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April 18, 2013

Thirteen Favorite Animal Encounters

Thursday Thirteen

Regular visitors to my blog will know how much I enjoy travel. When the travel is combined with seeing animals in their natural habitat, I’m there because there is something very special about viewing animals on their home turf.

Here are some of my favorite animal encounters:

Thirteen Favorite and Memorable Animal Encounters

1. Camel – I like camels, and I’ve met quite a few during my travels through the Middle East and Asia, but my favorite meeting was in Egypt. We met up with a herd of camels consisting of mothers and juveniles. Once we mounted our camels, we ambled along with the rest of the herd. It was fun and relaxing. This juvenile camel was very curious and wanted to investigate me at close quarters.

Shell's Camel, Egypt 

2. Giraffe – During a visit to Kenya we visited a giraffe reserve, not far from Nairobi. There you can feed the giraffes and observe them at close quarters. I’ll never forget their abrasive tongues and the feel of giraffe slobber. It was a fun visit!


3. Whale – I’ve been whale watching in lots of different locations including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and Maine. These huge creatures are majestic, and it’s always thrilling to see them in person. This photo of a sperm whale was taken near Kaikoura in New Zealand.

Sperm Whale

4. Baboon – We stayed in cabins in Uganda, and they had a small shop where they sold chocolate including Mars bars. The local kids selling slingshots at the gate should have clued us in. Those baboons went around in gangs, and the animals actually mugged some of the people in our group and stole their Mars bars.

5. Dolphin – I went for a day trip from Auckland to dolphin watch. Once we found the dolphins we spent ages watching them play and surf the bow water.

6. Alpaca – These guys just have so much character. I’d love to own one of these. I guess I need to get some land first.


7. Moose – Hubby and I came across a queue of cars when we were driving through the Grand Teton area. They had stopped to check out this bull moose that was calmly grazing while tourists clicked photos.


8. Rhino – When we visited Chitwan National Park in Nepal, we were privileged to see this rhino and baby. It was worth crawling out of our beds early in the morning.

Rhino & baby, Chitwan National Park

9. Snake – We don’t have snakes in New Zealand so any encounter is memorable. Hubby was playing a round of golf on Lindeman Island, which is in the Whitsunday group in Australia. We’d been told there were no snakes on the island. Someone should have told the snake I almost stood on while striding down the fairway! I started looking where I was walking after that.

10. Takahe – It was thought the takahe, one of New Zealand’s native flightless birds was extinct but they were rediscovered in 1945. They’re still very endangered, and are now mostly on offshore islands, which are pest free.


11. Elephants – we’ve seen elephants in Africa and also in Asia. They’re such cool creatures. This photo of the baby elephant was taken in Kenya.

Baby elephant, kenya

12. Panda – We visited China two years ago. I wanted  to walk on the Great Wall, see the terracotta soldiers and visit the panda. Not only did I see the panda, I got to hold one. The money raised from tourists goes back into the care and research of pandas. It was worth every dollar.

Panda Shelley

13. Gorilla – My number one animal encounter was with gorillas in Rwanda. I cannot begin to express how magical this was but can still feel the awe and excitement as I watched these animals in the wild. I have an essay about our gorilla encounter on my website.

Gorilla, Rwanda

Do you have a memorable animal encounter to share?


  1. Anthony North

    Great animal encounters. Enjoyed the post.

  2. CountryDew

    No snakes in New Zealand? Wow! They are all over the place here in the U.S. Not a fan of them, either. I am one of the few people I know who can “smell” snakes – black snakes smell like cucumber, rattlesnakes and a few others smell like freshly turned earth.

    • Shelley Munro

      Smelling snakes sounds like a great skill to possess. Everyday, I’m thankful we don’t have snakes when our puppy plays in the long grass.

  3. Kimberly Menozzi

    SQUEEEE!!! You got to hold a PANDA!!!! I’m so jealous!

    • Shelley Munro

      Next to seeing the gorillas, it’s one of my all-time exciting memories.

  4. Jennifer Leeland

    That Alpaca is cool! And I love the picture of you with the panda bear.

