If you read this blog, you may have guessed that I love animals. I mean, after all, I do let my pets “write” every Monday. I love animals so much that I suckered, I mean asked, my husband if he would like to start volunteering at the zoo. Since he had a part in adopting the 5 creatures in our own personal herd, he said yes. So, every month or so, we head to the zoo and help out. Sometimes, we actually get to touch some baby animals.
I love meeting the zoo animals. Let’s face it as a hermit I’m never going to go on safari to meet them in the wild. Roughing it to me is a hotel with no room service and only basic cable. So, since the zoo is 20 minutes from my house, and has indoor plumbing, it has become my hermit safari. If you don’t have a fabulous zoo in your town or live in the Outback (Australia not the mediocre steak house), it’s OK. Thanks to the magic of the interwebs I can share my zoo experiences and newfound animal knowledge with you. Here we go.
First of all, as you may have guessed from the title, kangaroos are the trashy moms of the animal kingdom. The mothers frequently disown baby kangaroos. Other kangaroo moms will not take in an abandoned baby, either. There seems to be a very “sucks to be you” attitude among the female kangaroo community. If a kangaroo mom is sick while pregnant she will abort the baby herself. This may be because kangaroo babies will bite the ever-loving f*ck out of your hair. That’s what the one I held did to me. Imagine having that happen in your pouch. I mean, you probably don’t have a pouch, but imagine. You probably don’t have 3 vaginas either, but kangaroos do, and 2 uteruses. For real. That’s probably why they are so bitchy. It’s a good thing they don’t use tampons because they would go broke buying them.
Wallabies are similar to kangaroos, though I’m not sure if their moms suck as bad as kangaroo moms. The zookeeper who let me hold a wallaby was not quite as chatty as the fella who handed me the roo. The easy way to tell the difference is size and fur. I mean the difference between a kangaroo and a wallaby, not the difference between zookeepers. Wallabies are smaller and their fur is shinier. Also, having held both a wallaby and a kangaroo, I can tell you that baby wallabies will not try to give you a Supercuts haircut with their teeth like kangaroo babies. Or maybe that kangaroo I held was just freaky.
I got to pet a little penguin and her human held her beak shut so she couldn’t bite me. This feisty little South African penguin does not like other species. She will try to attack other animals. Her handler had to hold her constantly so she wouldn’t charge, as in run towards in anger not go on an Amazon.com binge. Why are all of the little girls so fierce? (hides face in shame) For such a harsh girl, she had super soft fur. I need to buy penguin conditioner, I guess.
I did not get to pet a cheetah or a yellow lab, but I got to learn about them from the guy holding the penguin. He told me she tries to attack the yellow labs they keep at the zoo. The dogs are used to help train cheetahs because they are very anxious creatures by nature, and the dogs teach them how to play and not be so freaked out. So, at least at the zoo, cats and dogs really do get along.
Speaking of cats, I got to pet a serval kitten. While people do keep servals as pets, it’s not really a good idea according to the zookeeper. They are still very hard to manage and they’re very muscular. At 35 to 40 pounds when full grown, they’re not really just little house cats. The zookeeper had trouble holding on to the 5-pound kitten he brought to the volunteer meeting. I was able to pet him (the kitten not the zookeeper) and he had the softest fur ever. Seriously, are they using some Aveda products at the zoo?
Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to touch the baby lynx because they are unable to retract their claws. So, if he even pawed at me he would’ve left a flesh wound behind. Even so, I considered touching him because I am that much of a crazy cat lady. Plus, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t scratch me because he would smell the crazy on me and just lick my arm like my cats do.
Cats have the scratchiest tongues, but so do giraffes. I got to feed lettuce to a giraffe. Oh wow! I wasn’t expecting a large sandpaper tongue to go up my entire arm. I figured out why there were a bunch of Purell dispensers near the giraffe area. I also learned that you should never try to pet a giraffe. It freaks them out. Why do the yellowish spotted creatures have such anxiety? If you touch giraffes, they will shake and possibly end up hitting you with their large heads.
These are the only animals I have met so far. I will write a follow up in a few months and let you know about any other interactions. If you love animals but can’t volunteer at a shelter because you will adopt 30 cats and 20 dogs and end up on the news (coughs and hides face), then volunteering at the zoo may be for you. There is no way they will ever let anyone adopt a tiger. So, I’m safe there.