The pig tailed macaque

Wanna Fauna?

For me, the best part of traveling is when I get to experience the different and exotic wildlife of different countries. Spending most of my time in the Midwest makes it hard to come across interesting flora and fauna in the wild unless I travel to a unique location.

The closest I have come to seeing something exotic this year is when I saw a ferret running through the woods while on a week-long hike. I have a friend whose most exciting experience with wildlife in the middle of the country was a close encounter with a mountain lion while on a hunting trip; not the kind of excitement I tend to seek.

The good thing is that I don’t stay in the Midwest for extended periods unless my job calls for it. I’ve had some pretty nifty wildlife encounters by exploring places like Australia, taking safaris in the heart of Africa, hopping on Galapagos Islands cruises, and even exploring Bangkok. Here is a couple that hit a soft spot every time I think about them:

The Heart of Africa

Of course, I must include my journey to Africa on my exotic animal list. It’s hard for most people to not think of animals when they conjure up images of the great African plainlands. On my trip to Africa, I was lucky enough to witness one of my life’s most impressive things. I saw a group of lions try to attack a hippopotamus, only to make their attempts futile when the giant beast decided to fight back. The hippo is one of the most aggressive and violent creatures, contrary to its depiction in popular culture. It is the number one killer of man on the entire continent (including lions, crocodiles, and cape buffalo).

Hippopotamus in Africa
Hippopotamus in Africa


Australia is the marsupial haven of the planet. While journeying through the outback, I saw kangaroos, wallabies, dingos, and too many emus to count. The platypus was the most interesting animal I encountered in the land down under. Before going to Australia, I always thought of the platypus as an awkward and goofy-looking duck. Our tour guide on the trip informed me that the platypus was actually able to generate venom through spurs on its hind limbs.

Sea Lions in Galapagos Island Fauna
Sea Lions in Galapagos Island Fauna

The Galapagos Islands

Aldabra Giant Tortoise
Aldabra Giant Tortoise

While taking a cruise to this unique archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, I saw one of the most majestic creatures I’ve ever witnessed; the Aldabra Giant Tortoise. The species is endemic to the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in Seychelles, but you can also find them on Galapagos Island.

These creatures aren’t like the garden-variety turtles your kids find roaming through the backyard and keep in your basement. They can live up to 200 years and grow to over 600 pounds.

Monkeys in Bangkok

The pig tailed macaque
The pig tailed macaque

If you’ve seen The Hangover 2, you know firsthand how cool it would be to have a monkey do your bidding. Before I went to Thailand’s largest city, I didn’t know that citizens dressed the monkeys up and had them perform in a monkey theater. They are trained to lip-sync to songs and perform tricks for an audience. Good luck getting anyone in the states to train a group of monkeys to perform on American Idol.

I am so grateful that I get to travel the world to see more than squirrels and weasels in my backyard. If you’re an animal fanatic like me, I suggest packing up and flying halfway across the globe to see what you’re missing.

Guestpost by : Kate Himalaya

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Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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