    • Shelley Munro

      They’re cute animals. I like them so much. They’re soft too.

  5. Colleen@LooseLeafNotes

    We have bear, deer, fox, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, snakes and skunk right in my front yard. I had never heard of Takahe, kinda like a chicken?

    • Shelley Munro

      Colleen, the takahe is like a large swamp hen, but it grazes on tussock and other grasses. Like many of New Zealand’s native birds, it is flightless.

  6. Brinda Berry

    Holding a panda is now on my bucket list! OMG. :)

    • Shelley Munro

      Brinda, they are so cute and suprisingly heavy. He calmly munched on his bamboo and posed.

  7. Mary Kirkland

    I didn’t know there were no snakes in New Zealand. How interesting.

    I haven’t seen many animals in the wild but when we used to go hiking we came across some wild rodents, squirrels, gophers, and mice.

    Of course my favorite encounter was with the big ole wild rat that took up residence in the work shed one winter. Ken found him living near the water heater, for warmth most likely and told me about him. He was huge! So we set out some food and a bowl of water for him and he ate it so we kept this up each day until he moved on.

    • Shelley Munro

      LOL – I bet the rat enjoyed his treats.

  8. Mr Munro

    If it is on your bucket list make sure you have buckets full of cash. Definetly not the cheapest photo opportunity. But we could see the money was invested back into their research. The nursery was as high tech as any hospital with baby incubators helping care for the tiny Pandas! It was a great experience but Shelley is more photogenic than I so she got to cuddle the Panda!

  9. Alice Audrey

    Wow, you have had some seriously up close encounters. Probably my most exotic was holding a lion cub for pictures in a mall.

    • Shelley Munro

      I saw some lion cubs on TV last night (on the news). I’d love to hold one of them.

  10. Heather

    Thanks for sharing some of your photos and experiences, Shelley. My most memorable animal encounter was with a black bear at Bear Country USA in South Dakota.

    While driving through the preserve, we stopped for a lumbering bear. He took note of the grasshoppers stuck in the grill and hood of the car and proceded to have a snack. We were laughing so hard over his antics my one friend started to hyperventilate.

    Only the guy directly behind us in a long queue of cars could see the cause of the hold-up and was laughing almost as much as we were.

    • Shelley Munro

      Oh, Heather. I would have laughed too. That sounds hysterical, especially since he held up traffic.

  11. Adelle Laudan

    Oh how I envy your freedom to travel. Thanks for giving us a glimpse of places we’ve never been. Great photography! Happy T13!

    • Shelley Munro

      Thanks, Adele. Travel is definitely a passion.

  12. Maria Zannini

    You’re encounters are far cooler than mine. Most of mine are farm-related. Raising the big birds (emu and rheas) had me in several newspapers and once on tv.

    Chickens keep me far less conspicuous. LOL.

    • Shelley Munro

      But you do get to have fresh eggs and chicken dinners!

  13. Shawna {The Blue Muse}

    Incredible photos. The alpaca picture makes me smile! So neat to catch a glimpse of these creatures up close. Thanks!

    • Shelley Munro

      That alpaca has an attitude all right. He looks as if he’s talking.

  14. Angela Brown

    So many wonderful animals and animal interactions. Oh I love enjoying these adventures vicariously through you.

    • Shelley Munro

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, Angela.

  15. Sandra Cox

    Wow, you have had some wonderful experiences. I’d love to whale watch.

    • Shelley Munro

      I hope you get a chance to go whale watching. These mammals are so incredible and awe-inspiring up closer.

  16. Ciara Knight

    I’m so jealous that you’ve gotten to pet and hold so many amazing animals!!

    • Shelley Munro

      Lots of great memories :)

  17. Novroz

    Awww…you and the Panda is the cutest. You have traveling a lot…so cool.

    My memorable animal encounter is when I met a very tame salt water crocodile, he belongs to one of reptile lovers I met in a reptile show.

  18. The Gal Herself

    i rode an elephant once. That’s my exotic animal encounter. BTW, I loved the photo of you with the panda. You both look so happy!