Lolling lizards ~

No leaping going on while I was present. I hope to return to get some sharper photos and get down a couple of identifications that I missed. Although a crocodile is technically not a lizard, I figure it’s close enough to fit with the rest of these. Although the one here appeared positively blissed out, there’s really no other way for a crocodile to look when its mouth and eyes are closed, is there?

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A mammal menagerie ~

 

Of all the animals I saw at the Denver Zoo (and I didn’t get around the entire zoo), only the eland was bold enough to stand right at the front of its enclosure, getting a great deal of pleasure from rubbing its chin and neck against the scratching post and the enclosure cable. The okapi, with its gentle-looking eyes, beautiful brown coat, and modernist black-and-white legs, is one of my favorites. In-between shots, this one was munching grass. A check of Wikipedia reveals that okapis, which are endangered, are quite solitary, are most closely related to giraffes, and are “generally tranquil.” This female seemed pretty unperturbed at my presence.

The river horse ~

This hippopotamus wrestled her ball all around her little pond, trying to bite it (apparently). She’d go underwater for several seconds and then re-emerge to engage the ball again. As I think I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I have mixed feelings about zoos. I used to think they were important for conservation efforts and education, but I recently read a New Yorker article that rather convincingly refuted that argument. The obvious boredom of many of the animals, despite “enrichment” items such as balls and other toys, pains me. I don’t so much mind seeing fish or reptiles or amphibians in tanks (some photos of those later), but for mammals the Denver Zoo strikes me as a rather sad place.

I don’t actually know that this hippo is a female; I’m just guessing. Her/his teeth, especially those tusk-like lower canines, serve as a reminder that hippos are the most dangerous animal in sub-Saharan Africa (other than people) in terms of the number of people they kill. So I’ve read, anyway.

 

Vainglory ~

There is a photographer, Brad Wilson, who photographs wild animals in the studio against a plain backdrop. These peacocks (two of which are technically pea hens) were perched a few feet above me atop a brick wall. Since the day was overcast, the camera exposure rendered the sky almost white. So I decided to take it white all the way, crop the images, and turn them into portraits in the manner of Brad Wilson. To see some of his work, go to https://www.boredpanda.com/animal-photography-studio-brad-wilson/.