The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Visiting the Zoo, in Pittsburgh

with 5 comments


– photo by Mitch Waxman

Our Lady of the Pentacle and myself paid a recent weekend visit to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium. An amazing institution dating back ultimately to 1898, the Zoo is, but one’s empathy is nevertheless activated when encountering ‘near peer’ intelligent creatures that are living in such captive circumstances. Saying that, these critters would probably be dead or entirely extinct were they still out in the wild and living rough. The Veterinarians and Zoology people here are devoted to the health and relative happiness of these creatures.

These Gorillas are likely treated better than we would treat our fellow humans condemned to a prison, so there’s that at least. Wonder if that gorilla pictured above has ever flown a kite to the next cell block, or learned to make pruno from fruit juice and bread in a plastic bag.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I screwed up my shots on the aquarium side of the operation, which is difficult shooting to start with, by getting too fancy and exact with the camera settings. To be fair though, it’s hard under the best of circumstance to focus through half inch or inch thick plexi or glass tank walls. Especially so when they’re all smudged up with little kid fingerprints. Saying that, missed those aquarium shots entirely.

That’s an Orangutan, I’m told. Old man of the forest, as they’re known in Asia.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Elephants were inside their enclosure, in a large concrete building which acts as their stable. Elephants, as it turns out, have a very particular and strong smelling musk. It took about twenty minutes for that smell to waft away after we transited through. I recently was exposed to a poll, one which revealed that about 9% of Americans think they can win a one on one fight with an elephant. Elephants are Batman class opponents, I would mention.

Empathy was especially felt for the three species pictured above, and for the staff of professionals who care for the needs of these intelligent and emotionally complex animals.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The Komodo Dragons, on the other hand? Eff them. Carrion eating monstrosities with tiny sinister minds, isolated island leftovers from a time when their kind ruled, Komodo’s are literal abominations. I’m quite the chauvinist when discussing the Reptiles vs. we Mammals, as you may know. The Komodo is the largest of the Monitor Lizards, has a venomous bite, and infects it’s prey during that bone crushing bite with highly virulent strains of Botulinum.

That thing was eyeballing me like it wanted a taste. Fire. Fire fixes everything.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Outside, there were all sorts of critters in enclosures. Literally – Lions, Tigers, and Bears. What I mentally refer to as a “Gigalope” is what the rest of you might call a Giraffe. Y’know they’re huge intellectually, but it’s hard to really get a sense of how big these things actually are until you see one walking around.

Nearby, a fight between two Zebras broke out, which caused every other out doors critter to go take a look at the fence. The Cheetahs were particularly interested in the Donnybrook.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

They also have a Rhino at the zoo, which is probably as close to a dinosaur as anything you’ll ever get to see – except for that effin Komodo Dragon.

Did you know that the primary cause of death amongst Komodo Dragons are other Komodo Dragons?

Back tomorrow with something different, from the Paris of Appalachia, at your Newtown Pentacle.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 21, 2023 at 11:30 am

5 Responses

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  1. I also have mixed feelings about zoos. When they are doing things right it’s admirable. I don’t even want to know about the ones not up to date, I can’t handle the sad.

    Jaye Haviland

    February 21, 2023 at 12:05 pm

  2. How come you never photographed the zoo in Queens? Or the Central Park one?

    georgetheatheist . . . info pleeze

    February 21, 2023 at 1:34 pm

  3. Love your wandering meandering narration.


    February 21, 2023 at 2:59 pm

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