Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!! We took a little day trip to the Puerto Vallarta zoo last week and saw a lot of amazing animals. We also noticed quite a few differences between the Puerto Vallarta zoo and American zoos.
First, all the animals were incredibly close - like, only a chain link fence separating us and them - and we could hand-feed almost all of them. When you first arrive at the zoo, you're given the option of buying a bag of animal food. Basically, the bag has bread, carrots, peanuts, corn, and pellets. We ended up having enough food for all the animals that we were allowed to feed.
The expression on this guy's face was just too good to pass up. The photo is a little out of focus, though, because he absolutely would NOT stand still!!
That's a black bear behind that fence, in case you can't tell. And there's a pretty nice-sized hole in the fence, which The Boyfriend is using to give some bread to the bear. A freakin' BEAR!!
Basically, the only ones we couldn't feed were the lions and tigers. But the poor little lions were so skinny they could've used some extra food! We were actually both taken aback by how skinny some of the animals looked (liked the male lion below). A lot of them looked borderline malnourished. I don't know if that's because I'm just used to seeing well-fed American zoo animals or if they really were getting very skimpy diets. Either way, it was a bit disturbing.
We were also surprised by how sparse some of their habitats were. I was especially aware of this when we saw the guinea pigs. Since we got Molly, I've read a lot about what guinea pigs in captivity need to be healthy, happy animals. One of the most important things for them to have is constant access to hay. They have a natural need to chew because they're teeth never stop growing. The hay helps keep their teeth in check and also helps maintain a healthy digestive system. But the guinea pigs at the zoo had no hay. In fact, they had nothing to chew on. All they had was a little covered area with shade from the sun and some water. We felt bad for them and ended up giving them all of our food pellets.
Despite the surprising differences, we had a great time at the zoo. How could we not? Those darn little animals are just so adorable! And feeding giraffes and black bears by hand was pretty freakin' awesome.
The Boyfriend: "Hey, Stephanie, what are you doing." Me: "Oh, you know, just letting a giraffe eat out of my hand. NBD." (I was also sweatin' like a whore in church, btw.)
Deer: "Hey, what are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a deer peeing before??" Me: "No, actually I have not. Until now."
Look at that cute wittle fwace!!!
Oh, did I mention entrance to the zoo was 10 bucks each and the bag of food was only 5 bucks? Best deal ever!!