Monday, September 11, 2006


Before our trip to France - I did a little Internet research - things to do in Brittany. I came across the Parc de Branfrere - where wallabies roam the grounds and the website features pictures of small children holding wallabies. I thought - yeah, I'd like to hold a wallaby. Well, we went to Parc de Branfrere today. And yes, there are wallabies, but the wallabies aren't really in to being petted quite as much as I would have liked. First of all the wallabies can go anywhere they like, but people have to stay on the designated paths. Wallabies won't come when called, they are much more interested in eating twigs. But then we worked out that if you find a wallaby NEAR a path, you can get its attention with the special, expensive popcorn (about 2 bucks) the park sells to feed the animals. It has to be very close to the path, because wallabies are very lazy and will not come far -even for food they want. Once they are eating - out of your hand - you can pet them with the other. They have the softest fur and sweetest doe eyes, fringed by the longest lashes. You can touch their ears, their tummies and backs. They are such gentle, sweet cuddly animals. But as soon as the popcorn is gone...they turn their backs and hop away on their powerful giant hind legs. I held back a handful from my bag so I could feed them again after seeing the other animals. We walked around to see the African plains (giraffes and oryx and blue gnus) and lots of other things. It started to rain so we waited in the cafe for a while, but I wasn't going to leave without going to the petting zoo and seeing the red pandas, so we donned raincoats and raised umbrellas and braved the wet. The red pandas were hiding from the rain, but the precipitation was good for the petting zoo (espace de contact) because all the animals (as well as the few visitors) were huddled under the eaves. You could hardly move for the mini-goats, alpacas and donkeys. The Vol-in-Law wanted some of the remaining popcorn to feed to the alpaca. I couldn't see the point since, they were right there and would have to flee into the mud and rain to avoid him, plus I knew without food there'd be no more wallaby action, but I relented. No sooner had I given him the popcorn and the alpacas had noticed but the ViL was surrounded by goats - one of whom tore it from his hands and ate the whole lot - plastic bag and all. (Despite our efforts to retrieve the plastic). Well, I was pissed. No popcorn, no wallaby love. I made the ViL walk back to entrance and get me another bag. I found a friendly wallaby and fed him the whole sack - petting him all the while - it took over half an hour for him to finish the popcorn, but I just sat there with my arm around him - the cutest animal ever (photos later) ----- Wallabies aside, Parc de Branfere is about the best zoo I've been to. The animals seem happy and they have plenty of space. It's a bit short on carnivores (only a couple of South American wolves) but lots of cool grazing animals, birds and primates. In fact, they have lots of different primates in great habitats that allow them to play and make eye contact with you. They had gibbons, lemurs, tamarinds, capuchins and cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
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1 comment:

KathyF said...

You don't have to go to France to see wallabies. You can go to Woburn Safari Park and see all you want, including white wallabies.

We had a more personal experience with the lemurs, who really do like to be petted, and the squirrel monkeys, who try to steal your stuff. And another monkey almost hopped in the car window, then sat on our rear view mirror.

There are lots of carnivores, too.

I have to admit, I don't like zoos, but safari parks are cool. For the animals, I mean.