Abu Dhabi in late August doesn’t have much in the way of wildlife. Everything that breathes, it seems, is hiding in the shade waiting for sundown, or, in the case of human animals, vacationing in cooler climes, like Bali. But Stasha has asked us to think about animals for the Monday Listicle (inspired in part by her giveaway to the Woodfield Zoo, so if you’re around her neck of the woods, click over to her site and enter her contest!)

Stasha also asked me to come up with the topic for next Monday’s list and I swear, the responsibility has been weighing on me all week. I considered any number of topics and then realized that, given the back-to-school season and my own family’s huge transitions this summer, that I should let David Bowie call the shots on this one. So the topic for next Monday’s list is Ch-ch-ch-changes…Changes. You could list back-to-school sales, or sharpened pencils, or those pesky roots that say “time for a touchup!” (Wait, sorry, maybe that’s just me). Or just a list of Bowie songs…or let his lyrics be your guide.  That’s the great thing about a listicle: anything goes!

And speaking of anything goes, here’s my list of animals. Given my circumstances–and the relative dearth of animals in my life, the exhibits here are quite rare, not often found in the zoo (or, for that matter, in the wild):

1.  Ursus stuffus souvenirus:

That’s Caleb, napping under his bears (and giraffe), all of which have been collected from one or another sporting events. He loves these bears way more than the fancy Steiff animals he was given. And much to the chagrin of his Mets-loving father, Caleb’s favorite is Bearsy Bonds, pre-steroid scandal, from a San Fran Giants game about eight years ago.

2. Rare Arabian Pachyderm:

3. Cattus Nolongerdomesticus Parkus:

We went to a big park at twilight last week and Liam and I thought all the grounds were covered with seagrape leaves and palm fronds. You can imagine our surprise when those leaves suddenly began to scamper around. The entire park was filled with cats. I don’t know if they’re all the products of abandoned animals–expats dumping their pets and leaving town–or what, but it was amazing (and a little sad).  This is as close as I could get to any of them.

4. Gazelleus mosaicus:

Many of the pedestrian underpasses that go under the busy waterfront road up to the Corniche  are decorated inside with mosaics showing scenes from Arab history and culture.

5. Falconus mosaicus:

Falconing has a long tradition in Arabic culture and in fact on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi is a Falcon Hospital, which we want to visit (when it’s not so hot). I bet you didn’t even know that falcons got sick, did you? See what you can learn from a list about animals?

6 & 7.  Abu Dhabi has also experienced sightings recently of mythic creatures, previously only seen in storybooks:

8.  Finally, no trip to the zoo would be complete without a trip to see the monkeys: