We (Tom, Maxi, and I) went to Toronto Zoo on my last full day. Maxi liked the snowleopards most. I'm wild about otters.
I wasted lots of film on Toronto Zoo's otters. The male was great fun - very
active, but the female appeared to be suffering from repetitive behaviour
(swimming around and around the top pool).
Until a few years ago, the male had apparently been brought out to meet the
public, and he was still clearly of the opinion that the humans on the other
side of the glass were interesting; sadly, when they introduced the female,
the male started taking arbitrary dislike to some people on introduction, so
the zoo had to stop that.
A nice shot which needs cropping properly. Standing otter. A few seconds prior to this, the otter had jumped and was
dangling from a branch. That's fairly unusual for an otter - they can only jump a few inches, what with their short legs and all. Too bad I wasn't pointing the camera at the time - a photo of that would have been spectacular.
This was fun: I put my cup down to try and take better pictures of the male,
and he apparently decided that he wanted my cup, and spent five minutes or so
trying to dig through the glass, during which time I took these photos. One of
the young gorillas seemed similarly interested, surprisingly enough, but I
didn't take photos of the gorilla.
This is part of what I interpreted as the female's repetitive behaviour
- twisting in the inner pool after feeding, like a furry catherine wheel, and
occasionally stopping to stretch out in the water and scratch at her tail's
base. She was also tracing the perimeter of her outside pool, but didn't seem
very interested in what she was doing. twistyottertwistyotter2twistyotter3 [Update: I saw the sea otters at Monterrey Bay Aquarium doing something like this spinning trick, and they seemed quite happy with things.]
Shot with both otters. Perhaps the female's not as
distressed as I thought, if she's interacting with the male. Hard to tell though.
This eagle was funny. It was stalking up and down
the side of its cage. Initially, I thought it was suffering repetitive
behaviour like the female otter, until I noticed the poor ptarmigan (or
whatever) in the adjoining cage, hiding in the foliage, and clearly not happy
about being next to a hungrily prowling eagle.
I attended ConFurence.. um, 9 or 10 in San Diego. Happily, the hotel had a
legal restriction which meant that all the R-rated stuff wasn't on general
display, which meant that I had a much nicer time than I would otherwise have
Jim Groat Jim's a barrel of laughs. I particularly
favour his wonderfully scruffy art, rather than his polished work, but he's
usually good for a silly topic. I may gain permission to post `Leaning Tower
of Panda' on here sometime.
I phoned my uncle and aunt (Richard and Dee Sheppard) just before leaving the UK, and
found out that my father's parents' daughter's husband's parents' daughter and
her husband had moved from Felsted in Essex to Oz, and that they ran a
kangaroo sanctuary near Perth. Needless to say, I had to go and see them. They
were very friendly and hospitable, with a particularly toothsome line in
scones. Mmmmm. Their roos were very friendly and gentle, and they had lovely
Lots of roo pictures! All but the last of these are of a couple of small roos
in the first enclosure we went into. One had a gammy foot, and couldn't be
released. The other was his buddy, and they liked each other so much that both
I think I must have been pretty well travelled-out when I arrived in Durban,
because I was twitchy all the time, and itching to leave. It could have been
something to do with not having had much time on my own for so long.
Karalien says I don't need to apologise, which is very gracious of her.
Most of this was taken on the way to a casino in the province just above
Kwazulu-natal, or at the casino. The casino itself was fun - the meals we had
were great, and the kids' area was fun too with its splat-the-crocodile game.
I wasn't so impressed with the slot-machines, although Karalien managed to
SeaWorld Durban was lots of fun, as was wandering along the seafront a day or
two earlier. I just wish I'd not eaten the meal at `The World's Worst
Restaurant' - not because it wasn't excellent, but because the food at the
market was just so much more interesting.