Bless ’em All! Bless ’em All! The Long and the Short and the Tall!!
No – this has nothing to do with that Malaysian jungle story made famous by a British film of the same name in the 1960’s, but with the more civilized re-creation of wilderness by the hand of man in the Franklin Park Zoo (Jamaica Plains) amidst the largely urban jungle that is Boston today.
Further to my gorilla-centric tale the last time I wrote, this blog is devoted to other denizens that are, well, known for being long, or short or tall, er, very tall. Few readers, for instance, would have seen live a long, shaggy animal known for its love of the ants (no, that phrase is not a misprint for love of the arts, nor is it used in the cuddly sense.) For those tiny creatures are the source of pure culinary enjoyment – and earthly survival! – to the anteater.
In all its galumphing shambling glory, that animal is recognizable by its elongated snout, bushy tail, long fore-claws, and distinctively colored pelage. It feeds primarily on ants and termites, using its claws to dig them up and its long, sticky tongue to collect them. The giant kind can grow beyond 7 ft. in length from snout-tip to tail-end. Judge for yourselves from my brief video below:
Along the same enclosed gallery of live exhibits were various smaller animals, but I was particularly taken with a pair of lemurs, which were shy in the extreme and wouldn’t reveal themselves in full to show off their long attractive ringtails. Still their innate attractiveness is still apparent from my photo of their snuggling in a wooded hideaway. [Lemurs are endemic to the island of Madagascar, and thereby hangs a tale harking back to the time when a pet male lemur, who responded to the name of Jerry, was presented to my family by a ship’s captain and his wife returning to the mainland.
One evening they dropped by to bring Jerry over with the aim of asking us to give him a home, as they knew we were fond of animals. He looked like a small monkey, only he had a slightly bushy tail with dark rings around it.
Jerry soon became a part of the household and daily life and never failed to entertain everyone with his merry pranks and mischieveness.]
Leaving the gallery, we headed for the wide open spaces where we soon spotted the zoo’s tallest inhabitants – giraffes! They certainly had free reign of their extensive domain and standing at some 15 feet high had, I imagine, a panoramic view of the gaping mortals looking up at them with awe and admiration in the bright sunshine.
Not to be outdone by members of the animal kingdom on display, I asked our Bostonian hosts to stand long, short and tall – not necessarily in that order – for an iPad snapshot, as we headed for the exit after an exhilarating and entertaining day at the zoo.
Copyright © 2015 Azim Lewis Mayadas