Why can’t you get drugs at the zoo?
Because the parrots eat ‘em all (paracetamol)!
Now that I’ve got Sam’s bad joke out of the way, I can write a little about the more interesting creatures we saw at Natura Artis Magistra, or the Artis Royal Zoo.
My favourite was the axolotl, which is a species of salamander whose larvae do not undergo complete metamorphosis, and as a result remains aquatic and has gills. The translation of “axolotl” is “water monster”, which is apposite seeing what the creature looks like.
Another interesting creature in the aquarium, which by the way was housed in a historic building and quite special, was the albino lungfish. It is without a doubt one of the most hideous animals I’ve seen, but is very interesting because it has underdeveloped gills and hence obtains oxygen through lungs, unlike all other fish.
The rest of the zoo was fairly similar to the Singapore zoo, with the regular residents such as a selection of primates, avian and bovine creatures, etc. That’s not to say it wasn’t beautifully laid out, and I enjoyed taking photographs of many of the animals. The savanna in particular was quite something, because it was right next to Entrepotdok, so anyone living in the flats would have a view of an Amsterdam canal, and then across that an African savanna with giraffes and zebras.