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Zoo showcasing 'five evil animals' ahead of Dragon Boat Festival

2013/06/04 16:54:07

Taipei, June 4 (CNA) An exhibition featuring animals traditionally mislabeled as sinister symbols is currently on display at Taipei Zoo to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, seen as a time when evil spirits are awakened, zoo officials said Tuesday.

Snakes, scorpions, centipedes, toads and geckos -- also known as the "five poisons" -- were believed in ancient Chinese culture to be evil and their spirits were thought to "possess" unfortunate human beings during the festival.

But zoo official Lin Hui-chen said the zoo hopes its exhibition, which runs until June 30, can help break the myth and raise awareness of animal protection.

Building on the momentum of the "Year of the Snake," Lin said, some of the creatures most feared by human beings will have a chance to show their true colors.

"We put the exhibition in the Amphibian and Reptile House because presumably people entering that building have some interest in those creatures," she said.

The exhibition will feature six species: brown spotted pit vipers, emperor scorpions, Chinese red-headed centipedes, Asian common toads, Tokay geckos and Mexican red knee tarantulas.

The tarantulas were brought in as possible substitutes for geckos to appease skeptics, Lin explained, as scientifically speaking, the reptile is not poisonous.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)