“Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings.” – Evan Esar

On Sunday, I finally made it to the Edinburgh Zoo. After talking about going there for weeks, it actually took place which was fairly exciting for me since it’s been awhile since I’ve been to the zoo; in fact I can’t even remember the last time.

Anyway, my flatmate, her baby and I all set out for the zoo Sunday afternoon. We spent about twenty minutes on the bus traveling there and there were these two really cute kids on the bus that were obsessed with the baby. They moved closer so they could make faces at her to try and get her to smile. It was adorable.

Okay, so the zoo is situated basically in a suburb of Edinburgh and on one side of the entrance is a Holiday Inn and on the other side is private homes. The only reason it stands out is because of the sign on the building, otherwise I would never have known it was the zoo.

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Now I’m sure most of my darling readers have been to a zoo before so I’ll pass on what animals I saw, how cute they were, and how it seems slightly inhumane to have these large animal such as the big cats penned up in such a small cages even though I guess they are safer than they would be in the wild since most of those animals in the zoo are endangered except for the really cute ones that people really want to see. Except for the koalas, they are super cute! So cuddly, although I hear they aren’t as friendly as they look.

The very first thing that happens to me at the zoo is that as we are walking I hear this sort of drip noise followed by a plop. I look over my shoulder and on my nice black coat is a huge white splotch. Yes, that’s right, about five minutes into my visit I get pooped on by a bird. This looks like it’s going to be a pleasant day. Luckily I’m traveling with a mom and a baby, so out come the baby wipes. Not only does the poop come off, but my jacket smells fresh and delightful … no worse for wear.

Later we are looking at this black leopard and it is the handsomest cat you have ever seen. The thing is huge and you can just see the tension in its muscles as it prowls along the glass cage where there are tons of tourists staring. It obviously doesn’t like to be stared at as it jumps against the glass at the people causing them to jump back, scream and do all sorts of foolish type things. As I am watching this, and feeling bad for the poor thing, I hear a woman joking about how nice a bag and a pair of shoes that the hide would make. Some of you have experienced the animosity I can direct with only my eyes when I am unimpressed, it’s not pleasant. Well, this lady got a full dose. She said this right after I had finished reading the sign saying that there were only about 200 or so left in the wild. I just wish I could have put her in the cage to see how she liked it.

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On a lighter note, at the zoo there are Pygmy Hippos. These guys are much, much smaller than the size you think of when you think of Hippos. At least, to me they were although it totally makes sense that they would be because they are called Pygmy Hippos which in Greek mythology referred to a race of dwarfs. Off topic. Anyway, these cute little guys couldn’t help but remind me of that commercial about the North American House Hippo: lives in walls, makes nests in warm places, only comes out at night. Anyway, I tried explaining the whole thing to my flatmate but lets be honest an obscure Canadian commercial from concerned children’s advertisers isn’t the easiest thing to explain.

The zoo is built on a hill so the whole trip was spent pushing the baby’s pram up this fairly steep hill. I don’t think we made it to the top because it was too tiring. Although, there was some very nice people that offered to help us, which was very thoughtful. However, it was super cold and windy so we opted to just head back down instead. But the view was fabulous!

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Finally, on the way back down we stopped at the sea lion exhibit. This is of note because my engineering nerdiness came out and I had to stop and read the sign about the special design of the water filtration and pumping of the pool in this exhibit. The water is continuously pumped out of the pool to an upper pond where a reed bed filtration takes place with a man-made marsh and then flows down into a second layer of tanks before returning to the pool. Apparently this system has drastically reduced the amount of cleaning necessary for the system as well as conserving water. Very cool engineering in action.

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March 18, 2008. Edinburgh.

3 Comments

  1. Jenny replied:

    Youtube doesn’t care what country you’re from, House Hippos are for everyone:

  2. edinburghlook replied:

    On a lighter note, at the zoo there are Pygmy Hippos.

    I must look for them next time I go. I love wandering round the zoo. (I have an annual membership, which takes all the pressure of thinking you have to see everything away: I just go when I feel like it, wander, look, take photos, and come away again happy.)

    Isn’t the black jaguar gorgeous! I saw him in direct sunlight last time I was there, and you could see the jaguar markings on his coat, only darkened.

  3. ag replied:

    The black jaguar was pretty much the most gorgeous and fascinating creature I saw at the zoo. Also the one I felt the most bad for. The poor thing just looked so fed up with people bothering him.

    The only thing I wish I had gotten to do was get the view from the hill top. We were only three quarters of the way up but the view of the city was fabulous.

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