Our San Diego Zoo membership gives us access to monthly early-hours events at the zoo (and quarterly ones at the Wild Animal Park), and occasionally we even manage to go! Yesterday we woke up early and headed over to Influx for some coffee and The Best Pastries Ever before heading over to the zoo.
photo from influxcafe.com
We got to the zoo just as they began letting people in at 8am – there were probably about 100 people attending the early-hours program – and shuffled our way to the morning’s presentation at the Guinea Singing Dogs exhibit. There, we watched two 14-week-old cubs play around with dad as mom watched from a hill-top perch. The pups were so cute!
Guinea Singing Dog pup
Guinea pup exploring his enclosure
Next door to the singing dog presentation, a keeper was also talking about (but not sharing a cage with!) the stripped hyenas. I think these guys are usually sleeping when we walk by, because I was surprised by how big they are when they’re up and active.
A Striped Hyena
After leaving the hyenas, we went down to check on the warthogs. There were five of them in the enclosue, including the gnarled old male with giant warts and crooked tusks.
Warthog on a walkabout
When one of his friends woke up, the big male retreated to his warthog cave – trying to hide?
We then headed up through bear canyon to elephant mesa, where we saw a mob of meerkats taking in the morning sun.
The Baird’s tapirs were already sleeping by the time we visited them:
Baird's Tapir - Count the toes!
But the pack of capybaras (they’ve multipled! there used to be two but there were at least ten yesterday!) that share their enclosure were awake and quite skittish, running away every time the guanaco came close to them.
The giant anteaters were hiding out of site, and the Giant Vietnamese Squirrel was apparently too tiny to see, but we got a very close up view of the two rhinos on elephant mesa:
And the giraffes were enjoying a morning in the sun.
Giraffe eating breakfast
We then headed down tiger river (the three young tigers were snuggled in close to the glass at the first viewing window), and came to the Malayan tapir enclosure for what turned out to be the highlight of the day. Chukai, Chantek, and Annie were quite active and very vocal, chasing each other around the enclosure and the pool. We heard a lot of the typical tapir squealing, but also a coughing/sneezing-sounding noise that we hadn’t heard tapirs make before.
Malayan Tapirs in the pool
Looking for apples in the pool
After our lengthy stay at the tapir enclosure, we stopped by to see the okapis, and then walked over to see the Harpy Eagles before heading home.
Okapi hiding in the trees