Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Wednesday 9th April 2003

On Saturday I went to London Zoo with Claire and Jim. The last time I visited was years ago but recently have done 'the Scotsman's Zoo', which consists of wandering around the fence peering at what can be seen from Regent's Park - it's not bad actually - Camels, Bongos, Wolves and, um, Cows are all visible for free. But of course, it's only when you pay you 12 to get in that you can see the monkeys - and it's them that people seem to be obsessed with these days - whether its Satanic looking midget primates, stealing food from each other and persecuting birds trapped in their cage, Chimps wanking, Tamarins picking their nose or Orang-Utangs baring their arse at you to make you go away (actually this happened to me at Dublin zoo, rather than London) monkeys (and by that inaccurate description I mean the whole gamut of primates, apes etc) are always the crowd puller.

And my favourite discovery on Saturday was a kind of monkey called a potto. These live in the bunker under some monkeys and rats called 'Moonlight World', which contains nocturnal animals, and is just slightly too dark inside. I knocked over a couple of children in there - not because I couldn't see them, but it was a good excuse. The Potto are nocturnal, furry strange bush baby type creatures, small with cartoon-cute faces and disproportionately long and skinny limbs. They move very slowly and gracefully and when clambering over each other they appear to be engaging in some slow motion capoeira, except not as wanky. There was one hanging upside down behind the glass, that unfurled itself, until its whole body was dangling from the roof, like a bat. Then, liked a stoned, but proficient, acrobat it spread each limb out in turn, stretching and turning, as though moving underwater. Finally after it had finshed doing this, it brought its whole body up again into a furry ball, still hanging from the roof.

My perennial favourites - apart from the urang-utans - were also in residence: Two beautiful tigers, but miserably imprisoned, and the penguins. The zoo however, seemed a bit tired - it lacked a certain buzz, despite the hoardes of ill-mannered and care-free children, whoses parents did not appear to mind as they dropped litter on the floor, feet away from rubbish bins or banged impatiently on the glass of whatever animal's attention they demanded. And the aforesaid tigers, other big cats and large animals are a depressing sight in their glum enclosures.

One of the things the zoo is lacking are elephants, removed recently after a keeper was crushed by one. That and that they don't have enough room for them - which, although I missed the grey leg-faced men, I found quite reassuring.

11 - posted at 13:41:17

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