zoo bunnies

We (my gf and I) went to the zoo last week, as a spontaneous cloudy day thing to do. It was the end of the afternoon, and so many of the zoo occupants were sleeping out of sight. Plus they seem to be in the process of shifting some of the primates to different quarters, so some of my favorites weren't visible. Some highlights: beautiful weird fish in the aquarium section; the male lion actually awake and moving; a pissed-off looking jaguar; the flock of flamingoes. The zoo always makes me kind of sad -- ours isn't the worst, but it isn't the best, either, in terms of habitat space and so forth. Yet there is something wonderful about being so close to them, so different from tv or books. Smell is a big part of that -- I've heard about some museums trying to add smells into historical exhibits but the audience couldn't take it (imagine, the smells of the Vikings! etc) -- walking near the lions, tigers, jaguars, panthers, ocelots, your monkey brain suddenly says "ack! smells like big dangerous cat!" at some deep biological level, very different from your eyes which say "here are the lions safely separated from us by plexiglass".

But the other thing about our visit that keeps coming back to my thoughts was that we saw lots and lots of rabbits. They were out in the pedestrian areas, inside all sorts of different animal habitats, basically everywhere. They're small enough to squeeze in and out of the animal enclosures -- I'm sure that more than a few wind up as a big cat snack. But since many of the zoo occupants are mostly vegetarian, it's sort of like an all-you-can-eat buffet for the rabbits -- some vegetables here, hay or grass somewhere else. Watching them hanging out with the orangutans and elephants made me wonder about how each pereceives the other, these species that otherwise wouldn't be coexisting. I'm sure when the zoo bunnies meet up with regular city bunnies they have plenty of tales to tell: "Yeah, you think dodging cars and dogs is tough? try outrunning an okapi."