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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Zoo Stories

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It was a cool morning, with hopes of sun in the sky, and hopes (ours) that animals were romping about their “habitats” (cages). The Prague Zoo was having its Spring opening day, more or less (though it’s open year round), and as many animals had their outdoor entrances open as was possible, I suppose.

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Prague’s zoo has a great layout: hilly, with good schemes for the animal types (hill-side habs for mountain goats; spacious aviary cage for boyds; island environment for no-swim monkeys), lots of food and beer stalls for humans (WCs, too), plenty of benches for rest which are nicely placed, and lots of indoor exhibits that replicate indigenous environments.

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Asia and I looked at the zoo map (the people counter ticking off turnstile entrants one per second, 3,800+ and counting), sort of thinking about a route plan, then 86-ing that for a walkabout, staring with birds. A few parots and macaws hung out on their branches; lots of owls stared at us with well-qualified aloofness.

I wanted to see the apes, but for some reason (weather, as I remember), sent us scuttling around that area for the Big Cat house. Tigers lolled in their cages; jumping rats jumped from branch to branch; a twelve foot python had the hiccups.

When we left the cathouse (tee-hee), the sun was out, the heavy clouds dispersed, and the air much warmer. Time for a beer!!

We made our way around and up-up-up the hill to the far side of the zoo, where an African Plain setting has been built for zebras, gazelles, and giraffs. We liked the giraffs, who seemed to know humans were watching them, so began to parade for us.

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The most lively animals were (a tie) between the Polar Bears and the Penguins. At the Polar Bear habitat, three fury mates ran around between two habitats, one with a waterfall and pool. They jumped in the water, played with the rubber ball, and seemed really friendly.

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At the Penguin island, the little fuckers swam around furiously, jumping in and out of the pool, and pecked at the window, where dogs (people can bring their dogs to the zoo, here: 20Kc each) licked the glass and barked. Up close, the Pengies’ feathers are so densely packed that I don’t think water has much chance to reach their skin.

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Asia liked the flamingoes, whom she said were great at standing on one leg (like a yoga “tree” pose). My response to the flamingoes?: Smacznego! (good appetite! … took me 20mins to find the proper Polish spelling).

Above all, the zoo is a great way to spend a day (day by day) with your best friend.

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Kocham ciÄ™, moja lisiczka.

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