Monday, February 16, 2009

Extraterrestrial baby animals

Do you sometimes wake up in the morning and say to yourself, "I wonder what interesting animals were born in zoos all around the world today." Well, now you can find out! Just go to Zooborns, a favorite new blog of mine. Thanks to Em of Em's Bookshelf for the link! Look at this latest addition, an extraterrestrial-looking munchkin called a "sifaka." Huh. Never heard of it! (Um, yes, it's the smaller of the two "creatures.")
If you want to faint from cuteness, go over to the Zooborns site and look at the baby gorilla (those sweet soulful eyes!) and speaking of extraterrestrial: scroll down to the giant anteater and its baby. Whoa. There are some animals you just never think about and so it doesn't occur to you to say, "Wow, that lives on this planet?" But look at that giant anteater with its little piggyback baby and you can't help but think it.

Watch this 3-second (literally) "video" of a giant anteater. Make sure your volume is turned up.
Oookay.

Last week as part of my [now-broken] nonfiction-only reading vow (I have to make those from time to time in order to tear myself away from novels), I read Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell. I loved Gerald Durrell's books when I was 12-13ish, when I dreamed of traipsing around the world collecting animals for zoos. That is just what Durrell did for much of his career, and he has a number of books about his expeditions, several of which I have on hold at the library and need to go and gather. Menagerie Manor is a highly entertaining and readable selection of anecdotes on his life as a zookeeper/zoo owner. The zoo he founded in the late '50s is on the Channel Island of Jersey, and I think I would quite like to go there some day. Doesn't it look lovely?
It concentrates on rare and endangered species and especially on breeding them; Durrell's Trust also does wonderful conservation work around the world. What an interesting life, well-documented in very entertaining books; if you're an animal lover, do look into him.

[After reading an amazingly wonderful novel set mostly on the Channel Island of Guernsey recently, I now add the Channel Islands to my list of travel destinations (sigh. It is a very long list.)]

9 comments:

Deva Fagan said...

Ooo, thank you for the link to Zooborns. Watching the baby elephant play ball has improved my morning considerably!

Amber Lough said...

Oooh baby gorilla, so cute so cute! Henry has attached himself to a stuffed giraffe, so when I saw the pics of the baby giraffe it made me warm inside. ;-) Awww.

I've sworn off everything but non-fiction and picture books, too. (The pbs are b/c I have to read them to my kid, otherwise I'd swear them off as well.) If I let myself get lost in everyone else's books, then I'll forget about my own.

Charlotte said...

I in the middle of a Durrell book myself right now (Beasts in my Belfrey)! I too would like to go to Jersey, and to Corfu, to see his boyhood homes...

Lexi said...

I loooooove Gerald Durrell.
Something about his books makes me happy.

Lexi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Em said...

Sometimes the videos are my favorite part of that blog. Did you see the one where the baby elephant plays soccer? :)

tanita s. davis said...

Probably weird -- but read the first Durrell book in grad school. And then was like, "HEY!" Birds, Beasts and Relatives is my fave. PBS did a short film based on his first two books a few years ago -- it was filmed in Corfu, and it's adorable.

Corfu: another destination on the ever expanding map of places one must go...

Deirdre said...

I started collecting illustrated children's books years ago, and one of Gerald Durrell's books - Keeper - was my first. I didn't realize he had so many other books.

Guernsey is on my travel list now too. Didn't you just love that book?

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Tanita! I did see that movie on PBS. Loved it! I think that was the first book I ever read of his; maybe that's why I loved him so much as a kid. His wild & free childhood reminded me a little of my own. I almost got to go to Corfu as a kid, too, when we lived in Italy. The Naval ship my dad was on would let the sailors' sons "ride" the ship to its various destinations: Egypt, Spain, but of course not the daughters (phoo!). They set about organizing a "princess cruise" to Corfu for us when I was 11, but thanks to the good ol' boys, it fell through. I've still never been to Greece.

And Deirdre, I haven't seen any of his children's books; I'll have to check that out! (Yes, LOVED Guernsey Literary)!!