Join our zoo community

Exceptions to taxa you don't usually find interesting

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Zygodactyl, 29 Nov 2016.

  1. Zygodactyl

    Zygodactyl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    3 Jun 2016
    Posts:
    151
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    So I'm thinking about how despite the fact that I usually don't care about big cats, apes and Old World monkeys or hoofstock, I have a number of exceptions. Usually the exceptions are because the animals are A. small and cute, B. weird in some fashion, or C. both.

    First I'll note that the only taxa zoos keep way too often that I find interesting nonetheless seem to be both 1. small and cute and 2, hyperactive at least some of the time. Various small carnivores, squirrel monkeys, lemurs, prairie dogs, and parrots are all so popular with zoos you'd think I find them overplayed. But if I watch them running around and/or interacting with each other (prairie dog calls and parrot preening are just and fun for me as otters swimming or squirrel monkeys jumping from branch-to-branch. However when it comes to specific species among large groups I find boring, it seems that one of the criteria is less activity than oddness.

    Any rate, with hoofstock I get excited at seeing duikers and peccaries. I would love to see chevrotains, babirusas, and musk deer. And I still stop for dik-diks, gerenuks, okapis, and pronghorns if I have time.

    With Old World monkeys and apes I get excited by bonobos and geladas (because they're behaviorally interesting) leaf monkeys (because they're cute) and guenons (because they're colorful). I'd also be pretty psyched to see an Allen's swamp monkey or talapoin (again because of cuteness).

    With big cats I get excited by clouded leopards (though clouded leopards also seem more prone to activity than other big cats), and would almost certainly go out of my way to see snow leopards or Tsavo lions (though I don't think I need to see either one more than once).

    I don't know if it would be fair to say I don't find birds of prey all that exciting considering how many I do find interesting. But I will certainly pass by most species I've seen before, and even if I haven't seen a mid-sized owl, hawk/eagle, or falcon before, I generally won't look at it for too long. (The exception is bald eagles, which I feel patriotically compelled to act like I'm excited by despite having seen them in the wild more times than I can count.) But I get excited by large eagles and tiny falconets and owls (especially burrowing owls!), by secretarybirds, osprey, and caracaras, and by Harris's hawks.

    Likewise, I find three of the four species the AZA has SSPs for interesting (sun bear, sloth bear, and spectacled bear), due to their taxonomic distinctness and relative activity. However pandas are boring, and anything in the genus Ursa seems too close to American black bears, of which I've seen plenty in the wild.

    I find most diprodont marsupials rather dull, but make an exception for tiny ones like bettongs and atypical ones like koalas and tree kangaroos. (I know koalas are boring, but I'd still see them again, and tree kangaroos are much more fun to watch than they ground-bound equivalents.)
     
  2. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,299
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Generally I am not na ''aqua man'', I feel greater afinity toward terrestrial animals, though I love the sea and swiming a lot. If I had to decied, mammals, birds and reptiles are equaly interesting for me, and less interesting are amphibians and terrestrial invertebrates.

    From mammals I love most:
    -All non-human primates,
    -Arboreal mammals like koalas and sloths,
    -Spotted felids
    -Giraffe, okapi, elephants, rhinos (particulary black rhino because it is rare and browser).

    From birds, I love most (and the rest not mentioned here are not so interesting):
    -Parrots, toucans, turacos, hornbills, birds of paradise
    -Tropical eagles, vultures, king vulture
    -Some storks like saddle-billed and Marabou

    From reptiles, in particular, venomous snakes, but also:
    -Non-venomous snakes
    -Tropical islands lizards
    -Rare crocodiles