Today, the night in our seriously overpriced dodgy little hotel in the city was made worthwhile by our visit to the Zoo. Neither of us are big fans of zoos and keeping animals in cages, but we had been told so many good things about Belize zoo...including by a wildlife biologist who said they do great things...so we wanted to see what it was all about. It turned out to be a great day and will definitely go down as one of the trip highlights.
This zoo really does have a different feel to it. All the enclosures are just the natural countryside with fences built in and they are all a decent size. The main thing however is that none of their animals are taken from the wild. A lot of them were rescued from being illegal pets, others were donated from other zoos and some were born there so know nothing different. They do a lot of rehabilitation work and they are trying to keep certain animals from going extinct...i.e the Jaguar, they are one of the only Jaguar sanctuaries in the world, which means this is one of the few places you will actually get to see them.
We were up there quite early so there were very few other people around, which meant that all the animals were quite active, having not yet been scared away by the hoards of coaches that would arrive later in the day. We made a bit of a bee line for the jaguars and we managed to catch them playing with each other. They were two, side by side who were running up and down, crouching in the wooded area and then leaping out at high speed. They were just doing what jaguars do and we found out later we were really lucky to see that as later in the day they were much more subdued because of all the people. We could have sat watching them for hours as they are just such beautiful creatures.
All the animals we saw were really cool, especially the parrots who were total characters and who I'm sure were acting cute for the cameras! We spent a good 4 hours there, and just when we were about to leave we had the offer to hold a Boa Constrictor, which was so so cool! Although when Ian had it around his neck it started to slide down his back, making a loop around his neck...given the name of the snake he was understandably a little nervous!!
We could have stayed longer but we needed to catch our boat to Caye Caulker, bid farewell to our slithery friend and hopped back on a bus.