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Newt Gingrich really, really likes the zoo

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Newt Gingrich

You probably already know much more than you'd care to about Newt Gingrich — details of his marriages and divorces, the whole Clinton impeachment, etc. — but did you know that when he's not busy as an arch-conservative strategist, he's also a major zoo enthusiast?

According to an unexpectedly adorable Washington Post piece this weekend, Gingrich has a lifelong love of all things zoo-related, and as an eleven-year-old lobbied to get a zoo set up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. "I just like to go and unwind, and see how the local zoo does things, the kind of animals they have,” Gingrich said.

He likes them so much, in fact, that he's visited over one hundred zoos in the United States, and even wrote the foreword for a guidebook called America's Best Zoos. Besides yielding a lot of strange photo ops with exotic animals, Gingrich's wildlife obsession has made him more environmentally-minded than most of his fellow Republicans, supporting the Endangered Species Act and even conceding that global warming could possibly be a real thing. Also, it explains why he keeps a T-Rex skull in his office.

This may not make anyone more or less likely to give Gingrich their vote, but if news comes out about a political candidate that's actually interesting instead of cringe-inducing, I'll take it.