Animals are fun to talk about. They are. If you don’t like animals, you’re probably like a serial killer. And that ain’t the last outrageous blanket generalization of this blog, so hang on to your butts.
Ed got memed, and he passed it on to me, probably cus I’ve been reading his virus posts, and… what’s that latin phrase that means ‘It logically follows’? I forget. But here goes:
An interesting animal I had:
Despite all my pleas and wheedling, my parents never saw fit to buy me a monkey. Bummer. But we did have a rotating menagerie growing up in the country. Some notable pets were a bunny (dumb as a stump); a pair of incestuous kitties (their offspring lived longer near that highway than any of the proper pair mating spawn of kitty kind); a wild shrew that escaped once but returned to the life of luxury (I guess being fed and watered didn’t seem so bad after all); and a kind of tragic little dog named LeRoy who fell in love with the only member of our household who couldn’t stand him.
But Nanny takes the cake. Nanny was our goat. We got her accidentally. She was, quite literally, playing in traffic; so our parents brought her home. She had a sloped shed. She was very affectionate. My brother taught her how to play ‘King of the Mountain’ on the shed, and I enjoyed many afternoons watching her butt him firmly off the roof. He hardly ever won.
An interesting animal I ate:
I ate a grasshopper. It was dipped in chocolate, but the crunch was still disconcerting.
An interesting thing I did with or to an animal:
Okay, that’s a rather provocative question, no? The answer to this one might get you arrested in several states. Probably the most interesting ones are the rescue stories. If you have cats, you can attest to the fact that you are often being involuntarily drug into small dramas where something piteous and half-dead is being teased, literally to death by your sweet, fuzzy household pet. I consider it a moral obligation to intervene in these scenarios because both Fartley and Gracie are well-fed specimens, and there’s no reason to condone torture simply because it’s being enacted by a loved one in the drive way. For this reason I’ve had a chipmunk bleed to death in a (new) leather handbag, scored a pet lizard (sans tail) for my class when I was a preschool teacher, and even ended up with a pet snake in an aquarium for two weeks before he escaped and gave me and my room mate an uneasy couple of nights.
Unfortunately, since a cat has a tendency to sever it’s prey’s spinal cord during those touching little games of ‘cat and mouse’, most of the mammal rescuees don’t survive the encounter. Reptiles seem to fare a lot better. My cat’s latest catch-and-release was this little guy, who passed away in my hands from shock and a broken back. Whaddya do? Cats are bastards.
An interesting animal in its natural habitat:
Yay! My favorite thing after dolphins and koala bears have got to be these strangoid thingymabobbers: The cuttlefish.
I saw the cuttlefish first in an aquarium, as part of a traveling exhibit. It recognized me. I’m not kidding. I was fascinated, it kept following me, up and down the elongated tube. I came back later, and it recognized me. I did too; there was something behind the eyes, something sentient. I looked them up, cuttlefish, and at the time they were considered the ‘less intelligent cousins’ of squid. No.
They were wrong, I was right. Studies have revealed these strange whirring space-ship looking cephalods with the enormous eyes to have what appears to be language patterns through color changes in the skin. They are now thought to be possibly the most intelligent non-vertebrate species in existence.
They have green-blue blood, and an agressive hunting technique that’s pretty hard to describe, but you can see it on Animal Kingdom.
And they’re intelligent; this is the thing. After I saw my cuttlefish, I had this really strange dream. It was creepy at first, like going through the sub-terranean levels of a facility/aquarium with all these rooms, and the power was out. We were trying to make our way to the main level, and we couldn’t. Finally came out of this awful room filled with dead things into a wide bay with one whole side of glass and there were cuttlefish. They glowed. They were the ones who had shut us in, that was my perception. Someone on the main levels was shooting, and maybe to preserve themselves somehow they’d closed down the lower levels. (Hoo-doo voo-doo sounding, I know) but this: Me, and several others went up to the glass (it was almost like Close Encounters of the Third kind) behind us it was dark, but there were glowing things in the aquarium, and we put our hands up. One cuttlefish swam up to meet each person at the glass. They communicated. They’d wave their tentacles in rhythm with our arms. Faces, movement: they mirrored and responded to it. They were communicating.
That dream left me awed. And then I found this. I can only swear to you, I dreamed it before I read it. I’m not a nut or a fruit, this woman’s encounter was the same as my dream. It was kinda… woah.
An interesting animal at the Museum:
Right. I saw some totally whacked critters the last time I went to the local interpretive center. They’re called ‘homo sapiens’, and they clustered in little groups and were engaged in all sorts of odd behavior. They twiddled, they twitched, they fidgeted. One of the young had a cardboard crown on its head, and it was howling plaintively about snack peanuts. These creatures are a little frightening, because they seem placid in their natural habitat; sometimes even vacuous, standing in front of a panorama and gawking for long stretches at a time, shuffling and making small motions like herd animals. But don’t be fooled. This is the only creature on earth outside of baboons and chimpanzees that will set out to hunt and kill its own kind, including its own young, even if they haven’t strayed into its territory. In fact, its unprovoked attacks on the entire natural world have actually absented this creature from the natural order. It is not part of the food chain, but acts outside of nature in an erratic and often violent manner, claiming entire land-masses for its own species and destroying other species without rhyme or reason. This is a creature to be avoided at all costs.
You wanna try this? Ok…