Cultural Differences in the Zoological World

It struck me today while assisting in the second round of feeding that even in the zoological world there are a number of cultural differences that many people may be unaware of. Take for instance two species of animals in our collection, a raccoon and a porcupine. To most Americans these animals are common and we see them often, the raccoons getting into garbage and causing trouble in our backyards. And because they could have rabies, most of us avoid raccoons. Porcupines, though we may see them less often, are still pretty common and it is not too unusual to spot them.

derrickmaltmanraccoon

derrickmaltmanporcupine

For the Israelis however, raccoons and porcupines are amazing oddities from a world away that they will never get to see, unless they visit the safari or make a trip to the United States and happen to see one of these animals. On the other hand, our herd of camels isn’t all that unusual to the people here in Tel Aviv. All you need to do is head out towards the nearby desert where there are Bedouin tribes who have camels—really a pretty common sight. However I thought the camels were amazing when I saw them for the first time. Because they are animals we don’t usually see in the United States, when I first arrived, “Awesome, we have camels!” is what I think I might have said.

Little things like this remind me how big and diverse the planet is and just how many amazing animals are out there!

Can you think of any animals that you see on a regular basis, in and around your house or work, which could be in a zoo somewhere on the other side of the world?

Until next time.

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