Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Not-so-gentle Ben.

Once again somebody gets a graphic lesson that large wild animals are not cuddly pets.

I don't get this about some people: Look, you know how hard a time you have understanding cats and dogs? Well, we've spent ten thousand years and more in an effort to unscrew the inscrutability of Felis catus and Canis familiaris, and they still both communicate with us about as well as Joe Biden after a particularly rough all-nighter, and they're fairly social animals. Black bears, on the other hand, make J.D. Salinger look like a social butterfly and only have two real modes of interacting with humans: running away from us or eating us, so if you get in the cage with the bear and it doesn't start running, then that narrows the possible outcomes right on down, doesn't it?

20 comments:

Weer'd Beard said...

Hell even the Dogs can turn nasty. A buddy of mine got fucked up pretty bad by his German Shepard when the dog got a hair across his ass about god knows what...

Grumpyunk said...

Don't f**k with Darwin.
word verification = unpal
I shit you not.

jimbob86 said...

Lions and tigers and bears, Oh My!

TJP said...

I don't think people quite get that it took centuries to domesticate dogs to the point where they are reliable and obedient. To accomplish this in one generation with a black bear is a tad optimistic, especially when the technique involves solitary confinement and starvation.

Then there's the Connecticut DEP technique of tranquilizing a bear teetering at the edge of a sheer drop, and then acting surprised when it falls to its death.

"A neighbor shot and killed the bear that attacked the owner, state police said."

Thank God someone in the area had some common sense. If only he had exercised it earlier.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Who wants to bet the neighbor gets charged for hunting out of season? Animal cruelty?

Brad K. said...

It is called "Hollywood". Recall how funny the guys were in "Hangover", trying to return Mike Tyson's big cat?

Obviously there is no reason to be afraid of big cats. Or bears that have never hurt you, or dogs or cats or livestock, or a skunk wandering in your yard (rabid, maybe, you think?).

If children aren't taught about dangers at home, or at school, then some of the drivel of "entertainment" is going to continue getting people killed.

I note that driving fast, and drunk, still gets people - especially young people - killed many years after the first drunk driving or fast driving accident.

sarahandmom said...

I like Animal Planet. TV is great for letting me see wild, untamed animals in their natural habitats...without risking my soft and tender bits.

reflectoscope said...

Two morons broke into the tiger exhibit at a halfway local zoo, and at least one of them got mauled. I shall be fucking furious if they have to put that tiger down because of it.

Jim

mts1 said...

Shame the bear lost its life because of HER stupidity. Than again, when you're whole existence is in a 15x15 cage on a concrete pad, without even an hour of free range R&R, we can't call it much of a life, can we?

LabRat said...

If you keep exotic pets, the question isn't IF one of them will hurt you, it's WHEN, and there's always a subset possibility of the injury being lethal. Every animal keeper I've run across acknowledges this reality. It's the difference between "domesticated" and "tame"; domesticated critters have much, much bigger buffers on their responses.

Some people apparently like to roll the dice anyway.

staghounds said...

If you keep me in a 15x15 cell like Papillon all my life, and I can eat you, a day will come when I choose that option.

Plus that lion and tiger are talking trash about felines vs. ursines, they look hungry too, and telling me that I'm being fattened up for them...

Firehand said...

Capstick called it Disney Syndrome. And it regularly causes people to need upholstery work or a pine box.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

Some days you eat the bear . . . .

Joanna said...

The thing about living in harmony with nature is that nature isn't interested in living in harmony with you. I've always maintained that the only things keeping my cat from eating me are a) size and b) regular feeding. Either of those changes, all bets are off.

jbrock said...

The words 'pet' and 'bear' just Do. Not. Go. Together.

wolfwalker said...

Damn straight they don't. Wild animals can never be pets. At best they're cooperative captives.

OTOH, Tam, I think this:

Look, you know how hard a time you have understanding cats and dogs? Well, we've spent ten thousand years and more in an effort to unscrew the inscrutability of Felis catus and Canis familiaris, and they still both communicate with us about as well as Joe Biden after a particularly rough all-nighter, and they're fairly social animals.

is a bit of an overstatement. Domestic cats and domestic dogs can communicate quite well with humans who bother to learn their respective languages.

Oh, and cats are not particularly social animals. They're less antisocial than their wild ancestors were, but that ain't saying much.

Joseph said...

Since this is 21st-century America, we must find somebody with deep pockets to blame.

Let's see... I've got it!

This is all Hanna-Barbera's fault.

Marja said...

It took those Russian scientists about 20 years to turn silver foxes into, by all accounts, rather agreeable pets, so I presume it should be possible to do that, perhaps even to bears and tigers. Only nobody has done it so far. For real, that is, by trying to selectively breed them for those characteristics which make an animal domesticated.

(If you are not familiar with that experiment, google with something like 'tame Siberian foxes')

Rick R. said...

Siberian silver foxes.

Started with foxes that had been ranched in captivity, isolated from wild foxes, since the turn of the century.

Was ruthless in culling of the breeding population. Only the best ("most docile") 5% of each generation was allowed to breed.

40 years and 30-35 generations later, the experiment has yielded impressive results. After having gone through 45,000 foxes to get there.

http://www.floridalupine.org/publications/PDF/trut-fox-study.pdf

Still, pretty impressive results. But it only underscores how far from "domesticated" ANY carnivores other than the common dog and cat are. If it ain't C. familiaris of F. catus, the only reason it doesn't eat you is becuase it doesn't WANT to.

Marja said...

The same thing was done with rats too, I think. Only with rats they bred for two lines: tame and aggressive.

Faster results, of course, since rat generations are a bit shorter than fox ones.

I wonder how long it would take to tame, in that sense, something from totally wild ancestors? Say, turn African buffaloes into domestic cattle? Might be worth the effort with some animals, in areas where the traditional domesticated critters don't do too well, for one reason or another.