We visited the new gorilla exhibit at the Como Zoo with the grandkids the other day. While it’s wonderful to see the animals in a more complex, outdoor environment, it always makes me wonder what they think about it.  Have you ever noticed that large mammals (apes, cats, etc.) don’t like to meet your gaze? In fact, it often looks like they avoid it, as they stare in some other direction.  Eye-to-eye confrontation must be too intimidating.

Orangutan at Como Zoo, St. Paul MN

orangutan at Como Zoo, St. Paul, MN

Facing me, but not looking at me…

gorilla female at Como Zoo, St. Paul MN

Her eyes are set so far back in their sockets you can hardly see where she is looking. As she turned her head toward me, she looked down and away.

Male Gorilla at Como Zoo, St. Paul, MN

This big silverback Gorilla was thinking hard about his delicious meal of lettuce., but avoided making contact with all the human eyes admiring him.

grandkids and gorilla

Well, the kids won’t look at me either.

5 thoughts on “Eye-to-eye?

  1. Initially, Sue, I thought you had a new backyard visitor–and then I realized it was the zoo. I love going to the zoo and seeing all of the different animals. Sure, it’s not the same as seeing them in the wild, but I know that I will never see animals like you photographed in the wild (and zoos do a lot to help in the preservation of many of the species).

    • I saw a fantastic photo display of zoo animals once, portraits really, and they were so expressive. Somehow the photographer managed to get eye contact with his subject and get them to communicate. But there is no hope of doing that when there are dozens of spectators oohing and aahing in front of the poor animal. But I would like to try that sometime.

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