Sunday, March 30, 2008
Old MacDonald had a Wildlife Park
Cotswold Wildlife Park has all sorts of animals that are alien to the British countryside. As I have posted about recently it is not often you will see a rhino and zebra in front of an old English mansion, or hear lions roaring while walking around a lake full of ducks, geese and swans, but this is all part of it's particular charm. However, there are some more familiar residents at the park which are not so 'wild'. In fact they are rather domesticated as the park has a corner full of farm animals.
In a barn full of animals in comfy straw lined pens I found a simply huge pig snoozing noisily. Piggy was far more interested in napping than saying hello so after taking her photo I moved on to the bunnies. We think of rabbits as being small and cuddly creatures but these seemed huge. I had to wonder what on earth they were feeding these animals but I recall the rabbit our family had when I was a child. It was called Harvey after the rabbit in the film as he was white. He was meant to be a dwarf rabbit but grew to the size of a donkey with a kick to match! (Okay, not really but he was bigger than quite a few dogs!). Turned out his name was apt as he also turned out to be a giant rabbit as well. The rabbits in the park regarded me with the suspicion that prey animals reserve for anything bigger than them with teeth but sat still for photos save the twitching of their noses.
Back outside I found the goats, together with their kids. One particular kid was obviously testing his boundaries and trying to discover if goats can climb. He was quite thorough in his testing, trying again and again to shimmy up the fence post, but despite actually getting three legs off the ground he had to admit that cloven hooves aren't the best for gripping vertical surfaces, though I recorded his endeavours for posterity.
Afterwards I made my way to a small paddock full of goats that you could walk in and pet. Despite all this free attention the goats seemed far more engrossed in eating the spring grass and acted like the people walking amongst them were invisible, apart for moments when a small errant child tried to mount one like a pony. The goat simply walked off leaving the child hopping on the spot with his leg cocked in the air and didn't break it's feeding momentum for a moment. It was quite comical to watch but I guess you had to be there.
The farm corner of the park was extremely sweet and obviously aimed at children as most of the animals were hand tame and could be petted. There were also sheep, chickens, a couple of ponies and some guinea pigs there. I loitered for awhile but then a sign for the reptile house caught my eye and I knew where I wanted to go next. So that is what I did.