I knew that gorillas were vegetarians, happy to chomp on branches and leaves for hours at a time. What I didn’t know is that they have what I guess might be considered a sweet tooth. They were scattered throughout their enclosure but two of them were together in one section that had a glass viewing wall for the other apes to watch them. The staff had recently put a load of food out for them and this included some bunches of flowers.
When I first saw the flowers, I was slightly perplexed. It seemed like an odd thing to have put out. However, the alpha male homed in on them. Even then I assumed he would eat the leaves. Not so. He was happy to strip the flowers from the branches and chew them up. The rate at which he went through them made it seem pretty clear that this was a preferred treat for him. Having never tried eating flowers, I have no idea what they taste like. They smell nice so does that translate into a nice flavor? I’m not going to try eating some to find out but, judging by his approach, there must be something to them.
Go to any zoo and, if there is a gorilla enclosure, you will find a lot of people. I suspect there are many reasons why people like gorillas but the similarity they have to us is probably one of the big ones. The hierarchy of their groups is also interesting and so it proved to be while we were in San Diego. One male seemed to be testing how much of the enclosure he could control. He would sit quietly in one spot for a while and the other male would find a spot to hang out somewhere out of the way.
Then the prime would decide to move. Surprisingly enough, he would always go roughly where the other male was. He would make himself scarce. He might then sneak around the back in the diction of the spot the prime had previously been. I think you can guess what happened next. This game went on for quite a while – longer than I was prepared to watch it.
Needless to say, if you are looking for similarities between gorillas and humans, go for the intimidation and pettiness elements. You should see some close parallels. It is hard to see which one is more advanced in that case!
With a lovely spring weekend day, the city provides a lot of opportunities to hang out and enjoy yourself. One of these is Lincoln Park. Not a long walk from us but certainly a quicker bus ride gets you to the park. It is amazing how quickly the spring transformation is underway. The trees are rapidly filling out with leaves and the wildlife is also making itself obvious. There are certainly worse places to be on a weekend.
If you want to ramp up the wildlife, the park also has the zoo which is free to visit. It had been a while since we went there so we decided to take a look around. Since you can wander in and out at will, you don’t always end up looking at everything and this time was no exception. We did visit the big apes which is always a great experience. Taking in the bats was something I hadn’t done for a while as well.
We could have looked at more but I had a strong urge to find some lunch so instead we went exploring of a different kind. Maybe not as difficult as living in the wild but the results were certainly good.