If you think magpies have a reputation for stealing shiney trinkets, you should meet the cheeky monkeys at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire.
These inquisitive and intelligent little rascals come with a warning because they’re known to have a go at swiping pretty much anything that isn’t screwed down. But its worth the risk of a bit of loose bumper being removed just to be in such close proximity with these wild creatures and observe the way they interact with each other and the humans. A few of them jumped on to the roof of the car and were hanging down, gawping at me quizically as if to say ‘thats a very small lion’! I tried to roar, in an effort to retain my dignity, but a rather girly meow came out. Luckily, they didn’t hear it through the windows, they just saw my mouth open, teeth bared, accompanied by my best menacing ‘don’t mess with me’ stare.
Anyway, enough of my antics. John and his family (thats daughters Susan and Natasha along with grand-child) took me with them to Longleat at the weekend. We had such a great time, cruising round the lake with the sea lions, gazing at the gorillas, waving at the elephant who was once mistreated and now have a sanctuary at the Park, watching the wallabies and surveying the stingrays gliding through the water. We went to see the penguins but the smell of fish was so exciting that I was overwhelmed with an urge to sneak into the pond for a quick snack. John persuaded me to stay away from the penguin cave with a few of my favourite treats and, with my tummy now full, I decided to have an afternoon nap.
When I woke up, a pride of lions was strolling by the car. I kept gesturing to them with my paws, calling them with my most ferocious meow, and the lead female turned and gave me a wink before continuing to saunter past.
John and his daughters got some fabulous photos, like this rhinoceros crossing the road in front of us. If you can think of a ‘Why did the rhinoceros cross the road?’ joke, let me know. And check out the muscular silver-back gorilla sitting cross-legged on his territory. Its Nico, the second oldest male gorilla in the world, who turned 52 this year and weighs 200kg (thats 31stone). Longleat really gives you an experience of being close to nature and we had an amazing day out.