Friday, October 15, 2010


Just back from the Indianapolis zoo.

I saw giraffles and heffalumps, and I got to pet a real shark!

The tiger exhibit was closed, which made me sad. But the new cheetah exhibit was awesome, and made me happy! You could squat down nose-to-nose with a great big kitty on the other side of a pane of glass. Befitting their feline nature, they seemed as curious about me as I was about them.

There were meerkats.

Bobbi took pictures.

More later.


Rob Robideau said...

Is this survey work for a hunting trip?

Anonymous said...

Meerkats suck!

They stole my homework in 7th grade.

Yes I hold a grudge.


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

You have SHARKS in Indiana?

Anonymous said...

"You have SHARKS in Indiana?"

In nearly every single county courthouse, yes, we do.

Shootin' Buddy

TBeck said...

The Amarillo municipal zoo has a lion named Solomon who enjoys sitting next to the double fence in a shady spot. People can get within about three feet of the kitty. If a visitor gets too loud or obnoxious Solomon will stand up, turn around, and mark the offender as Solomon's territory.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I have this vision of a Cheetah whispering out of the side of its mouth saying "Shit! Don't move! Tam's here! If we all stay still, maybe she won't notice us and go away! Lord knows She's been known to carry a .577 Nitro Express Double Rifle Concealed!"

Word does get around the Wild Kingdom, you know.

LabRat said...

Fun experiment when the big cats are actually interested in you:

Yawns are contagious among and between humans and dogs. Interestingly, the same seems to be true of them.

Keads said...

Any left handed Gibbons hanging around perchance?

Rourke said...

Love the sharks - ever since I was a kid. Looking to get a tattoo on my left arm of one.

By the way - they bite!

Take care -


Anonymous said...

I once saw a Euell Gibbons at the Seattle Zoo. If memory serves, it was kinda lefty.

global village idiot said...

A few years ago I took my daughter to Indy for the weekend. The real reason was because I wanted to go to the Indy 1500 but took her to the zoo the next day.

As zoos go, Indianapolis' is pretty good. I find the eco-preaching more than a bit tiresome but if you bring an Ipod it's okay.

If you want a real treat that not many take advantage of, tour the Indianapolis Scottish Rite Cathedral on Meridian just north of Monument Circle. Amazing building, I go there for Masonic functions about once every three years or so.

It's open to the public several days a week and worth the trip. Superannuated Scottish Rite volunteers with their little coolie hats (minus the tassel) will take you on a guided tour for a couple dollars. The cafeteria is inexpensive but the food is better than its price would have you believe.


Anonymous said...

"...nose-to-nose with a great big kitty on the other side of a pane of glass."

That does sound cool.

But I can't help thinking of those two polar bears at Sea World Orlando. Back and forth and back and forth in their tiny faux polar pool, an arm's reach and a million miles from the faces on the other side of the glass. I think they'd be better off mounted and on display in my store...and they'd probably agree.

I don't mean to be a wet blanket, Tam...who wouldn't want to get closeup with those amazing creatures, and by all indications those cats, unlike the bears, appear to enjoy the interaction. Maybe it has to do with the cats seeing humans as playmates while the bears register us as prey...'Rat could probably answer that.

Regardless, I don't think I'll ever shake the image of those huge bears, seeming very much animatronic which you half expect them to be in the neighborhood of the Mouse. But they were real. Kind of.


Ted said...

I HEART the shark petting at the Indianapolis zoo. It's incredible. I also like how there is a large section of water where the sharks who are annoyed can just go hide and deal with people who want to pet them. Theoretically, with this system, you only pet sharks that are in a good mood, or don't mind much.

That said... Petting sharks is fricking AWESOME.

LabRat said...

Al- most of the problem for polar bears is that their natural range is MASSIVE and they are the unchallenged top predator. For them to be confined to a zoo exhibit is like a human being given a closet to live in with maybe the back of a cereal box to read. They're also not very social at all. If anyone's a poster child for being horrifically unsuited to zoo life, it's polar bears.

Cheetahs are much easier to amuse than polar bears- give them something to chase- but they're also very odd as a big cat species in general. They're somewhat social, but less so than lions- but the strangest thing about them is they're oddly docile and easily tamed, which is actually one reason their wild numbers fell so low. A stable of coursing cheetahs used to be a fashionable thing for royalty in Africa and the Middle East, but each cheetah taken captive was one removed from the breeding population, since they're inordinately difficult to breed in captivity.

Cheetahs are oddly fascinated and amiable with humans, yes, but it's less to do with their natural history than it is with cheetahs just being *weird* in a lot of ways.

og said...

it's pretty amazing what the difference is between your expectation of what the sharkskin feels like, and what it actually feels like.

No woozle report? Did the heffalumps step on them all?

Once you've seen them close, it's amazing to think that WDH Bell killed thousands of heffalumps with a 7mm mauser.

Tam said...


"it's pretty amazing what the difference is between your expectation of what the sharkskin feels like, and what it actually feels like."

Felt like awesome holster to me. ;)

Ken said...

We were petting stingrays once, at the Roanoke Island Aquarium. There was one fair-sized ray that would practically hike itself up the side of the tank to get petted.

Anonymous said...

"In nearly every single county courthouse, yes, we do."

-Shootin' Buddy

Dude, Lawyers are reptiles.


Ian Argent said...

My amusing cheetah story comes from the Nawlins Zoo sometime early in the decade.

My wife and I were observing the cheetahs observing us, when a child came by. One of the cheetahs locked onto the kids, and started doing the butt-wiggle thing that any roommate of the domestick catt is familiar with... This caused a "hey y'all, watch this" moment from my wife, and we were not disappointed. The Cheetah did in fact pounce and lunge towards the kid - causing the kid to fall backwards in astonishment. The cheetah stopped well before the wire, sauntering off and muttering in Feline "I still got it :)"

Also, from a separate encounter, seeing a half-ton of Liger (Lion-tiger cross) act just like a housecat has got to be seen, if you have the chance.

Crucis said...

The big cat was probably thinking... "Lunch! So near, yet so far..."

Anonymous said...

"Dude, Lawyers are reptiles."

Dude, reptiles, like sharks, have redeeming value...most esq's don't.

Lawyers are, like the politicians that many of them pose as and with rare exception, vermin.


Anonymous said...

LabRat: Thanks for your comment; pretty much confirms my surmisal. Also:

"A stable of coursing cheetahs used to be a fashionable thing for royalty..."

Wow; I did not know that. More confirmation that I was born at the wrong place and time.


Anonymous said...


"A stable of coursing cheetahs used to be a fashionable thing for royalty..."

I have a picture I found somplace on the intertubes about a year or so back of a young lady heading off on a hunt with a trained hunting Cheetah. Had she been wearing fur instead of jeans, she wouldn't have looked out of place in a Boris Vallejo painting. Wish there was some way to show it to you.

Suffice to say, people STILL hunt with trained Cheetahs to this day!


Anonymous said...

BSR: fur-and-jeans-wearing ladies on the hunt? Sounds more like cougars than cheetahs...or maybe it's a younger version:

"She was hotter than a two-dollar pistol, she was the fastest thing around, long and lean ever' young man's dream, turned ever' head in town..."

Yep, sounds like a cheetah alright. Well, I'm game (heh)...not sure about Mr. Johnson, though.


Buzz said...

"Cool" is sleeping with the sharks.
I was a chaperone for my daughter's class.
The little buggers cruise all night.