Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Animal Mania

We are trying to tie up loose ends before we leave Peru and that includes hitting some sites in Lima we haven't yet visited. Thus, the last two weekends have been spent amongst the animals at the 2 "zoos" near our home. I say 'zoos' because one is an actual zoo and the other is a bunch of cages on the campus of a catholic school. Really. Right outside the grammar school classroom windows are the puma, bear and panther cages. Across from the main auditorium are pens of goats, llamas, alpaca and emu. In the center of the campus is a fenced area with ducks, geese, caged birds, cabybaras (world's largest rodent), deer, a monkey island, more llamas, vicunas and some sort of rodent - called a ronsoco - that looks a lot like the mythical jackalope, sans horns of course. And, on the main road leading in and out of the school is cage after cage of exotic birds - toucans, macaws, parrots and a bunch I didn't recognize and don't remember the names of now.

The main appeal of the zool (zoo school) is that you can feed the animals - well, not the pumas, bears or panthers, but everything else is fair game, no pun intended, and they expect it too. The zool animals were not shy in the least and Caleb had a blast throwing bread at anything that moved. The emu were very aggressive, however, and I was sure wouldn't be able to distinguish between squishy day old hot dog bun and squishy two year old flesh.

Apparently the zool is open daily, but during the week can only be visited after classes have let out for the day. I'm a pretty relaxed parent, and while I appreciate the concept of bringing the field trip to the students and thus eliminating the hassle of buses and permission slips, I'm not sure I'm relaxed enough to send my kid to school just feet away from carnivorous, predatory animals.

spotted jungle panthers sunning themselves - notice the "highly secure" double
chain link fence barrier separating them from us

monkey island

feeding the geese

capybara, world's largest rodent - this one was the size of a labrador -
and clearly the inspiration for the ROUS's (rodents of unusual size) in
S. Morgenstern's The Princess Bride

keeping our distance from the emu


...and the eerily similar jackalope

petting the goats - everyone's favorite zoo animals


Ilene said...

I guess the carnivors keep the kids from playing hookie.

Grayson Family said...

Jackalope, very funny. They do look a lot alike. However, I am with you on the carnivores. Great for the zoo. Not so great with kids.

Jessica said...

Who knew there were such crazy animals in the world?? That rodent is seriously upsetting.

dana said...

You are so spot on...ROUSes for sure.
And the panther cage is unbelievable. Maybe we'll have to hit up this spot while we're there....

Jake said...

Thank you for the Princess Bride reference! Love it...

Lauren in GA said...

Pumas, Panthers and Bears, OH MY!
And right outside a classroom?
That is amazing!

Just knowing that big capybara is a rodent kind of gives me the willies.

I think the little ronsocos are pretty cute, though even though they are rodents, too.

heh, heh, heh I love Ilene's comment

Melissa said...

wow what a cool zoo! Love th Rodant of Unusale Size :) ROUS :)

Adrianne said...

I saw that same animal at the estancia Saturday!! Here they call is a Mara or a liebre patagonica. South Americans are weird

Mindy said...

that is too funny. as a teacher, i would enjoy animals right outside the classroom to use as bribery or threats to do their work. lol
so...ashley and i are trying to coordinate getting to caracas. what do you know about the very va va voom country of venezuela? other than none of us will fit in since we have not had plastic surgery.

diane said...

So cool to get a glimpse of your life. I may have nightmares about that rodent!!


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