The sheer joy of seeing a ghostly caiman slip into the Amazon river or spotting a capybara grazing peacefully on the river bank sets off fireworks in my brain.
I once got to hold a baby monkey at the markets in Nakhonsitthammarat in Thailand. I was hanging around the roti stall with my host sister when a friend of hers – a hairdresser, as I recall – wandered up with her new pet in her arms. It was spider monkey about the size of your average tennis ball (but with gangly arms and legs and the tiniest little fingers). I will never forget how it clung to my t-shirt and felt almost human.
On the other hand, the fully grown monkeys at the Monkey Forest in Ubud were approximately 400, 000 times less endearing. The only thrill I got from meeting these scruffy little monsters was wondering which one was going to rip my eyes out and scurry off with them, such was their malevolent vibe.
Some other cool animals I have met on my travels include;
– Pepe and Paco, the ornery old Macaws that lived at the lodge we stayed at in the Amazon
– The alpacas and llamas that live at Machu Picchu
– The 4m python that lived in our tree house in the Mekong Delta
– The thousands of gentle silvery fish in the waterfall in Nakhonsitthammarat
– The squirrels at Barton Springs in Austin
– The sand shark at Nha Trang (it was small but its eyes were still scary)
The animals I still really, really want to see are flamingoes, orangutans, elephants, giraffes, iguanas … oh, anything really. I love them all!
My favourite animal in the world? Dash, my black toy poodle. Why? Because he is hilarious.
Have you ever come across any really amazing animals in your travels? Tell me about them. I want to see them too!