Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

Our world-renowned San Diego Zoo started with a roar — literally. On a warm  September 16 in 1916, a century and a day ago, Dr. Harry Milton Wegeforth was driving back to his office with his brother after performing surgery. As they rode past Balboa Park, Dr. Harry heard a lion roaring, one of the animals left over in cages from a small zoo exhibit in the recently closed 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition. Boldly and farsightedly, Dr. Harry turned to his brother and mused: “Wouldn’t it be splendid if San Diego had a zoo! You know, I think I’ll start one.” And he did, and dedicated it to the children of San Diego.

In honor of this extraordinary man and our unsurpassed zoo, I exhibit here a menagerie of animals that run and jump and fly and swim and crawl and burrow through our beastly English language:

Human beings, proclaims one dictionary, are distinguished from the other animals “by a notable development of brain with a resultant capacity for speech and abstract reasoning.” Perhaps so, but how truly different is our species from our fellow organisms with whom we share the planet?

I mean holy cow, holy cats and holy mackerel — a little bird told me that the human race is filled with congressional hawks and doves who fight like cats and dogs ’til the cows come home, Wall Street bulls and bears who make a beeline for the goose that lays the golden egg, cold fish and hot-doggers, early birds and night owls, lone wolves and social butterflies, young lions and old crows and lame ducks, sitting ducks and dead ducks.

Some people have a whale of an appetite that compels them to eat like pigs (not birds), drink like fish, stuff themselves to the gills, hog the lion’s share, and wolf their elephantine portions until they become plump as partridges. Still others are batty, squirrelly, bug-eyed, cockeyed cuckoos who are mad as march hares and look like something the cat dragged in; crazy as coots, loons, or bedbugs; and who come at us like bats out of hell with their monkeyshines and drive us buggy with their horsing around.

Other people are horny studs on the prowl for other party animals, strutting peacocks who preen and fish for compliments, clotheshorses who put on the dog with their turtlenecks and hush puppies, young bucks and pony-tailed foxy chicks in puppy love who want to get hitched, or cool cats and kittenish lovebirds who avoid stag parties to bill and coo and pet and paw each other in their love nests.

Dog my cats! It’s a bear of a task to avoid meeting catty, shrewish, bitchy vixens with bees in their bonnets whose pet peeve and sacred cow is that all men are swine and chauvinist pigs and in their doghouse. Other brutes who get your goat and ruffle your feathers are antsy, backbiting, crabby, pigheaded old buzzards, coots and goats who are no spring chickens, who are stubborn as mules and who grouse, bug, badger, dog and hound you like squawking, droning, waspish gadflies that stir up a hornets’ nest and make a mountain out of a molehill.

As we continue to separate the sheep from the goats and to pigeonhole the “human” race, we encounter catnapping, slothful sluggards; harebrained jackasses who, like fish out of water, doggedly think at a snail’s pace; dumb bunnies and dumb clucks who run around like chickens with their heads cut off; bird-brained dodos who are easily gulled, buffaloed and outfoxed; asinine silly gooses who lay an egg whenever, like monkey-see-monkey-do,  they parrot and ape every turkey they see; clumsy oxen who are bulls in china shops; and top dogs on their high horses, big fish in small ponds and cocky bullies high up in the pecking order who rule the roost and never work for chicken feed.

Leapin’ lizards, we can scarcely get through a day without meeting crestfallen, pussyfooting chickens who stick their heads in the sand; henpecked underdogs who get goose pimples and butterflies and turn tail; scared rabbits who play possum and cry crocodile tears before they go belly up; spineless jellyfish who clam up with a frog in their throat whenever the cat gets their tongue; mousy worms who quail and flounder and then, quiet as mice, slink off and return to the fold with their tails between their legs; and shrimpy pipsqueaks who fawn like toadies until you want to croak.

It really is a zoo out there!