A quick word about that name, “white rhino.” There are five existing species of rhinoceros: greater one-horned (sometimes called “Indian”), Javan, Sumatran, African white, and African black. The white rhino is, of course, not “white” at all, as can easily be seen in this photo of Tom. The most popular theory of the etymology of this name is that it is derived from the Afrikaans word weit, which means “wide,” referring to this species’ broad muzzle.
I’ve been blessed more than once to have my hands on the head and haunches of both Vishnu and Ashakiran, and I can tell you they feel warm and quite malleable to the touch, especially near the folds.
When I led tours at the Zoo, I enjoyed catching sight of a peacock (usually, but sometimes a peahen) on the roof of a building such as the African Rainforest Pavilion (seen here) or at the back of the Indomalayan Pavilion. I would then turn to the students in my charge – who most often had not noticed the bird – and ask them if they thought peacocks could fly.
I had been there for about another 20 minutes or so, watching Ember and her baby and kind of zoning out a bit, when I began to realize there was something kind of odd about the kitten’s ears. I couldn’t work out what was bothering me about them, until all of a sudden it struck me: they were two right ears!
This month’s animal is one that I have great difficulty capturing due to the location and make-up of their exhibit. Bonus fact: this is the only animal in either calendar who shares a name with anyone in my circle of friends: Luca.