We found these botos, or pink Amazon River dolphins in the play yard of the Tropical Manaus Hotel in Manaus, Brazil. Although the pink coloration and long beak are typical of this dolphin, the real animals have a shorter dorsal fin, more like a hump. The play yard had other native animals in it, and I believe they were made by the talented woman who ran one of the gift shops at the hotel.
We encountered this slightly-crumbling jaguar and several other local animals at a truckstop-type gas station and store along the road to Trindade beach. I couldn't guess the location of the truckstop.
A beast of some date and description bites hard on this lintel from a past age in the Cluny Museum in Paris. I wish I had photographed the placard, but I didn't, so I can't give the age or background of the piece. I believe the wall is from Roman times, or maybe part Roman and part Medieval. The building itself is fascinating, having begun as a Roman bath and evolved through history, being used in the Middle Ages as an abbey, and now as a remarkably fine and unusual museum.
This modern-day placard is part of the interactive display of what life was like in the Middle Ages at Warwick Castle. I don't know the history of this image, but it clearly depicts a bear used for the brutal blood sport of bear-baiting. One of the towers at Warwick Castle is named Bear Tower, and some authorities believe that bears were kept in that tower. Warwick Castle is one of the places in England where bear-baiting continued until a fairly late date. The sport was very popular among all levels of society, including kings and queens, and seems to have created great mirth in the observers. This cruel activity typically pitted bears against dogs, although there are descriptions of bears being allowed to chase other animals and even people. Both bear- and bull-baiting were finally outlawed by the English Parliament in 1835.
There is an amusing story linking mammoths with the famous French naturalist, Buffon, and in fact with Thomas Jefferson. (Start at the bottom of this page.) When we study history, we often learn the facts and stories that keep famous people and events compartmentalized in our minds. "Buffon relates to France and to animals. The end." But history is so much more textured. When I took this photo, I coudn't remember much about Buffon except that he studied and attempted to classify hundreds or probably thousands of animals. While checking up on mammoths and Buffon for ths post, I learned that Buffon had made a statement that Old World fauna (including humans) were, comparatively, so much larger and more robust than their New World counterparts. This irked Thomas Jefferson (a man 6' 2" tall) to the point that he made lists of animals that were larger on this side of the Atlantic and presented it to Buffon. Apparently the argument went on for some time, and on a visit, Jefferson packed over to France the hide of an exceptionally large mountain lion to prove his point.
As for the mammoths, I haven't made a study of where each one lived and what size it was. They seem to have roamed over much of the Earth and the size varied from place to place. I'd never thought about that, either, and someday when I have nothing else to do. . . .
"The Bunny and the Armadillo" sounds like the title of a story, but it's not as far as I know. These are two of the delightful Oaxaca-style animals that enlivened the open-air hallways of a hotel in Puerto Vallarta. Because it's Easter today, one might imagine that the armadillo looks like a decorated egg.
Even though the colors are stunning, this this piece of leaded glass is NOT something I'd want to take home. As if these evil birds weren't enough, take a look at the human. I didn't note down the name of the artist or the name of the piece. Maybe it's from an allegory or fairytale. That might explain something. Oooooooh. Creepy.