Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears - Oh My!

The day I got to Kansas was a looong day. I was up at 3:45 am to drive to Baltimore (which was great because there was almost no traffic at that ungodly hour, although there WAS still some! DC - grumble). I landed in Kansas at 8:00 am local time and got my bags no problem. It's amazing how ... empty the Kansas City International Airport was compared to BWI. Adam was an hour late picking me up because he got stuck behind an accident involving a semi splayed across the entire highway. But we finally got on the road and had a three hour drive back to Wichita through the vast nothingness of the prairie state. Back at the Seiler residence, we barely had time to grab some lunch before Adam's dad was piling us into his pickup truck to run some veterinary calls with him!

First we visited a sick buffalo, and then we drove over the exotic animal ranch that he takes care of - Tanganiyka. It was pretty amazing - they have all kinds of exotic animals - a ton of cats of all kinds, rhinos, giraffes, primates, kangaroos, birds - it was pretty crazy! And in most cases you can get right up next to them - wait till you see the pics of us with the white tigers! Of course, animals running around everywhere means there's dirt and poo and other untold wonders crusting the ground, and Adam's dad is just striding around through everything, totally unafraid... and here's me daintily picking my way around puddles of ... water? and piles of crusted... mud? Trying not to step in ANythING.

First stop was the ring tailed lemurs! They were the funniest little creatures. So curious and energetic - they were bouncing all over the cage trying to inspect us.

Well, except for this guy - he was old or stoned or something because he didn't move from that spot the entire time. Meanwhile his buddies were pouncing all around him.

They have these fat, squishy hands and they'll reach out and grab your finger with those soft little pads - it feels funny! They grab on and then stare at you with their bulging, curious eyes.

Next we went over to the giraffes and met Dudley. Here he is trying to give me a kiss. You can see the mama giraffe in the cage behind watching warily. She was skittish and so was her baby, which you can't see. Dudley was fearless though.

He didn't stick his tongue out at me, but he kept trying to get a taste of Adam.

And Greg! He kept coming up behind Greg (Adam's dad) and poking him and licking him with his long black tongue!

Then we went on to the white tigers. There were cages on either side of us and we were standing only a few feet from a tiger in either direction! The adrenaline was flowing - that is definitely the closest I've ever been to a tiger! The tiger in the first cage inside the door pounced up on her ledge and put her ears back and started hissing and spitting and bearing her fangs at us when we walked in the door. She was pissed! The other two were males and they were pretty friendly. They were chuffing (tiger hello) and pacing back and forth wanting attention. Both of them were still babies.

Here is me crouched down right next to one. Adam says, here get right in front of the cage... little bit closer! Little more! and I'm leaning in and freaking out because- hi! zOMG TIGER! Go ahead and click on it, you gotta get the full effect.

Me: oh, hai! nice kitteh!
Tiger: i's in dis cage, sniffing ur yumminess

Adam: yeh
Tiger: *growlz* - scuse me, dats mah belleh!

It's darn hard to take good pictures of wildlife with a digital camera! They don't exactly hold still for very long. This one was standing up peering at Adam...

Greg was the bravest - he put his hand right in front of the tiger's mouth. He was just a baby and playful, he was sniffing Greg's hand and hamming it up trying to get attention.

Here's one of the baby snow leopards! So cute! Big fangs! We saw another smaller one in a baby playpen playing with a basketball that was just about the same size as him. And also a baby kangaroo in a playpen, inside a shearling-lined purse that was hanging in the pen for him! Tee!

This is one of the adult snow leopards. This one was skittish and suspicious.

And this one looked suspicious but when we tried to walk away she jumped up and followed us looking for more attention. She only had three legs - one of her front legs got injured and had to be removed. She didn't seem to mind, though.

Another baby leopard peeking out from his house!

Oh, and here's us at the Original Pizza Hut, which is located on the campus of Wichita State University in this tiny brick building you see here. Who knew?!

That's all for now!!

No comments: