Saturday, 9 June 2012

Someone Told Me It's All Happening...

OK, I admit it.  "Corstorphine Haze" wasn't entirely accurate.  Out in the real world, the rain in Edinburgh was inconstant enough for The Other Half and I to catch more than a few glimpses of the inhabitants of Reekie's mammal-ghetto, even if most of them involved the creatures in question huddling in their rooms.

Here's a selection of what was encountered:

A L'Hoest's monkey, who I've photographed mainly because I couldn't find any of the Jimmy Saville tamarins (note: may not be actual species name).

A selection of photos of the giant pandas, which were actually the main reason why we went to the zoo in the first place (having had a good look around last year).

Sweet-Sweet was eating:

and Sunshine was sleeping.

I'd been led to understand that those are the only things these creatures do in any case, but The Other Half swears Sunshine was wandering around before I got around to looking at him.  Maybe he pretends to be asleep every time people show up, so he doesn't have to field questions about what exactly all this was about:

Whilst we're on the subject, here is the first ever appearance of The Other Half on this 'ere blog; I persuaded her that I was only putting this picture online to showcase the panda...

Poor, trusting The Other Half.  Onwards now, to the rhinos:

Not pictured: the constant streams of bubbles as the rhinos took turns farting in the bath.  At least, I hope it was farting, the number of turds floating in their outside pool makes me wonder, and not in a good way.

Let's raise the tone a little and bring in the world's happiest-looking tapir:

Just look at that guy.  He's beaming! Possibly because he's a happy parent, though the young 'un was in an enclosure too far away to be photographed.  Trust me, though, Tapir Jr. was very cute.

This is a goral.  I know!  You don't know what a goral is!  Well, it's this thing, right here:

Below is the best picture I could get of the giant anteater.  For such a big animal, it was surprisingly animated.  I think it might have been feeding time, considering how often it was sniffing the door to its enclosure.  Alternatively, it might have been hoping to pick the lock with it's ridiculously long tongue, but I might just be thinking of that because we watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes yesterday. [1]

It was around this point that the rain slackened off, which meant the African Plains exhibit was merely painfully ill-described, rather than actively offensive in its inaccuracy.  Here we see some zebras (possibly the homosexual ones BT and I saw back in 2008), and some lesser kudu (not that greater kudu look any different to me).

Here is an Asiatic lion, who was far more sensible than us, and chose to sleep away the rainstorms.

Rockhopper penguins!  The world's only flightless bird to go punk!

This is a binturong, which I thought looked a tiny bit like a raccoon but apparently isn't even in the same family.  The Other Half was convinced she could predict its pacing, which seemed to follow a pattern, but ultimately she came up short.  You can't control the binturong, girl!  It goes where it wants.

Here are some pictures of a pair of leopards, to remind you people of the face of the enemy:

but this isn't a leopard, it's a jaguar.  You might not notice the difference, but if so: you're a racist.

Time for some sun bears, which are probably my favourite animals in the whole zoo.  On this occasion, one bear had torn off the largest remaining branch on its tree (still attached in this picture, bottom right), then spent some time sitting on the grass, trying to work out what to do with it.  Eventually, it decided to clamp it in its jaws and throw its head from left to right, hoping to tear the bark off it and get to the delicious grubs inside.

Instead, all it managed was to whip its mate in the face a few times, and cause a fight.  In fairness, that's happened to me a few times with childproof caps...

Hello, big dumb bird!

My spiritual guide!

A pygmy hippo and her child.  The father was some distance away, wallowing through mud.  Typical, eh?

Actually, this reminds me of my favourite Edinburgh zoo story.  Back in 2005, or so, I was atop Corstorphine Hill at the pygmy hippo enclosure, watching the two animals they had in there.  I looked down to read the plaque describing the creatures, and it told me "These creatures prefer a life of solitude in the wild".  I looked up, and found that whilst I'd been reading, the two hippos had turned their backs on each other, as if desperate to pretend that they were the only ones there.

Up next: dwarf mongooses!  The Other Half loves mongooses, mainly because she despises snakes, and sees these little critters as her natural allies.  I'm certainly in no place to judge, given my championing of spiders for no better reason than the casualties they inflict on those villainous hexapods.

This is, like, a coulroudoi, or summat,  I can't remember how to spell it, and both Google and Wikipedia have failed me utterly. It's clearly pretty cute, though, especially the tiny child:

And finally tonight, a golden lion tamarin.  Purely, of course, because redheads are awesome.

[1] My quick review: it's really aggravating that in 2011 people are still producing science fiction films that require their characters be too stupid to live, and it amuses me that post Stargate: Atlantis, David Hewlett seems to be carving out a career in the most niche-y of niche roles: man threatened by science experiment gone wrong.

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