A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I went to Wetlands Animal Park. I’d not been before, and knew nothing about the place, other than it had lemurs and llamas (neither of which seemed very wet).
It was quite a surreal afternoon.
We were the only visitors, and shared the cafe with several inquisitive peacocks.
We spent a happy few minutes taking photographs of ourselves acting like sorry fishermen.
Childish, I know.
It was a pretty place, but felt strangely empty with just us in there. We did see the lemurs, and the llamas, and, oddly, a yak. And more peacocks (including a purely white one), and some prairie dogs, which were my favourite animals when I was small.
I got another fit of the giggles when the peacocks hopped into the prairie dog enclosure. A prairie dog would pop up, see a peacock and disappear – and then the peacock would stick its head down the hole, looking for the prairie dog.
I always have mixed feelings about places like this. The animals seemed well cared for and happy – but there’s a large part of me that feels a yak would be much happier in Tibet than the outskirts of Rotherham.
I’ve not seen a coati before – they seemed like a cross between a guinea pig and a hare, about the size of a small sheep. The sign said ‘they use a slightly hostile creche system’ – and trying to imagine what on earth that meant made me giggle again.
And then we found a pin board with a list of the food to give to the animals, including specific treats for each one. Mostly it was as you’d expect – a bale of hay for the yaks (with fruit and vegetables as treats) – but I was quite taken with the thought of the meercats enjoying ‘baked potato and hard boiled eggs’…
After all that giggling it was time for another cup of tea (in a different cafe this time).
Sometimes half a piece of cake just isn’t enough.