On Saturday, I brought Dawn out to Toronto Zoo.
The highlight was the stingray exhibit. We got to pet an endless stream of cownose rays. Not only were they unfazed by the petting, they would actively seek out our hands if we left them in the water! These are fun creatures.
The pool also held four southern stingrays. These are larger but less social, so one had to reach to touch them. They were softer than the cownose rays since they weren't as firm.
The pool also had a variety of sharks. All but one of the sharks slept underneath turbulent water so you couldn't even see them. They sleep there to drown out our noise since they have sensitive hearing. The one that was awake never came near the side, so they weren't interesting.
Passing through the australasian pavilion, we spotted a blue bird in the bushes. Dawn found interesting that the victoria crowned pigeon stayed in its area despite a lack of cage. That is, until I pointed out another one had snuck up the path to end up right behind her.
There also were sugar gliders, nothing more than little sleeping fuzballs when we went by.
Next we saw
canada geesewallabies, canada geesekangaroo and canada geeseemus. It was fun watching an emu chasing the geese away. (We also saw geese being chased by previously-sleeping arctic wolves later on.) I don't see how Dawn can think emus are cute, though.
Then we visited the area of the zoo where the insanely cute animals are apparently placed. It featured red pandas and snow leopards.
Red pandas are adorable all around. They have ginormous, bushy tails. We got a closeup view of the one eating from its bowl, and there was second red panda some 30-40 feet off the ground in a tree.
Snow leopards are beautiful animals. These too have bushy tails. but nowhere near as wide as the red pandas'. The enclosure housed a mother and the two kits she birthed four months earlier. Boy had they grown! They family was enjoying a nap when we came by.
Across from the snow leopards were beautiful przewalski's horses (mongolian wild horses). They too had a kid. He was still wobbly, tripping on everything.
We relaxed with the reindeers (also known as caribou) on our way to the arctic area where I was hoping to see arctic foxes. Unfortunately, that exhibit wasn't open yet. We visited jaguars instead. Did you know the spotted jaguars and the black panthers are the same animal? Both colourings can even be born from the same litter.
A pair of beautiful snowy owls entranced us for a while. One spotted, one not. The spotted one showed us his cute fluffy feet, and that amused us greatly.
In the Americas pavilion, I spotted one of Dawn's favourite creatures: the axolotl. I must admit they are quite interesting. It's a salamander that doesn't grow out of its aquatic phase, living and breading under water its entire life. They are critically endangered because they only occur naturally in one lake of which only canals remain, and the canals are populated by non-native fish which prey on the young axolotl and compete for the same food.
One the way out, we spotted an alligator snapping turtle. They are humongous!! As high as a footstool, and longer. It would have made a perfect end-table.
One of the last exhibits we visited was the beaver. Poor thing wanted to gnaw on a tree, but the only thing standing was the metal pole of a birdhouse. He was also blocked from some bushes by an electric fence at which he'd stare intently. That was sad.
We only got to see about a third of the park. We'll have to return next year.