Friday, April 19, 2013

Donkey, spider monkeys and out of the wind.

We visited Banham Zoo today and found ourselves amazed and astonished and charmed by turns.

1. Douglas the Poitou donkey. He is as tall as a good-sized horse and covered in long shaggy fur. He looks like something out of a cave painting. He makes me think of extinct giant Ice Age versions of animals -- woolly mammoths, aurochs and deer with vast antlers.

2. The spider monkeys curl up their long limbs and somersault around their enclosure. Suddenly they spring open for a quick tussle among the rocks and then leap up the mesh walls, climbing higher and faster than seems wise or possible.

3. On a day when the biting East Anglian wind is racing across the fields to warm up in the new tropical house.

4. When they ask for volunteers I nudge Nick hard. He asked to hold aloft a cup of nectar. Two lorikeets in paintbox colours thrum across from the stage and perch on his hands for drink.