The World of Animals according to MIL

Remember when I wrote about the Neumünster Zoo some months ago? Well, we visited the zoo again together with dear mother-in-law as I got a family year ticket from my brother for my birthday. I think I wrote at some point already shortly about some strange things mother-in-law is doing such as calling animals by the wrong name. I actually don’t know anymore when and in which post I wrote about it so here I give you now the complete insanity.

Sea Lion


I know that there are always some animals where the average human doesn’t know the exact name or what the animal is exactly. My crazy Chinese mother-in-law is taking it to an entire different level. It all started with one of the first animals you see at the zoo in a big aquarium. When she saw the fishes swimming she was exclaiming something like “Oh, look at those sharks!”. Nope, it was just a bunch of sturgeon and they actually do look a bit like sharks so both my wife and I didn’t mind it. But then, it came, the disaster from which point onward we both listened very carefully what she called the different animals. We reached a big enclosure with a very big animal swimming around, MIL was like “Ohhh, look at that big sea-lion!”. My wife’s face was showing utter disbelief on what she just heard from her mother. The big animal swimming there and climbing out from time to time just to jump in again was nothing else than a damn big white furry polar bear!  How can she mistaken those two animals? I mean she even posed together with a sea lion a couple of years ago when we visited the Qinling Zoological Park!

Big Fish


Some animals she actually got right such as identifying birds as birds, monkeys as monkeys and the big pig as a big pig. But that was pretty much all she got right. Going around we saw according to her many different kinds of dogs, a huge variety of goats, the occasional tiger and more dogs. We actually also saw a seal which looks a bit similar to a sea-lion but no, for her it was a big fish. I wonder how someone can’t distinguish deers from goats, groundhogs from dogs and  lynx from tigers? The last amusement of the day was when we saw few ponys which she pointed at for Nathan and told him “Look, more goats”.

#Nathancuty with a goat


I offered already to give her as a birthday gift a children learning book about animals, perhaps she might get few more animals right at the next zoo visit. I hope Nathan won’t learn now any weird animal names thanks to his crazy Chinese Granny. It is just strange that she can’t recognize so many animals or just think that they are some goats, or dogs or whatnot. This whole thing is nearly as strange as a few weeks ago when there was a big rainbow in the sky and she was all excited as she has never seen any before in her life (even though even I saw few in China during my trips there…)


Do you have similar troubles as my Chinese mother-in-law when it comes to distinguish animals?

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31 thoughts on “The World of Animals according to MIL”

  1. Lol! Big fish! Quite amusing to hear if not for the fact that Nathan may be picking up on it…haha…did she take you up on the offer of the book? Or maybe she can learn together with Nathan, I find children’s educational videos are always very addictive to listen to…even if you do not want to listen to it…haha..😄

  2. I swear I would just burst out laughing if my MIL called it a big fish. I don’t think my MIL would even go to the zoo. Haha. She doesn’t seem like that type since she’s super neat and hates leaving home. I would love to take her to the zoo one day, especially when we do have kids, but I am almost positive she won’t enjoy it 😀

  3. MIL is hilarious. I am surprised the animals don’t back away from her when she approaches. In fact, from the sounds of it, they seem to like her. I don’t know, but maybe she is getting senile…

    I’ve never had this problem of telling which animal is which. It’s either I know what it is, or I don’t know and I think that’s the case with most people. If I don’t know or am not sure, I will take my time and read the signs outside the animal enclosures rather than go about shouting what I think the animal is.

    Maybe MIL was excited at seeing the rainbow in Germany because it was much more colourful and brighter than the ones in China.

    1. Well, she is 54 now and hasnt shown a sign of getting senile, according to my wife she only got more annoying.
      The rainbow in China pretty much looked the same but then again I think she isnt a person to look up in the sky in the city usually as I do. She would have missed that rainbow here as well without me commenting on it 🙂

  4. Uhm, there is a medical condition in which a person can forget some words… Maybe your MIL forgot all the words related to animals xDD

  5. I’m little surprized by your MIL and animal. After all, a few years back i read in the news how a chinese zoo tried to pass a dog for a lion. The dog was a big breed and received a haircut to resemble a lion.. except it barked! lol
    I also read about how many fake things you can buy in China, so no wonder poor chinese people don’t actually know what certain animals are and so on :/

    The fact that she refuses to learn is worry some, though.

    1. There are indeed tons of fake stuff iN China and I also remember the story about the fake lion in the zoo 🙂
      Sometimes I really wonder why she is not learning at least a bit. We have been alrready in many zoos with her but she still gets so many animals wrong

      1. I assume you don’t have the courage to ask her why she’s calling the animals by the wrong names XD
        I would also assume it’s for fun. But does she only speak Chinese?

      2. Sadly she actually believes/ believed that those animals are the ones she calls them. She only speaks Chinese so conversations are still limited with her 🙂

      3. Oh, wow. It must be that chinese are badly informed.. unless the word can be used to call more objects..
        Try not to get bothered by it too much 😉

      4. I think it is just her. I mean my wife knows those animals or at least what species they belong to and same does my father-in-law. It seems that just MIL lives in some fantasy world 🙂

  6. Ha ha ha! That is hilarious!
    My MIL is the opposite, she was a biology teacher, so she knows all the proper scientific names for the animals and plants, and I know absolutely nothing!

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