What Was The First Zoo In The World?

The famous French poet Charles Baudelaire took great delight in shocking both his friends and strangers.

One of his favorite pranks was to walk a lobster through the streets of Paris on a leash. A few years earlier, the famous Countess of Eglintoune tried to shock her friends in another way.

She would invite them all to her house for a big dinner. When they were seated at the table with their food before them, she would tap on the wall. Out of a hole would come a pack of rats who would eat the guests’ food before they had even had a bite.

When she was sure her guests were properly startled, she would tap on the wall again, and the rats would disappear. Until the 1600’s, wealthy Europeans kept animals for their own entertainment. Then France’s King Louis opened the first zoo in Europe. It lasted until the time of the French Revolution, over 100 years later.

Then the French citizens who had overthrown their king decided that they wanted to free all the animals in the zoo, too. They did, with the exception of the rhinocerous.

The zoo keeper warned them not to expect love from the rhino if they freed him, so they changed their mind.

It was the Chinese who built the first system of zoos. They called them “Parks of Intelligence!”

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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