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Fifth Visit (to the Zoo)

Visit 5, in which Steve, Stacy, Nyani, and Samuel travel to the zoo for Samuel’s ninth birthday.  Nyani explains some of the differences between carnivores and vegetarians.

The morning had come, and Samuel was excited for his birthday trip to the Hogle Zoo.  He was happy to finally meet Nyani and have her come along with them.

The June morning was bright and clear.  The air was a bit cool now, but with no clouds in the sky it would warm up very soon. 

“Let’s go to the howler monkeys first,” said Samuel.  “I love to watch them swing and howl.”  

As they walked toward the primate cages, Stacy asked, “Nyani, do you have zoos on Fruitoka?”

“Well, we do have lots of nature preserves and lots of animals, but we don’t have small cages like these.”

little monkey

little monkey

They all laughed at the antics of the monkeys as they flew nimbly through the air among the artificial trees and bars.  One monkey landed on the floor in a corner and ate a kale leaf and part of an orange.

“See what they are eating,” remarked Steve.  “There is an example of your fruit and green leaf diet.”

“Yes,” answered Nyani, “They are given the right foods here..  that’s good.  Samuel, is your body more like these monkeys or more like the body of a tiger?”

Samuel thought for a moment and replied, “more like a monkey, except I can’t swing so good!”

Nyani said, “Yes, and when are at the tiger’s cage later I’ll tell you some of the differences, and how the physical differences show what diets will work best for each animal.”

Stacy and Samuel had fun showing Nyani animals that she had never seen before.  She in turn told them about animals they have on Fruitoka.  The “Keylap” is twice as big as an elephant.

When they finally arrived at the big cat cages at the end of the day, they saw the tiger sleeping on the side of his cage.

“Well,” said Nyani, “What are some of the differences you know about between the monkeys and the tigers?”

Samuel said, “tigers have claws, and monkeys don’t.”

Nyani replied, “Yes, we have carnivores, or meat eaters, on Fruitoka also.  They all have claws for killing and tearing apart flesh.  We, on the other ‘hand’, have hands like the monkeys, with thumbs that can easily pick fruit and eat it.”

Stacy added, “the tiger has four legs, and monkeys have two legs and two arms.”

“Right, all the carnivores have four legs and use their four legs to walk and run.”

Steve volunteered, “Mr. tiger looks kind of tired over there.  Don’t carnivores sleep more of the time.”

“Yes,” added Nyani, “Humans and other primates spend about 1/3 of the time sleeping.  Carnivores usually sleep for over 2/3 of each day.  Another difference you may not know is that carnivores make their own Vitamin C.   You and I need to eat it in our diet.”

“Another difference is in meal size.”  she continued. “Most fruit is the perfect size for us to eat.  We can eat a few pieces for a meal.  Carnivores can eat about one third of their weight at a meal.  When the tiger kills an animal in the wild, he will likely eat the whole thing.”

“I know another one,” said Samuel.  “Carnivores have tails.”

“Good!  Yes, that’s a difference, and they can hear and smell much better than we can.  This is so they can smell their prey.  But, we can see much better in color than most carnivores.  We are able to pick out the colors of ripe fruit.”

Steve added, “I think I’ve got one.  Carnivores have lots of babies at a time, five, six, seven babies.  Humans only have one, and sometimes two.”


Now these are carnivore teeth!

“Yes”, Nyani said.  “And carnivores have rough tongues but we have smooth tongues.  There’s a big difference in our teeth also.  Carnivores have sharp pointed teeth for tearing into their prey.  Our molars are flat for chewing.  Even our method of chewing is different.  Try moving your jaw from side to side.  You can do it, to grind and mash your food, but carnivores can’t move their jaws from side to side.”

“Another difference, one you can’t see, is in how long the intestines are.  Carnivores have a very short digestive system.  Humans and other natural vegetarians have very long intestinal systems to be able to process and get nutrients from the plant food.”

Samuel asked, “Then why do humans think they are carnivores?”

Nyani replied, “I guess many of them have never thought about it.  Also, your food industries want to make lots of money, so they persuade people to eat what will benefit the company.  Carnivores can eat acid-forming foods because this is natural to their bodies.  To have the best health, we need to eat alkaline-forming foods.  They can eat a high-fat diet, but when we do it leads to disease.”

“There are many more differences, but that’s certainly enough for now,” added Nyani.  “Just remember to never make people feel bad about what they eat.  Don’t be pushy or forceful, even with yourself.  True changes come naturally as we learn new truths.”

“Will we ever get to see one of your nature preserves?” said Stacy.

“You just might,” grinned Nyani.  “That would be a lot of fun for all of us.”

  1. June 29th, 2009 at 20:41 | #1

    That’s a terrific way to look at it, Christopher.
    Really interesting, fact wise, and so true.
    “True changes come naturally as we learn new truths.”
    Great job! Thanks. Cheers, Thea :)


  2. Char
    July 10th, 2009 at 15:30 | #2

    You write so simply and make facts clear while interesting. These stories would be great for kids-wish mine weren’t grown or there were grandkids to teach. Thanks, Char


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