Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 07/12/2011

A bit of a nutter

Cassowary, originally uploaded by

Talk about flogging a dead horse, these photos were taken way back in March whilst visiting Bristol Zoo. The Zoo isn’t the biggest in the UK by a long way, covering only 12 acres, but I do have a soft spot for the place (it’s back middle right of my head) and try and make at least one trip there each year. I saw my first Spotted Hyena at Bristol Zoo, though when I returned a year later it had been moved to a different zoo all part of the rationalisation of the zoo to have a number of key species that aren’t present in many zoos. Whilst you will see Cassowaries in many wildlife parks, there are few that keep Asiatic Lions (the larger relatives of the African Lion), the odd looking Aye Aye (a type of lemur), and a number of strange looking mantids.

They also have have a colony of Lowland Gorillas, something that draws me back there time and time again. I’m always in awe of these creatures and when you get up close to a male silver back you can almost feel the strength and power radiating off them. The dominant male at Bristol Zoo is 26 years old, with the most unlikely moniker… Jock,stands an impressive 6ft tall and weighs in at over 34stone (220Kg) so the power doesn’t just radiate off him, it explodes.

There is another zoo in the UK which is host to the biggest collection of Lowland Gorillas in human care, with 74 animals divided between two sites, Howletts and it’s sister site Port Lympne. I haven’t been to either of these zoo, something I hope to rectify in 2012, especially as they have a number of other species I want to try and photograph including Barbary Lions, Gelada Baboons, Clouded Leopards, Drill Baboons and the wonderful Sifaka (a type of lemur).

Today’s image is of a Northern Cassowary, also called a Double Wattled Cassowary. Today’s title relates to these creatures and the way, when being chased, they will charge head first through the forests where they live using the bony head mantle to knock things out of the way.  This isn’t their most dangerous asset though, they have an elongated middle toe which they can use to incapacitate their foe.. well, it’s a bit more than incapacitate, that makes it sound like they’ve inconvenienced them in some way, rather than disembowelling their opponent – which is could be something of an inconvenience to say the least.

I’ve been on a spending spree with Android Market (a bit like iTunes) and bought about 10 apps – TEN, I’ve only ever bought one app before so this is a real extravagance, except it’s not as the apps in question are part of a festive offer by Google and cost only 10p. Now a bargain is only a bargain if you actually want the item in question which is handy because I had been thinking about buying a number of them. Now if only Canon would have a similar sale for their 70-200mm lens and their 85mm L lenses… but then Hades will have a sudden cold spell with lots of frost.


  1. That poor guy is a long way from home!

    • He is indeed, but he is safe and well looked after.

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