Thursday, April 07, 2011

Real Zoo # 4

Me on "My Scars", or "Julian's Dogs".

It was said that at a reunion (that none of us attended) that there was a scar show. Mine, at least the ones I still have all these years later, are not from the wolf or the alligators or even the otters or the gibbon who TRIED.

"I was afraid enough of Shyly that he never got me. Careful with Kim but she bit me anyway (I bit her back and she mostly played nice after).

"Worst things that hurt me were Richard's tossing me a shit encrusted paint scraper (infected cut on hand--ER sewed me up and it went off anyway; [vet] Dr S fixed it; still have scar).

"And scariest: night guard Julian’s out of control German shepherds (he used to brag how they put his little girl in the hospital).

"One night, thinking he had them under control (I was alone on exile at night because of that microphone incident), I went to drain the pool of the little African clawless otters. I was halfway back to the rotunda when I heard the dogs running behind me. Turns out the old drunk had passed out.

"In one of the few times in my life that I thought fast, I realized I would never get through the door, so I slammed it towards me and hung on to the handle for dear life, YELLING for Julian and for a visiting friend. They hit my legs hard in the next second-- it was more like being hit with a baseball bat than being bitten, and I have been bitten a lot. One was sort of worrying me, and I felt that if I fell, I was dead.

"Julian and Mike got to me in what must have been seconds but felt like minutes. There were a bunch of superficial cuts and a dime- sized hole in my shin with bone showing-- luckily somehow no major vessels seemed to be spouting. I literally do not remember and it is not in my general style but Mike says I told Julian that if I ever saw the dogs loose again I would “get my .38 and kill his ass”.

"As I had already paid the ER for the scraper fiasco without reimbursement, I elected to just clean it, though I think I had Bill S look at it-- trusted him more. As you can imagine there is still a pit in my leg you can put a finger in, 40+ years later.

"We were innocents. If something like that happened today I’d own the ZOO!"

There will be more-- next, OS on baby squirrels. I may add zoo digressions too-- Betsy and her breeding margays, the first, with photos, or "some people CAN keep animals" (and her amazing TV appearance with Roger Caras).

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

You can continue with these zoo stories indefinetely, as far as I am concerned! They are a HOOT! You MUST post the squirrel-attack tale, for sure! Being a zookeeper myself, I have lots of these tales, too. So I'll relate a brief one here.....One of my favorite(if sometimes exasperating!) things about working at a zoo, is overhearing the visitors comments! One of the very funniest I remember is from a large "petting zoo" with mostly exotic hoofed stock that I worked at years ago. I was in the Zebra's compound watering him and scratching his butt(yes, he was a full stallion, and yes, he killed most things that got into his compound with him, but hey, we had that special bond! Actually, I always kept a bit of fencing between us--he never tried to kick or bite me--he REALLY LOVED those butt scratchings!--but I didn't give him the chance, either....) Anyway, I was watering and scratching the zebra, when two unaccompanied kids ambled over to the Pot-Bellied Pig pen, which was next to the Zebra pen. As they reached the front of the pig exhibit, I heard SCREAMING from up the walkway--enough to make the zebra jump! An hysterically SCREAMING woman came running for all she was worth towards those two kids(obviously a parental unit of some type) yelling at them at the top of her lungs to "GET AWAY!!!!! GET AWAY FROM THOSE PIGS!!!! THEY"RE VENOMOUS!!!!! I burst out laughing! She had seen the sign on the pig fence, and misread it somewhat--it said VIETNAMESE POT-BELLIED PIGS!!!!! What is just as hilarious, is the notion that we would have had ANY kind of VENOMOUS critter in a PETTING ZOO! Yeah, folks, step right up and pet the rattlesnakes!....L.B.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Speaking of macho zoo guys, check out this little video.

Of course, it begs the question about why this zoo (in Southeast Asia somewhere?) has to have a cobra pit in the first place.

Steve Bodio said...

I wouldn't do it-- and I used to keep pet rattlers!

Though as one of Tam's commentors said, cobras are pretty slow (and rather unaggressive).

You want "macho"? NM rancher John Davila, who has been in this blog, went to a restaurant in Taiwan where businessmen went to get a cocktail of "cobra wine"-- the waiters took out a live one and cut its throat over the wineglass.

(And PLEASE don't confuse description with approval, or feel any compulsion to tell me this is bad-- I like snakes, and my dislike and opposition to the Chinese traditional "medicine" trade is a common theme here. I don't support rattlesnake roundups either).

Also re macho-- join me in urging Annie D to get her Real Zoo tales out too-- she has plenty, and claims to have once contemplated a zoo memoir called "Death and Diahorrea"(;-)

(Tried to spell that three times!)

Lane-- I have four or five already in line and more to come...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The disrespectful and unnecessarily rough way the fellow in the video handles the cobras only makes me hope he does, indeed, eventually get his arse bitten. And the overly complacent manner he has developed will only ensure that happens. One form of Zoo Employee turnover.....L.B.