Sunday, 9 May 2010


Located in the north west Haria region of Lanzarote, the most green and fertile area on the island, on a terraced hillside, the leaflet promises more than the park actually delivers. While making clear that it is primarily noted for its collection of birds, the leaflet also shows photographs of a variety of medium to small mammals like coatis, racoons, meerkats, among others. In fact the only mammals I saw was one flat-out asleep wallaby, one flat-out asleep on a branch exotic type of squirrel, and a cage containing 3 white-eared marmosets.

IanP, with whom I'd gone on holiday, isn't greatly interested in animals but he was happy to drive me there via Arieta (see Freethinking blog) and then up into the hills. A different route involves a steep ascent followed by an even steeper bowel-emptying descent on a narrow road while trying to avoid coaches. It took about 15 minutes to get there from Arieta to which Ian returned after dropping me. Forty-five minutes later, I rang him to pick me up. In between.

First thing is cages of parrots followed by an enclosed walk-through aviary which I liked. I've no idea what species of birds they were so I'll just show you some photos and leave the hard work of identifying them to you.
Next up was the penguin pool which had 3 penguins standing by the side of it looking very bored. And next to that the flamingo paddling pool with several flamingos standing around like flamingos do. Of more interest were-
But my big favourites were the white-eared marmosets. These delightful little creatures were in a cage with the wire mesh only a foot away from visitors. Curious little animals, the male in particularly, jumped down and stared right into my face -though when he first did it I thought he was going to pee into it. He even let me reach out and touch his tiny paws. This was probably the highlight of my holiday.
Overall the place was worth a visit albeit disappointing in its lack of small mammals for which I have a particular fondness. The animals and birds seem to be housed well and looked after in reasonably sized cages and enclosures. If most of them weren't moving around much, well it was a hot day.

There is one kind of animal I had a close encounter with which wasn't so pleasant. Here it is.
We'd got back late-ish from the centre of Costa Teguise and were about to settle down to watch one of the DVDs I'd brought with me and I was pouring myself a glass of red wine when out the corner of my eye I caught a rapid movement and found myself screaming in a high voice, "There's a fucking cockroach!" I should note that my love of animals doesn't extend to creepy-crawlies like cockroaches, especially in my bare feet. I ran into my bedroom and rammed my feet into my shoes and when the roach made the mistake of coming too close I squashed it. Two nights later and I saw another one on a wall. I moved quietly past it to the bedroom again, picked up something from the floor and screamed-"EAT THE SANDAL OF DEATH!"
You must understand that I have no familiarity with cockroaches, at least not in the same room as me. Never happened before. I've never lived anywhere where there were cockroaches. I just know they make me feel horrible.
Apparently they come up through the plughole. This meant that for the entire week I was checking that Ian had put the plug back in immediately after whatever it was he'd been doing -washing up, having a bath, washing his hands- something he was rather blase about. Understandably, I never forgot to do it.

And so ends my encounters with animals on the volcanic island of Lanzarote.
Post Script: Wine.
Apropos of nothing in particular but I forgot to mention it in my Freethinking holiday post, I picked up a bottle of white wine in Lidl (five minutes drive from where I was staying) for a grand total of 0.75euros and it was reasonably pleasant to drink. I also had some decent bottles of red wine for under 3euros. Also at one shop I bought a litre of Southern Comfort for only 12.95euros, about 4 cheaper than anywhere else and a hell of a lot cheaper than in the UK.


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