Animal ABCs

By Wayne Visser

If you don’t know what to do
Or you feeling mad or blue
Why not go down to the zoo
And check what’s what and see who’s who?
(This rhyme gives you a clue or two)

A is for Aarvark

There is no better place to start
Than with the wacky weird AARDVARK
With donkey ears and piggy nose
And monkey tail and claws for toes
Could there be a stranger beast?
And that’s not all, he likes to feast
His sticky tongue on termite ants
(The kind you don’t want in your pants!)
He’s rather shy – you would be too
If you looked like him down at the zoo

B is for Bear

Now can you see (but please don’t stare)
There is a fuzzy wuzzy BEAR
She could be black or brown or white
Or blue with spots (no, that ain’t right!)
She likes to munch on juicy fruits
Or smoke a pipe of bamboo shoots
But don’t you kiss or hug her tight
She’ll bite your head off with one bite
(except for teddy bears like Pooh)
Which bear will you see at the zoo?

C is for Crocodile

See that log with a toothy smile?
Don’t be fooled, it’s a CROCODILE
With scaly skin and googly eyes
His wangled teeth should win a prize
But don’t say “ugly”, if he hears
He’ll start to cry crocodile tears
And mind you don’t stand on his head
He’ll chomp you like a piece of bread
He lived when dinosaurs lived too
And now he’s living at the zoo 

D is for Dolphin

If you prefer a friendly grin
Then you should meet the dear DOLPHIN
You’ll find her in the swimming pool
She thinks her moves are super cool
She’ll flash and splash and show you tricks
Like fetching balls and doing flicks
She makes a happy squeaky sound
And gobbles fish up by the pound
What’s more, she counts to twenty two
And waves to greet you at the zoo 

E is for Elephant

What’s next? Let me give you a hint
It’s huge, yes it’s the ELEPHANT
He sucks up water through his nose
Then squirts it out just like a hose
He likes to bath in dirty mud
And when he runs his feet go thud
But if you’re quiet, you’ll hear him rumble
That’s his language of the jungle
He’s just a gentle giant who
Gives kids free showers at the zoo

F is for Fox

Now if you look inside that box
You just might find the wily FOX
They say she’s clever and she’s sly
And you may ask the question “why?”
It’s just because she likes farm hens
And steals them right out of their pens
Or maybe it’s her bushy tail
That covers up her secret trail?
Nobody really has a clue
But you might spot her at the zoo 

G is for Giraffe

A creature that will make you laugh
Is super-tall, it’s the GIRAFFE
His neck is stretched to touch the sky
He must get dizzy, it’s so high!
You’ll see him eating purple leaves
Right from the tops of thorny trees
Since he’s so tall you’d surely think
He’d need a straw to help him drink?
I have no doubt he will see you
But will you see him at the zoo? 

H is for Hippopotamus

Down by the lake, what’s all the fuss?
She opens up her mouth so wide
You see her breakfast deep inside
And when her head is not submerged
She gets her ears cleaned by the birds
And that’s not all, I swear there’s more
She walks across the zoo lake floor
I bet when she yawns, you do too
But don’t get tired, you’re at the zoo!

I is for Iguana

While you’re eating your banana
Why not visit an IGUANA
You’ll find him in the reptile pit
Counting flies and spitting grit
His forked tongue licks his lizard lips
He wants to taste your fingertips
His other treats are mice and bugs
And if he’s hungry, even slugs
Imagine finger-mouse-slug stew!
That’s what’s for dinner at the zoo 

J is for Jackass

Now tell your mom you’re not being crass
But can you see the wild JACKASS?
He’s not a donkey or a horse
He’s half way in between of course
They say he’s stubborn (not just thick)
He likes the carrot, not the stick
And if you only feed him straw
He will protest – “hee-haw! hee-haw!”
And if you’re called a jackass too
At least you’ve seen one at the zoo

K is for Kangaroo

Guess who’s hopping glad to see you?
It’s bopping, bouncing KANGAROO
I’ll tell you something, she can box
She’ll knock you right out of your socks!
And mommy kanga’s got a pouch
Where baby roo can just hang out
With all that jumping, kanga makes
The most delicious roo milkshakes
I’m sure you’re mighty thirsty too
From all your bouncing round the zoo

L is for Lion

I hope that you have nerves of iron
It’s time for you to meet the LION
As you well know, he’s king of beasts
And he thinks kids make tasty feasts
When he roars, your legs will shiver
And his teeth will make you quiver
But in the zoo he’s behind bars
So thank your lucky lucky stars
He’s just a pussy cat that grew
And now he’s king of all the zoo

M is for Monkey

Now what’s that over there, come see
The swooping whooping mad MONKEY
Look! He’s making silly faces
Oops! He’s chewing on your laces
Eeew! Now his finger’s in his nose
He’s just like you, without the clothes
Even though he is more hairy
That’s just evolutionary
He’s from your family tree, it’s true
He’s like your cousin at the zoo

