Monday, March 2, 2009

You and Me Baby Ain't Nothin' But Mammals

We go to the zoo!

The Como Zoo is a most fantastic zoo in St. Paul.

Whenever I go, I require at least 45 minutes of Uninterrupted Primate Time. I swear I've thought about bringing a folding chair. This time, I'm glued to the orangutan enclosure, where a 3-month-old orangutan sits contentedly in a tiny tire toy, chewing on scraps of paper. The zookeepers have given each of the organutans a t-shirt. The patriarch of the family has torn his into pieces, and sleeps in a corner with the largest remaining scrap arranged over his head.

I read the information above the enclosure. Apparently female orangutans only have offspring once every 8 or 9 years, perhaps because their babies cling closely to them for the first 6 or 8 year of their lives.

As we watch, one of the adult females takes her t-shirt and, I'M NOT EVEN KIDDING, PUTS IT ON. Other than that time the DNB and I were in Boston and watched an ape fling poo against his glass enclosure, this is the highlight of my life's Primate Time.

Suddenly, the family patriarch rouses himself and tears across the enclosure, towards the two females and the baby. T-Shirt Ape, apparently just a family friend, quickly swings out of harm's way. The other female, with her baby close behind, clings to a hammock-like net. Barreling up to her, the patriarch does what I can only describe as ATTEMPT TO PROCREATE TOO SOON.

It's all highly educational.

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