some pictures I wasn't able to try before, setting up a tripod and wide-angle lens is a solid way to advertise that you've spotted something interesting, which naturally draws crowds that block the view. The otters were neatly gathered around a grate. As I finally got a clear line of sight, something changed, and a wave of otters ran out from the spot. One woman visiting said, initially, ``Ew!'' at the otters, but when one of them propped himself up on a rock, did a flip, and swam upside-down to the far side of the pool, she changed her opinion.

While the Children's World exhibit had four guinea pigs last time I looked, today they had eight. You know guinea pigs. The small mammals exhibit is still being renovated, but they're putting together a rather impressive Komodo dragon exhibit. It's only half-finished but a beauty. In spite of all the new ``No Feeding'' signs there was a woman tossing something to the chimpanzees, although it turned out to be ice cubes. That certainly breaks the spirit of the rule, even if it isn't literally food. Also, all the raccoons were missing. Either they're getting an exhibit upgrade or they've taken offense at the new signs.

Trivia: Topics of Luigi Galvani's papers, before he studied electricity, included the examination of birds' kidneys. Source: An Entertainment for Angels, Patricia Fara.

Currently Reading: An Empire of Wealth, John Steele Gordon.


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