Saturday, April 17, 2010

Singapore - Zoo and Night Safari

The Singapore Zoo is amazing! We got a late start to the morning between Mary's blogging and Josh trying to figure out how to get a fresh prescription for the Travelers' Diarrhea medicine, plus the hour and a half on public transit getting there meant we didn't arrive until 2 PM and were more than a little rushed to see all that we wanted by 6 PM.

Right as we came in, we got our photo taken with a beautiful red macaw.

From Singapore


The unique thing about the Singapore Zoo is that most of the animals are free ranging, presumably kept near their plaques by appealing habitat and meals. The primates were, of course, the main attraction, with a large number of Orang Utans, and an array of other primates represented. One of the Orang Utans in particular was quite the performer, smiling, dancing, and playing dead for his trainer and a treat. The others looked like they understood what was expected of them, but didn't care to be suck-ups.

From Singapore


From Singapore


From Singapore


This one seems to think he is God. And he was basically right over the pathway and could have dropped on passers-by, if he'd wanted to.

From Singapore


Mary's favorite of the other primates was the cotton-topped tamarin.

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We also enjoyed the white tigers. I've heard of swimming cats before, but I must say it was really something else to see a tiger swimming right there in front of me! It made us wonder why we tried to see tigers in the wild in India. Sure, the idea of observing the animals in the wild is great, but I think in real life, that is better left to the Planet Earth production crew. The zoo is such a better experience, and much less disruptive to the animal population, I would think.

From Singapore


The frog exhibit was wonderful, especially the Malaysian Horned Frogs (Toads?), which were incredibly hard to spot on account of their amazing camouflage. See if you can spot all three frogs in this photo:

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Around when we got to the chimpanzees, it started absolutely pouring down rain, along with a tremendous thunderstorm. This should not have been a surprise, but of course our rain gear was back at the hostel. We waited a while for it to let up before pressing on in a not so light drizzle. We stopped off briefly to laugh at the proboscis monkeys with their incredibly ugly noses.

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In the "Fragile Forest" exhibit, which we think is normally primarily a butterfly exhibit, we got to see some bats up close and personal, along with several kinds of tropical bird, and a family of sloths. The butterflies were not to be seen, probably hiding somewhere from the lethal threat of raindrops!

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We mostly skipped the Tropical Crops section, though we would have liked to have seen it and read all the signs, we just didn't have time.

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On the way out we passed quickly through the familiar animals of Africa.

After a minimalist dinner of fast food to tide us over, we went next door to the Night Safari. They had the jungle attractively lit with many electric lights and we went around observing various nocturnal animals going about their nocturnal business. This was not really as cool as it sounds, as the animals were hard to see if they weren't just hiding in the shadows, and many of them were still doing the same things we've seen similar animals do by day: the big cats were lying around waiting to be fed, some of the hyenas were doing the same while others were walking the moat clearly looking for a narrow spot to cross over and catch some man-meat, while the otters were looking at us begging for handouts just like in the day time, and the grazers were grazing. However, the flying squirrels and slow loris (a venomous mammal, if you can believe it!) were pretty neat. But not really neat enough to keep the whole Night Safari from seaming like an ill-conceived gimmick.

From Singapore


On the way back at the change from bus to MRT, we managed to find a nice selection of cheap local eats for a late dinner.

There are more pretty pictures of more kinds of animals in the gallery.

From Singapore

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