N is for Night Owl

Let’s not forget the feathered fowl
That fly the skies, like Miss NIGHT OWL
She likes to hunt for squeaky mice
And scoffs them without thinking twice
Her head can turn the whole way ‘round
(Just like some mothers’ heads, I’ve found)
She sees so much with those big eyes
That’s probably why she’s very wise
She’s knows ta-whit, ta-what, ta-who
She is the brains behind the zoo

O is for Octopus

It sure would be a shock to miss
The multi-coloured OCTOPUS
Go shake his hand (don’t hesitate)
He’s holding out not one but eight!
His skin can change to different hues
(It’s hard to find him matching shoes!)
And watch him close, or when you blink
He’ll squirt your shirt with purple ink
He’s got not one heart or just two
But three, as you’ll see at the zoo 

P is for Platypus

If there’s a prize for wackiness
It goes to the cute PLATYPUS
He has a bill just like a duck
But cannot quack (what rotten luck!)
He swims in streams just like a fish
But has no fins (to swash and swish)
His tail is like a beaver’s (flat)
But he lays eggs (imagine that!)
It’s like his parts are stuck with glue
From other creatures at the zoo

Q is for Quagga

To spot the next one will be tougher
Have you ever seen a QUAGGA?
Half her body’s streaked with straight stripes
Like the zebra, in blacks and whites
The other half is brown and faint
As if she just ran out of paint
And even though she’s so distinct
The sad thing is, she’s gone extinct
(That means there’s less than just a few)
But still, her photo’s at the zoo

R is for Rhinoceros

There’s still a few treats left for us
Can you find the RHINOCEROS?
He’s got two horns upon his nose
(But not the kind a jazz band blows)
And if you tried to tickle him
He wouldn’t feel it through his skin
His eyesight is not very good
I bet he thinks you’re made of wood
(Let’s tap your head, see if it’s true)
Now what else is there at the zoo? 

S is for Snake

I’m ssssure there can be no misssstake
That ssssilky rope is Mrssss ssssnake
She likes to sssslither in the ssssun
Or sssshed her sssscaley sssskin for fun
Ssssilently she sssschemes and plots
To tie her ssssupper up in knots
And then she sssswallows as they ssssquirm
Like ssssucking up a sssslimy worm
Sssso sssstep back if she sssstares at you
Or you’ll be ssssnack food at the zoo

T is for Tortoise

Slow down, you wouldn’t want to miss
The peaceful plodding Sir TORTOISE
If you’re patient and kind as well
He may just come out of his shell
It’s true he’s slow around the track
Because his house is on his back
But still he won the rabbit race
By sticking to his steady pace
His slowness helps him grow old too
So he’s the grandpa at the zoo

U is for Unicorn

What magic beast has just one horn?
Of course, the fabled UNICORN
It’s possible to see her, but
Only if your eyes are shut
And only if you have been kind
Then she appears there in your mind
Her mane is laced with pretty flowers
And you can ride her back for hours
I’ve heard all wishes can come true
If you just glimpse her at the zoo 

V is for Vulture

Now here’s a bird that’s lacking culture
Have you ever seen the VULTURE?
His beak is hooked, his shoulders hunch
He likes a bag of bones for lunch
I hope at home you never eat
The way he does (on rotting meat)
He’s always fighting over food
Quite simply put, he’s vile and rude
But give a bird respect that’s due
He’s cleans things up around the zoo 

W is for Whale

Look over there, a mighty tail
I bet that’s from the big blue WHALE
She’s bigger than a car or house
So big that you feel like a mouse
And have you ever heard her song?
Sometimes it’s several hours long
I wonder if she dreams big dreams
And if she’s happy as she seems
Why don’t you ask her if it’s true
When next you see her at the zoo?

X is for X-Thing

I’m sure you’re wondering what is next
Well, so am I, it’s called an “X”
That means it’s anything you like
Maybe a monster nicknamed Mike?
Or dinosaur without a head?
Or peanut butter fish called Fred?
It could be just your favourite cat?
Or zog from space, come for a chat?
Whatever you decide to choose
We’ll see that X-thing at the zoo 

Y is for Yak

It’s nearly time for going back
But first let’s go and see the YAK
He used to live in far Tibet
(A place you’ve never seen, I’ll bet)
He’s like a cow, but he’s more bold
His woolly coat’s made for the cold
His milk is used for buttered tea
I think that’s weird, would you agree?
It’s good to find out something new
What better place than at the zoo

Z Is For Zebra

Last but not least is dear Debra
She’s the stripy friendly ZEBRA
She made the trip from Africa
Where wildlife is fantastica
She’ll tell you how when she got flyin’
She’d outrun the fastest lion
Now she lives a life more tranquil
And she’s secretly quite thankful
She’s always happy to see you
And hopes you’ll come back to the zoo


So now you’ve done the thing to do
(I hope you’re not still sad and blue)
And since you’ve been down to the zoo
To check what’s what and see who’s who
Why don’t you tell a friend or two?

Wayne Visser © 2008

Related pages

 Page Wishing Leaves (book)

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