Friday, November 9, 2007

Fukuoka Zoo

When the two of us went to the Fukuoka temple, Amy and I ended up having to take turns watching our son while the other was going through the temple. I went through first so that Amy could feed Cash and put him down for a little nap. When I got out, Amy went in, and Cash and I went looking for trouble. Luckily, we found that the zoo in Fukuoka is literally right next door to the temple.

The zoo only cost 400 yen ($3.60) and has an enormous botanical garden attached to it. Cash and I decided that we would stick to the zoo, since we only had a little bit of time. The quality of the zoo was just a little sad. Some of the smaller animals were in small, wet, concrete cages with the occasional log or rope strung across it. Larger animals like the great cats, birds of prey, and African animals had very nice facilities though. We saw some animals that I had never even heard of before (and I watch Discovery).
The most amazing thing about the Fukuoka zoo was that there wasn't really any separation between the cages and you. I was literally an arm's length away from a 500 pound tiger that paced beautifully in front of me. Cash stared at everything, but he showed particular fascination with the birds of prey. He whimpered when I started to walk away from the Kites, so we ended up lingering there for around eleven minutes. He loves birds.

We ended the visit with a stop by the monkeys because I figured that Cash would get a laugh out of them. He did, but it ended up being more of a treat for me. Remember that I said that you are ridiculously-close to the animals cages. The monkeys would come right up to the edge of there cages and stare at you or climb around you. The zookeepers had posted signs that said not to feed the monkeys anything (complete with a cartoon of a scowling monkey holding an aching belly), but there didn't seem to be anything that said not to touch them. I reached my arm out to wave at one of the Diana Monkeys and it reached its hand out too! The monkey gave me a high five! Everyone around us was saying "Tugoi!" (cool), and Cash was giggling. The same thing happened with the Lion-tailed Macaques. The monkeys loved to slap my hand and tug on my fingers. I was very careful not to reach too far, because I didn't want them to be able to pull my hand into their mouths. The whole thing was really neat. I couldn't stop laughing.

We left the monkeys and headed for the exit down a long set of stairs. I guess that the whole day had taken a toll on Cash because by the time we reached the bottom, he was fast asleep. It was the first time he had ever fallen asleep upright in my arms. Good good day.

Cash and me in front of a Japanese native animal called the Tanuki or "Raccoon Dog" with a close up below that. This is one of the unfortunate cages that was really just concrete.

The whole time we were there, this tiger just paced back and forth in front of us. And by "in front of us" I mean "so-close-that-I-had-to-remind-myself-
that-I-could- lose-a-hand-if-I-tried-to-touch-it,-but-when-

Yes, the monkey washed his hand after handling the human. Don't worry about his safety.

Some animals I had never even heard of before:

This is called a Tapir. It's like a mix between a baby hippo and a baby elephant, but it's fully-grown. I'm pretty sure Tigers eat them.

These are both of a strange animal called a Biturang. It looks like a bushy-tailed badger, but it moves like a monkey. Tigers could eat that too.

I forget, is it "Tiger" or "Tigar" or "Tigger (I saw that one too)"?

Here is an Emperor Penguin (I had heard of it before, I'm just including it with animals I hadn't heard of before because I have never really seen one on real life, and that's close enough). Yeah, Tigers would so eat that, it's just too much effort to go all the way to Antarctica for them.



Larissa said...

That is so awesome you could get so close to the monkeys! Glad you kept all your fingers!

Larissa said...

Hey, AMY AND FOX! you've been tagged! Take a look at my blog and see how. :D You both have to do it (: