Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The eyes have it.

This week we have been visited by two of our oldest friends, Alan and Margaret Jarrett. I've Known Alan for 55years and Margaret for about 42 years, so it is an enduring friendship. In 2007 I visited them while I was in Australia so it was nice to have a return visit.

We had a great day out at Port Lympne zoo and enjoyed the safari. It does seem a bit strange to visit a bit of Africa in the Kent Countryside. Giraffe are such strange animals. From the back of the "safari" truck we were almost on a level with their heads and able to see the long eye-lashes, with no make up necessary.

Despite the gentle look of their eyes the head of the Giraffe is the weapon it uses when fighting. I watched to young males having an altercation when I was in Namibia, a few years ago, and the ferocity with which they swing their heads, in a pendulum type motion, trying to inflict maximum damage with those stubby horns is quite amazing.

At the other end of the scale is the little, beady eye of the Rhinoceros. I don't think that their vision is particularly good.

The zoo has a number of Black Rhinos and with its twin zoo, Howletts has the largest number out side Africa. In the wild there are about 3000 animals left and the breeding program in the zoos contributes to the conservation of this prehistoric looking animal.

It is said the the eye of an Ostrich is larger than its brain and they certainly can give the impression of not being overly bright!

There are ten Ostriches at Port Lympne and the male above put on an amazing display when food arrived. It was so excited it when into a full blooding mating dance, swishing its wings backwards and forwards, and almost turning itself inside out.

The keen eyes of the resident foxes means that they do very well in the area of the "African Experience" safari area.

They are always on the look out for free meals and we say a number taking advantage of the supplies put out for the zoo animals.

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