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Why you should teach your children how to recognize wild animals

February 24th, 2005 · 3 Comments

Plenty of baby books teach H is for Hippo, J is for Jaguar, K is for Kangaroo. While most suburban American children won’t need to be able to identify L is for Lemur, ring-tails can be common…

At Vancouver’s Stanley Park, on our way to the aquarium Sunday afternoon, I unbuckled Elisabeth and put her on the sidewalk before going to unload another child from the van, as is my routine.

Suddenly she started yelling “‘Acoon! ‘Accon!” I looked to see a raccoon in the woods along the parking lot, only two feet from our two year old and coming closer.


As a microbiologist, I’m not crazy about my kids coming into contact with potentially crazy animals. My daughters are not fond of vaccinations either (the rabies series is intense). So I quickly shepherded them off the sidewalk and into the parking lot. The raccoon seemed tame, standing on its feet (probably almost as tall as a two year old) and coming close to Ted. The incident reminded me that it can be important to teach children at an early age to be able to identify animals, although the exotic ones may not be necessary.

Then again for kids living in Simi Valley near Los Angeles this week, L may be for Lion or Liger on the loose

Update 2/26/05: The large cat on the loose near Los Angeles turned out to be a tiger which was killed Wednesday.

Tags: homeschool

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Randy Charles Morin // Feb 24, 2005 at 11:50 am

    I haven’t been to Stanley Park since 1986-7. I have to take my kids, before they get caught up in real life (like their dad).

  • 2 Kirsten Bole // Feb 24, 2005 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve got some pictures somewhere of some guy feeding a few Stanley Park raccoons out of his hand – he had them coming up to him, standing on their hind legs, and taking the food. I don’t have to tell you what a bad idea that is. But I was still riveted.

  • 3 Richard // Feb 26, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    Deb: What are you drawing?
    Napoleon Dynamite: A liger.
    Deb: What’s a liger?
    Napoleon Dynamite: It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic.

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