Naturally, as I sit here and decompress from talking with those wonderful lads and lady (For the Horde!), my brain is feeding me all of the things I should have said or included, the better responses, cooler information. So, I'll just let some of that energy bleed off here and include some of my other ideas.
Some of the questions I thought I would be asked-
My craziest zoo story - the problem inherent in this question, and don't get me wrong, we all have one or two of these stories, is that Crazy Zoo Stories and safe situations are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
That being said, the craziest story I am willing to share, and mostly due to the combination of events, is one about a juvenile rhino, 4-5 months old (5-6oo, lbs) who was ill. The mother had unfortunately died and while we had managed to get it transitioned over to a moistened grain mixture, it still was not doing well. One day we called for him to shift in and he didn't come up. That, of course, had us worried. So we gathered the hoofstock crew, vets and management and went out to try and get him in. When animals get sick they work really hard not to show it, so that by the time they start acting "off" things are usually pretty bad. We were worried the little guy was crashing (when sickness and stress push them to the point that they stop fighting and stop putting in an effort to keep living. I've seen the moment where animals just give up and that's a sad thing.)
- I'm just going to pause right here and say the rhino is fine, all grown up now and making babies. Woot! I'm explaining to you because you look nervous.
Where were we, ah yes, "she was in the water, the Eel was coming after her. She was frightened. The Eel started to charge her. And then" -
We found him in the moat and proceeded to work to get him standing and then to get him excited enough to get moving. He loved to play with a largeboomer ball, so we would roll it to him to get him excited and once moving we could direct him into the barn and the vets could better assess the situation and treat him.
What I have failed to mention up to this point is that at the same time this is happening a Category 2 Hurricane was 4 hours from landfall. 4 HOURS from the eye hitting land just a few miles away on the south Florida coast. That meant we already had feeder bands and a good chunk of the storm over us- Wicked dark clouds, bands of torrential rain and winds steady at 25-30 mph and gusting into the 50s. We had incentive to get this little guy in. Also, I was not a part of the storm ride-out crew, so I would be driving home after we resolved things with the rhino. I had a truck, so I knew I'd get through flooded streets if necessary, but still not a fun drive.
In the end we succeeded. Little guy came in, vets gave excellent treatment and he grew up, moved to another zoo and is making babies. It is still one of the most vivid and scary situations I've experienced.
What I've been bitten by - This one can be a tricky question because any time someone receives an injury there was a failure somewhere on the line. Either I misread the animal, or a co-worker misread/mishandled/slipped, or equipment failed. Yes there is the possibility of random chance and it's not a blame game, but when it happens the next question must be, how do we prevent this from happening again in the future?
That being said - here's my list:
* milksnake (non venomous) - I thought I had good restraint but he could still put a top jaw into my hand.
* duck - I didn't think it could break the skin. Turns out they can give a nasty blood blister if they catch a thin skin with the tip of their bills.
* Box Turtle - ok I was 5, holding it up to look at it, and it bit me in the shoulder. I was 5.
*Parrot - while this cockatoo was friendly on the perch, he was a demon on the ground, I did not know that. I learned quickly.
That's really about it. I've never broken a bone, needed stitches or even have any good scars from working at the Zoo. My LARPing on the other hand...
So that's a few stories and some stuff that didn't make it onto the podcast. I would happily go on the podcast again and am exceptionally appreciative to have had this opportunity to share my excitement and joy of both WOW and of animals.
p.s. May the 4th be with you!
p.p.s. it is very strange to go back and listen to yourself talk and be interviewed.