Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Smithsonian National Zoo, Chapter 7

The large primate house was a snoozer.  Literally, all the Western Lowland Gorillas and Borneo Orangutans were sleeping.  Not much to see there.  And down at the "Think Tank/end of the O-Line (Orangutan aerial apparatus)" the glass enclosing the Allen's Swamp Monkey's made photography prohibitive.

Well, there was one large primate who emerged...
While the National Zoo's Reptile House is not as nice as my favorite in Philadelphia, it isn't without its moments.  It certainly does provide visitors with a wide range of Reptiles and Amphibians to experience.  On one really fundamental level, I just wish they'd take a moment to clean the damned glass!  Seriously, can it be that difficult?  Even if you don't want to take a photograph, just observing the animals is obstructed by smudges and deposits from dried water droplets.  
American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis
But I digress.The tour begins with an American Alligator sunbathing amid dandelions and violets in his habitat outside of the actual structure and then inside to see from the many this representative core: A Cuban Crocodile, a Fiji Island Iguana, Boa Constrictor, Grand Cayman Iguana, Australian Snake-necked Turtle, Green Salamander, Sambava Tomato Frog, Vietnamese Mossy Frog.
Cuban Crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer
Fiji Island Iguana, Brachylophus bulabula
Boa Constrictor--disambiguous
Cayman Island Iguana, Cyclura lewisi
Australian Snake-necked Turtle, Chelodina longicollis
Green Salamander, Aneides aeneus
Sambava Tomato Frog, Dyscophus guineti
Vietnamese Mossy Frog, Theloderma corticale
By now the sun was shining beautifully and the air was warm to maybe 70˚.  I admit that when I left the house and it was only 53˚, I had a momentary regret for not wearing a jacket!  Enough of being inside for a while, so off to the Great Cat "Island" a signature habitat at the National Zoo that rotates the zoo's collections of African Lions and Sumatran Tigers.  Here's something to ponder, there are more Sumatran tigers in captivity around the world than in the wild, and there are only about 400 estimated--ESTIMATED--to be alive in the wild.  There were more people at the zoo when I observed the Sumatran Tiger on display, than there are Sumatran Tigers in the world!!!  It makes seeing him such a privilege and it tears me up inside at the same time.  In two of the others spaces a pair of near adult male African lions were out and in the other the lone sire of the pride, but he was curled up in an alcove and not very photographable. 

African Lion, Panthera leo

 I arrived at the third wedge of the exhibit space and everyone was looking at the tiger.  I looked and saw nothing.  It took be forever to see where he was.  I hope he appreciated that!
Sumatran Tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae
Nearby was Lemur Island where two more species of Lemur, the Ring-tailed Lemur, Lemur catta, and the Black-and-White Ruffed Lemur, Varecia variegata variegata, were hanging out in their raised cabanas, while the moat's resident colony of Painted Turtles were stealing the show for sure.

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