Friday, June 11, 2010

Surprise Catting!

We stumbled onto a shockingly good zoo today, hidden deep inside a carnival at Portland's Waterfront Park. The fair was the usual collection of traveling ring toss scams, wretched vaudville, mildly thrilling rides, and greasy food. We were wandering around killing time before collecting Maddie (junior year finals today - woo hoo!), and were about to leave when I saw the pony rides. The ponies were clean and not underweight like most at these things. Next to the corral was a petting zoo consisting of sheep, goats, a mini bull (yes, intact, and loving on the kids petting him!) and a potbelly pig that was so happy to be getting attention he was actually wagging his tail! Next to that was a reptile tent. Tiny crocs and lots of snakes (which for some reason had "Prohibited in Oregon" on many of the cages). A handler was wearing a giant iguana.

Then I turned the corner and nearly plotzed. "Oh my god! There's a tiger here!" He was about 5 feet from me, gnawing away on a raw piece of meat. He was so beautiful... I'd never been that close to one before, not without thick glass between me and those teeth. In fact, his cage was sorta flimsy... thin metal bungied together, and the gate had drop hinges! Anyway, I was looking at the white spots on his ears, and that broad, gorgeous forehead, and I wanted to touch him... He totally heard me thinking that. Stopped eating, looked up, and said very clearly "No, you don't touch me." He was angered and offended that it would even cross my mind. I slunk away to the next cage...

There were all sorts of fun creatures. Patagonia cavies, a lynx, a bobcat, a lion, a porcupine, etc. They all looked healthy and happy. The cages were clean. I usually hate zoos because the critters look miserable if not downright insane (don't get me started on elephants), but this place impressed me.

Then we got photo ops with Nala, a 7 week old lion kitten. She was very sweet and playful. Her fur was rougher than I expected, more like wire. What an experience! She was playing with my finger, just holding it in her mouth, and I was loving it until I realized I shouldn't let her do that.
Even brand new she had a formidable amount of muscle and giant claws.

The Rose luck strikes again. Random wonderfulness around every corner. :)

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