Saturday, 30 November 2013

Jurassic park (Ok actually the Night Safari)

On Thursday night I decided to do the Night Safari.  Though I had heard good reviews, I was indifferent, thinking it was literally going to be the river safari but with different animals and at night time.  It sort of was, but it was pretty cool, and TERRIFYING. (sorry not many photos of animals here, my camera only takes good night shots of things that remain still, when taken from a tripod, so I only have imaged of blurred things)

I arrived about half an hour before it opened, so sat and had dinner before going in.  We were entertained by topless men breathing fire - so I was happy.

When you enter you have several options.  At the beginning there is the tram stop, which gives you a 40 minute tour of zoo and I assumed would be pretty pants and lazy.  Given that the queue for this was going nowhere fast, I asked a member of staff if I could walk round it instead, as they have several different walking trails, and they looked surprised but said yes and pointed me in the direction of the fishing cat trail.  I grabbed a map and headed off in that direction.

Within minutes, because everyone else was queueing for the tram, I was by myself, in the pitch dark, surrounded by shuffling noises, yelps and crickets.  I told myself to be brave and that it was perfectly safe otherwise they wouldn't have let me wander about on my own.  In the distance I could hear the lions roaring, and another horrible noise that I later discovered was the leopard coughing up a fur ball. I was petrified, but too proud to turn back, so soldiered on.  Every time I trod on a leaf or a stick I thought I was treading on escaped animals and had trouble stifling my yelps, but ended up shouting "oh fuck" when I was divebombed by a bat. 

Video of leopard after it was furballing - obviously not me talking 'look at it's head'

Because it is dark, and I was on my own and being quiet, the animals were much more relaxed.  They all seemed much more active than in the zoo, and there was an adorable inquisitive otter that kept swimming up to me and staring.  I started to relax too, thinking how cute the otters and the wild cats were, until I went up to an enclosure that contained Hyenas.  They are horrible creatures, they are all hunchbacked and to be honest everything I learned about them came from the Lion King, so I don't have a lot of respect for them.  They were prowling up and down and looked like they wanted to eat me, and because there's no cages, only ditches which you can't see in the dark, I was scared for my life and didn't spend too long looking at them.  

Several of the enclosures are also behind glass panels. Again, because it's dark, I had to physically touch the glass to make sure it was there, because sometimes I wasn't too sure!

a bit too much information (oh i am so hilarious)

I started to enjoy it more when I heard people behind me, and tried to subtly keep up with them so I didn't feel too scared on my own.

Like the river safari, they have enclosures you can walk into that contain animals.  I decided to be brave (well I had to wait for some strangers to come in with me) and headed into the bat enclosure (there's a big sign on the door that says not recommended if you're afraid of bats).  It actually wasn't that bad and the girl I entered with was more scared than me, which made me feel brave.  She actually screamed whereas I managed to keep my scream firmly in my throat.

They also had an enclosure with flying squirrels - this was fairly boring as they weren't very active and just sat on the tree.  However they don't look a thing like squirrels and are actually rather large.

The tiger was incredible- I think they have one way glass because the tiger came right up to the glass and walked past and couldn't be distracted by us (despite some annoying attempts from some tourists who I wanted to tell off but was too polite).  They truly are beautiful animals. 

Looking at the map, I realised there was a section that cannot be seen from walking around the zoo and can only be reached by tram, so I when I got back to the beginning I hopped on (no queue this time, get in!). This was actually a really good experience and much better than I thought it was going to be.  Not only does it give you a different view of the animals you have already seen, it takes you thorough areas you cannot access by foot, and some parts are actually like a safari - the road goes over a cattle grid and then you are in a field with free roaming animals (nothing dangerous though, stuff like buffalos, antelope and stuff).  It was really good.

After all that excitement I was happy to head home, but realised that the "creatures of the night" show was starting in 5 mins, so went to the ampitheatre and took my seat.  It was a really good show, the presenter was hilarious, and the hight light was the recycling otters.  You heard me right - recycling otters. They have some how managed to train three otters to come onto the 'stage', collect litter and put it into the correct recycling bin. AMAZING.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! Recycling otters! I wish I could teach my cat to do that! -x-


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