All sorts of animals at the Santiago Zoo

ImageTwo weeks ago, we went to the zoo in Santiago on Cerro San Christobal on a Saturday!  I haven’t been to a zoo in a long time.  The zoo in Pretoria, South Africa, is the zoo that I’ve been to the most times.  While studying, I even attended a dance in one of the halls in the Pretoria zoo.

There are not many animals in Chile.  I guess it’s because there’s a desert in the North and glaciers in the South; not ideal living conditions for animals.  There are Condors, which are huge birds similar to vultures, only larger, Guananacos (llama-like creatures) and Alpacas (more llama-like creatures).  I’m not sure if there are any Llamas in Chile.  There are a lot of dogs everywhere in Santiago and a stray cat or two.  And that’s it, that’s the animals you get to see in Chile, I think.


A guanaco

Some of my friends have a problem with zoos; they feel that it’s wrong to keep animals on display, purely for human entertainment.  I don’t feel as negative about zoos, the Santiago zoo didn’t look like a great home for animals.  The animals looked hot and tired and unhappy.  I have to say that I felt sorry for the polar bear.  An animal whose natural habitat is on ice, should not live in a hot place like Santiago.  Apparently a polar bear’s fur is translucent.  It looks white because it reflects light.


ImageI saw a puma for the first time in my life.  I’ve just started reading ‘How to walk a puma & other things I learned while stumbling through South America’ by Peter Allison, recommended by my smart friend Annette-Christi, and they seem like majestic creatures.  The pume we saw had grayish fur and was laying down in the shade of a tree (unlike this picture of a puma).

ImageWe also saw a jaguar (also laying in the shade); it’s fur is bright orange with interesting spotted patterns on.

Get this: The Spanish word for fox is ‘zorro’!  We decided that Zorro, the masked character has that name because he moves as fast as a fox.

ImageDirk told me a lame joke that he heard from his physiotherapist while getting treatment for his wrist (fractured in a snowboarding accident).

To animals are walking in the jungle.  The one says: “How are you?”  The other animal replies: “No, I’m sorry.”

It supposed to be funny, because “How are you?” apparently sounds like “Jaguar?” and the the other animal replies: “No, I’m zorro.” (a fox)  which sounds like “I’m sorry.”


“No, I’m zorro.”

I don’t get it either.

We  spend a day trying to figure out why the joke would be funny.  I heard a person say “Jaguar” that could almost sound like “How you are?” if you pronounce the ‘h’ and a ‘g’.  I just think it’s absolutely hilarious that Chileans have a joke based on misunderstanding or wrong interpretation of English words.  Seeing that these are people who have no idea what you mean when you are having a conversation about mountains and you say ‘cero’ (zero) instead of ‘cerro’ (hill).


It took Dirk a while to figure out that this flamingo is not disabled with a stump for a leg, but just resting while standing on one leg!


We both really enjoyed the aviary


I was fascinated by this white peacock. It seemed he was showing off his feathers to the bright bird on the right! I had to wait a while, because the peacock was shy and had his back turned to his human audience for a long time.


A lazy seal


A lazy camel


The baby emu is really cute!  It shares an enclosure with the strangest animal I’ve ever seen: a ‘Mara‘!  It’s a cross between a rabbit and a deer!


A weird mara


Can you spot the tiger lying in the right top hand corner?

We saw a White tiger and an orange tiger, a kangaroo an cute ‘Suricata’ – meerkats!


The monkeys were very entertaining. Less entertaining were the people feeding them peanuts! There are huge signs everywhere saying: DON’T FEED THE MONKEYS!

The most annoying animals were the children on the wrong side of the enclosures; they kept tapping on glass enclosures to try to make animals perform for them.


As a sidenote, that same Saturday we watched a ridiculous movie about a blonde American girl going on a surfing trip in South Africa.  I just feel that I should point out the following things to American tourists travelling in South Africa, in order to prevent unnecessary deaths:

1. A row of elephants will never walk past you while you are walking to the beach to surf.  If you see an elephant walking towards you, run for your life!  Don’t just stand there and watch them like the girl in the movie.

2. In the unlikely event that you attend a ‘kwaito’ party in a ‘squatter camp’ and a large evil man threatens you at the party, do not follow him out into the night into the ‘squatter camp’.  You will get killed!


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