Monday, October 1

The Circus at the Bangkok Zoo

Zebra eating bread that Miss Lee threw at giraffes' head

I'm not a big fan of zoos.  But the Bangkok zoo is a 'must see' attraction because it's really more of an outdoor park for people and wild animals.  I took Timmy, Katrina and Miss Lee to the zoo.  I've checked 'Safari' off my bucket list because we had direct access to animals that most people never see, even on a safari.  We saw animals from every continent and I'd say we covered 4 of the African 'big 5' in one afternoon.

There were many food stalls and some sold loaves of bread.  I assumed that the bread was available for tourists to have a picnic by the lake.  No, the fresh bread was for the animals.  I don't think Miss Lee has ever been to a zoo.  Certainly no one ever told her "Don't feed the animals."  She literally ran for the bread and her first stop was the water enclosure.

Komodo Dragon on raft, surveying the buffet 

The 'water enclosure' housed the komodo dragons, (also known as the komodo monitor lizard) and prehistoric fish. So we're all clear, 'water enclosure' as defined at the Bangkok zoo, is a small lake where zoo goers can rent paddle boats to get as close as humanly possible to the water creatures. 

Years ago, I saw 13 komodo monitor lizards behind my hotel on Kho Phgan Ngan island.  They ranged in size from 2 feet to 8 feet.  They are huge and appear to be massive, slow, dumb, super-sized geckos.  At the time, I thought they ate flies and ferns.

Since then, I learned that the komodo monitor lizard is venomous and has 60 serrated teeth.  They are able to sprint at 12 mph and dive 15 ft under water.  The komodo monitor lizard isn't picky and eats just about anything, lizards, snakes and even smaller Komodo dragons.  Other menu items include birds, monkeys, goats, horses, water buffalo, and humans (all of which are readily available at zoos). 
I used the axiomatic method to devise the following Euclidean proof to determine the relative danger of the Komodo Dragon:
          Carnivore + (Massive body x Pea Sized Brain) = Certain Death for Victim

Here is a video of tourists in a paddle boat in the 'water enclosure' with the komodo dragons.  I was hoping the people in the paddle boat were security.  Nope, those people paid to slowly paddle around murky water filled with large, venomous lizards.

Frankly, the venomous Komodo Dragons weren't the worst creatures in that water.  What was worse, simply because it was so icky, was the albino, prehistoric, bottom dwelling, tuna fish.
What are those things?  One of the fish had things growing out of its face.  It was horrible.

I was so totally disgusted, I made Miss Lee move on to the next exhibit.  The giraffes and zebras were in the next enclosure and we quickly became the exhibit.  A group of children, presumably on a field trip, stopped and took pictures of us.  Miss Lee began throwing large pieces of her bread at the Giraffe's head.  I couldn't get her to stop.  Her aim was terrible.  She missed the giraffe altogether.  Finally, I picked some grass, and held out my hand and the giraffe gently bent his head over, stuck out his tongue and took the grass.  Miss Lee went wild.  I then explained that giraffe are herbivores and don't eat bread.  Then I went on to explain, that wild animals, should never be fed, even in the zoo.  She pulled out more bread (how much did she buy?) and gave some to Timmy and Katrina and encouraged them both to climb the fence around the giraffe and zebras.  You can hear her in the video saying "good boy" to Timmy.  My babysitter, is encouraging my son, to climb over a fence into a cage with wild animals. 
It didn't stop there.  The guy that's in charge of the hippopotamus enclosure, came over and gave Timmy and Katrina bananas and taro root so that they could feed the hippopotamus.  A group of people gathered around and took pictures of my kids feeding the hippopotamus.  

We had a great day at the zoo.  I have many more photos.  I have a picture of a sun bear that looks like I was only three feet away - because I was three feet away.  I have an awesome shot of a meerkat.  But how can a meerkat possibly compare to a picture of a seal from four inches away?  Yes, we pet the seals. 

It was a bit of a circus the day we went to the zoo. But I suspect the Bangkok zoo is like that every day.

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