Thursday, March 18, 2010

Of camels and men

We went to the zoo one time in February. It must have been early February. There was snow on the ground. It was dry and cold and in the low 20's, but was a really nice sunny day. We rode the Zoo Tram while there because John had trouble walking.

Most of the animals were inside. The camels, to our surprise, were out in the pasture. There was a male with two females. They were up by the gate where they go back in to the sheds. The tour guide told us that they were let out into the pasture daily for grazing but were returned to the shed and pen yard at 5pm every day in the cold weather. It was about 3 pm in the afternoon and the male had the two females corralled up near the gate. The male was behind them, keeping them from going out into the pasture to graze. The females stood their patiently,chewing cud or whatever they do.

Every day, the guide explained, the male camel herded the females up to the gates. The male repeated this at the same time every afternoon to wait to be let in to the sheds. Her comment was that he was rather bossy with the females. It was always early afternoon and he was consistent.

I think of this behavior often because it reminds me of the sort of thing that I see men do all the time with women. It can be protective and meant to be helpful but still it looks like herding. I seem to notice many more examples of this these days now that I don't live with them. And now, when I do see it happen, the image of the camels comes to mind. It is funny how these characteristics have transmuted through the animal kingdom. I really like men but that was one of their more irritating characteristics. I don't miss it (I guess).

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