All Creatures Great & Small

We’ve seen quite a bit of wildlife over the past couple of days.  Yesterday we went to the Zoo.  I’ve still not really made my mind up about this.  On the one hand, it’s a great idea for raising awareness and funds for conservation projects and a fair number of the animals would probably not survive in the wild as they have injuries, such as the bald eagles with damaged wings that just wouldn’t be able to look after themselves or hunt properly.  It’s just that, well, on the other hand the animals in the zoo just look so depressed.  They’re usually not in their natural environment with its accompanying geography or climate.  A bit like me actually (but I’m pretty happy about my situation).

Today, however, we went for a cycle around our local wildlife refuge which is an expanse of 9,250 acres that sits on a very narrow strip of land along the coast.  This gave us the opportunity to see snakes (at least three different types, including the venomous Cottonmouth Snake), birds of prey and turtles, lots and lots of turtles (Yellow-Bellied Sliders, in fact).  No matter how small, I think it’s still more special to see real wild animals scuttling past and surprising you than seeing even the most majestic elephant or giraffe that’s been ushered into an small enclosure to meet you.  Especially when you’re not entirely sure whether or not the snake blocking your path is the venomous one you’ve been warned about.  There is nothing quite so heartwarming as seeing a family of turtles sunbathing together on a riverbank.  There’s also nothing quite so pants-filling as standing in a wooden shelter in the woods reading about the dangerous feral hogs when you hear a loud crashing nearby.  Even if it does only turn out to be a squirrel (I swear it was wearing clogs and tapdancing on the roof).

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