Animals I've Poked

...and don't be gross. This in response to Liv's lovely St Louis zoo photos, I've decided to make a laundry list of the animals that I got to pet, prod, feed, or generally get nearer to than is normally considered safe during my tenure at Brookfield Zoo.

First, there's the not so spectacular stuff.

African elephants (got to pet)

Reticulated giraffe (got to feed)

Got to feed BAGELS (both mama and baby)

Ok, then things start to get a little interesting.

African warthog. They have very stiff hair on their backs. (Got to scratch with a back scratcher.)

Aardvark (got to hang out with inside it's enclosure--they stink to high heaven, btw)

baby polar bear (got to be in the same room with but not touch)

and finally, my favorite, the okapi: a forest relative of the giraffe, endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and with a coat as soft as velvet (got to pet).

I think that's about all, but I may have to amend this list if my memory ever improves.


  1. OOoooh. I love the Okapi! I'm so jealous of you getting to pet one! Very cool. That and the smelly aardvark. What are rhino lips like? The remind me of a horse or moose. Is it true?

  2. Rhino lips are interesting. The top lip comes down to a point in the middle, and that pointy party is almost prehensile. So in the same way a horse can sort of use it's lips to gather up grass, so can a rhino, but even better. The most amazing thing to me about the rhino is that the skin is rather soft. Not all armored and hard like you'd think.

    Aardvarks, on the other hand, exude a viscous hormone-rich scent to mark territory. The stench is so bad, that after my big experience of visiting the aardvarks, I had to drive home barefoot, because the shoes had to go in the trunk. Even then, the stink got in the car. If I could have tied them to the bumper, I would have.

  3. Whoa. I had no idea aardvarks were so stinky. That's cool.

    A pressing question in our household: What do giraffes (and okapi, for that matter) sound like? Do you know?

  4. Come to think of it, never heard a giraffe ever make a sound. And okapi are extremely secretive. They were only discovered in the early 1900s.


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