London Zoo is a gorgeous day out in Regents Park in the Autumn sun when the crowds of summer have died down. I love animals and I do hear you if you think that all zoos are completely inhumane and cruel. I would love nothing more than to see these animals in their natural habitats. Most have been bred in captivity. I was extremely curious about what London Zoo was actually like – I haven’t been since I was really little (apparently I wouldn’t get off the bouncy castle last time – this seems to get brought up quite often and I mean realistically if there had been a bouncy castle there again I expect we would have had the same problem). I hope you enjoy my Attenborough attempts anyway.
The highlight of my day and the loves of my life, giraffes are my favourite animals so we made a beeline straight for them, twice. Go to the giraffe afternoon tea talk if you can. They have three female giraffes in London, the oldest of which is 13 years old and about 3 metres tall. Giraffes apparently have the same number of bones in their necks as a human and a kick can break a lion’s skull so they have few natural predators – who knew! You can actually pre-book a private giraffe feeding experience here which I can only imagine is wonderful. They seem to have a lot of space and a beautiful house for when it gets cold. I am however still desperate to visit Giraffe Manor in Nairobi.
These zebras are utterly beautiful. I was a bit concerned about the space they were living in – it looks small, bland and uninteresting to me.
The history of penguins at London Zoo seems quite a sad one, the original penguin pool, of grand art deco design but no longer used, thankfully, still occupies a spot within the zoo. When this was designed the penguins weren’t understood well enough to realise that this structure was unsuitable for them and that they needed deeper water and more space. They seem much happier in their new pool and this is supposedly the largest colony (is that the right word?!) of penguins in the UK. Fun fact, the black fur on their backs and white fur on their bellies serves a real camouflage purpose. Whales prey on them and if the penguin swims above the whale and it looks up, the white stomach blends in with the daylight. If the penguin swims below and the whale looks down, the darker fur on the back blends in with the sea floor. Go to the talks, you find out things like this! Serious couple goals in the photo below.
Tigers and Birds
The tigers were pretty elusive and camera shy but seemed to have lots of space to hide in and a very lush and interesting enclosure which was nice to see. Can anyone identify this beautiful bird for me?
A real effort has been made with the details surrounding the lion enclosure. A word of advice – skip the masala fries and the onion bhajis sold by the cafe next to this enclosure, they weren’t overly impressive. The lions did seem to have space and seemed curious and in good health. We actually did manage to get this close to them without a zoom.
Other new pals include this curious monkey, apathetic Komodo Dragon (apparently hunts by waiting for its bite to become infected and then following the injured prey around until it takes effect – lovely), and very cool camels. We also ventured into the reptile house which I did not enjoy at all because they scare me. As I’m sure most of you will know this is featured in the first Harry Potter film though, so it is worth a look even if you share my fear! I would have loved to see the gorillas but none were out by the time we made it round to them.
What are you up to in London this autumn?