A 'Life of Pi' based question
April 18, 2005 7:12 PM   Subscribe

So, if I took Tokyo, flipped it upside down, and shook it, would feral giraffes and hippos (and other non-native animals) really fall out?

I just finished Life of Pi, and the narrator makes that claim two or three times through the course of the novel. Any truth to it?
posted by graventy to Science & Nature (11 answers total)
posted by caddis at 7:15 PM on April 18, 2005

Are there escaped zoo animals living in major cities? It's not unheard of for them to escape - could they survive and thrive out of sight?
posted by Coffeemate at 7:17 PM on April 18, 2005

How cool does Tokyo get in the winter?
posted by gimonca at 7:31 PM on April 18, 2005

posted by bshort at 7:31 PM on April 18, 2005

I don't think you got the point of the novel... It is true because it makes a good story.

(pure tripe, don't get me wrong, but still...)
posted by Chuckles at 7:34 PM on April 18, 2005

In India there are urban cows who subsist on snatched fruits and vegetables from market stalls and rubbish (cows can actually digest cardboard). Here's a picture of one. Here is some more information.

That being said, this info should be looked at in the context of the novel itself.

[[[spoilerspoilerspoiler, don't read further if you haven't read Life of Pi and intend to. You should, by the way, it's great]]]

This foreshadows the ending and gets the reader to accept the "better story". The narrator is trying to get us to accept his preferred version of events rather than the one that the agents of the Japanese insurance company would prefer to put in their report.
posted by Kattullus at 7:35 PM on April 18, 2005

Don't know about Tokyo, but ABC (Alien Big Cat) sightings in the UK are fairly common, whether you believe them or not is up to you. I suppose if a family of big cats can survive England, one is more predisposed to believe in Richard Parker surviving Central America.
posted by Ritchie at 7:45 PM on April 18, 2005

"Urban Street Cows" should be the name of MetaFilter's garage band.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on April 18, 2005

Here's a recent article on a possible panther sighting in Wales. via our simian amigos
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:12 PM on April 18, 2005

If you took Tokyo, flipped it upside down, and shook it, Godzilla would probably show up and fight you to the death. Also lots of black rats would fall out.

But you aren't going to find any large African animals anywhere but the zoo. A hippopotamus or giraffe wandering the streets would be very big news, even in Tokyo.
posted by pracowity at 7:20 AM on April 19, 2005

Imagine how cool it would be to see a giraffe crossing your path in morning traffic; now think of the sense of wonder that thought causes. That's how we're supposed to be reading Life of Pi.
posted by muddgirl at 9:13 AM on April 19, 2005

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