So today’s post will be about some of my fun experiences meeting animals in their (almost) real habitat, in nature! All my life I’ve been a city girl and any knowledge of animals were from books, movies, domestic pets or stray animals, and zoos. I remember going to the zoo in Ueno, Tokyo and associating animals to movie characters like “Omg those are the move-it move-its” when referring to lemurs, “Looks just like in Tarzan!” when referring to a gorilla, “Nemo and Dory” when looking at clownfish and.. dory?, etc. To be honest, the episodes with animals in France documented below have been, for lack of a better expression, extremely eye-opening for me.
■Iris The Household Cat
I will start with the most familiar animal: the cat. To be more specific, her name is Iris, the cat of E’s mother. It’s a a bit embarrassing to say this (or is it?) but I have never seen a cat climb a tree before… hahah! I’ve seen cats in comics climb trees and getting stuck that the firemen have to come rescue them, etc. but in real life?? NO! So here I am posing in front of this epic scene (to me) worthy of a picture of me standing in front of it grinning like a proud tourist. Don’t worry, she didn’t pounce on me after the picture was taken although she looks as if she is going to.
I’ve seen many stationary horses in my life (at the zoo, farms, and tourist spots) but I’ve never seen horses running so majestically as if they were in a Degas painting. These horses were at an equestrian club next to the forest with plenty of space for them to run and frolic. They were running round and round the compound so many times it warmed my heart. These are some lucky horses.
■Swans (and some ducks)
Before this, when you tell me “Black Swan” the thing that would come to mind would be the thriller starring Natalie Portman (in fact that’s what Google seems to be pulling up, too) but in the past four months I’ve seen a total of FOUR black swans! There are two famous ones in the park at Vizille (40 mins south of Grenoble) and here in this photograph are the black swans belonging to Park Bueno Retiro in Madrid. To quote Alexis, they look like “villain pokemons” and yes I agree but I still think they look cool. Also check out how the gang of ducks are coming to chill with them in formation.
There are also plenty of normal swans in the Isere and Drac rivers here in Grenoble. Here is one dipping his head into the water to catch, I want to say, worms?? But it’s funny how his butt sticks out every time he does it. Reminds me of Donald Duck. See, it’s hard to stop with the cartoon references.
Chickens lay eggs. Every person above kindergarten age knows that fact. But how many of us city kids have actually SEEN a fresh chicken egg?? I know I haven’t!! Here is a video documenting us collecting the ova of E’s mum’s chickens she rears in her backyard. And by the way, eggs like these do not become baby chicks (so we are not in fact killing could-be baby chicks) because they are unfertilised i.e., because these chickens did not have sex with a rooster. It’s strange but now when I eat chicken eggs, I feel more grateful to chickens and Mother Nature for allowing chickens to have their periods.
City lizards are kinda icky but tolerable. But this country lizard (can you spot it?) was so cute. It’s called a “lézard vert” (green lizard) and it has a tinge of blue near its neck. We were chilling by the lake and he popped out his head to stare at us (about 2m) away and just continued to stare. He was either greeting us or cursing us for trespassing on his territory in frequencies inaudible to us mere humans.
Here is a dog swimming in the lake to pick up a stick his owner threw. Just like in the comics / cartoons!!! Country dogs are blessed; I even saw one digging around for moles (I have yet to see one) at the park the other day. Dogs digging and getting dirty, like real dogs! Lol
And here’s my personal favourite. A relative’s pet dog Africa cornered poor E at his grandpa’s pond. Dog: “Why don’t you love me?!”