Last week the German city of Cologne went wild for a day as 14 animals escaped from the city’s zoo. But no need for ‘a-llama’…the animals that escaped came from a petting zoo so they were cute and cuddly rather than man-eating beasts. The runaways included: a llama, 9 sheep*, 2 donkeys, a pony and a dwarf bull.
This is in no way the first time that animals have invaded an urban area, and Madrid has had it’s share of strange animal encounters over the last few months. In March a man was rushed to hospital after an incident with a rattlesnake in a park in Tetuan. The man claimed to have found and tried to pick up the snake while he was out walking in the park. The snake reacted by biting him on the arm. The man arrived at the hospital and told doctors he needed the anti-venom for a Californian rattlesnake which the hospital were able to obtain from a local zoo. Later the snake was found dead in the park. What was a Californian rattlesnake doing in a Madrileňo park you may be wondering? Well, the man’s knowledge of the snake along with his story of trying to pick up the snake led police to suspect he was the owner of the illegal pet rather than believe he came across the snake by chance.
While snakes are slithering around the north of Madrid, in the west of Madrid there was another very strange animal incident…quite literally a case of a fish out of water. Last year a dolphin was found by a dog walker in Casa de Campo. The man’s sausage dog discovered a dead dolphin in the middle of the park. This mystery has been left unsolved as police have no idea how the sea creature came to be found in the middle of the landlocked city of Madrid.
On the subject of animals, some classes at GNP have been learning animal English this week by comparing the onomatopoeia of English animals to Spanish ones. For example, an English dog says, ‘woof woof’ as opposed to the Spanish, ‘bow-wow’. An English owl ‘twit-twoos’. And funniest of all is the English cockerel who wakes people up with, ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ whereas in Spain you’d apparently hear, ‘ki-kiri-ki’.
But it seems both English and Spanish cats agree that the way you say hello is, ‘meow’. But all our students know by now that English pronunciation has no rules so try saying these words aloud:
*sheep is an example of an irregular plural noun in English which takes the same form as the singular; 1 sheep, 2+ sheep. Other examples include fish, whale and deer.
Vocabulario de interés
(noun) petting zoo: an area of a zoo with animals you can touch (pet)
(adjective) cuddly: a toy or animal which is soft and you want to hug it
(verb) to wonder: to want to know something, to be curious
(phrasal verb) to come across: to find by accident/unexpectedly
(idiom) a fish out of water: a person in an unfamiliar/unsuitable situation