Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Scary-ass birds

I think it's normal that everyone has an unnatural fear of something, particularly animals. After hearing the news this morning, I am sure one little boy will have an unnatural fear of peacocks for the rest of his life. Did you hear about this? I am sure you all have visited a zoo in your lifetime and have seen the peacocks roaming around freely. Apparently, a family was at a zoo in Oregon, and there happened to be a piece of candy on the ground next to a 2-year-old. The peacock bent down to get the candy at the same moment the child stepped toward him, and the bird went into attack mode. It jumped up on the kid and grabbed both of his shoulders with its talons and stuck its beak in the kid's chest.

The little boy is fine, and the parents are understandably pissed, and the zoo officials are playing up the fact that this "rarely" happens. Okay, "rarely" means that it has happened. I don't know about you, but I would only need to see a peacock jump a kid once before thinking it may be time to review that policy. Apparently the zoo officials don't realize that they are sooooo going to get sued.

Coincidentally, one of my unnatural fears also stems from the bird family. Personally, I think I have watched one too many Hitchcock movies, because I think birds in general have an alternate agenda. However, my main irrational fear happens to be ostriches. Those are some scary-ass birds with their big bugged out eyes!

I do have (what I consider) a good reason for feeling this way. Now, speaking of free-roaming animals, if anyone has ever been to the Exotic Animal Paradise just outside of Springfield, Missouri, you know it is actually a drive-through zoo, so the animals come right up to your car. Yippee. Not only do they encourage you to roll your windows down and drive through a park full of aggressive animals, but they even sell bags of feed at the beginning so you can really get up close and personal.

Eric and I visited this zoo a few years back before we had children, thinking it sounded like a good idea. We bought our big bag of feed, and hopped in the car to drive through the zoo. Everything was going fine and dandy at first. I was okay with feeding the prairie dogs and other small animals, but as soon as the animals got taller than the car, I started to get nervous. I quickly started to notice that those freaky ostriches were everywhere. Apparently they can just roam around wherever the hell they feel like it.

Well, all of the animals just about have an orgasm when they see a car coming because they know they are going to get food. Most of the animals are confined to certain areas, but some of the scarier animals (ostriches) follow the cars in order to get all the food. Well, one ostrich kept following us. That's right, our car was being cased by an ostrich. When I stopped to throw food out the window at something, that's when he made his move. He came right up to my open car window, and stared right at me. Thinking he looked aggressive, I told Eric to drive on. Before he could, the ostrich spotted the bag of food on my lap, and stuck his entire neck and head in the window to get to it. He started pecking the food right out of my lap!

At this point, I started screaming. And I don't mean some feminine, ladylike scream. I mean a terrified-ohmygod-horror movie-I am going to die scream. I was also trying to crawl into Eric's lap to get away from the bird and yelling at Eric to drive away. Unfortunately, he was laughing so hard that it took a few moments for him to regain his composure enough to drive. When he did, I rolled up my window and kept it sealed through the rest of the zoo.

Unfortunately, that didn't go well either, because the animals get very aggressive when they know you have food. If you drive by without throwing any at them, they get pissed. Think the monkeys in The Omen. So, I rolled down my window when we got to the buffalo area, because they were far enough away from us that they couldn't attack, and they're fairly slow moving, and I dumped out the rest of my feed for them. Then, I quickly rolled my window back up. I just wanted to get out of there.

That's when I found out that the zoo officials apparently have a twisted sense of humor because for their amusement, they put the rams at the end of the zoo tour. Now, I know it's not just me because I am sure most people are out of food by the time they get to the end. But the rams saw a car, and here they came. I had absolutely no food left. Well, they're rams. And they were pissed. They put their heads down and started ramming the car. We were going to pay for not having their breakfast. Once again, I was screaming, "Drive!" But it's a little harder when you are surrounded by rams who are trying to tip your car over.

We finally managed to get through and get the hell out of there. We were left with a few scratches on the car, a few pictures, and a big story. Sadly, we recently found out that the Exotic Animal Park will be closing sometime next year. I don't know where all the animals are going, but I would assume to other zoos. Although, I wouldn't shed a tear if they euthanized the damn ostriches.

Anyway, Eric came to me the other day and said, "You know what would be a good family trip? We should take the kids to that drive-through zoo before it closes." So I can be the crazy woman, screaming, "An ostrich ate my baby!!"? I don't think so.


Justin said...

I love your blog! It attracted my attention because I have that same photo on one of my posts. You have a great sense of humor.

I also am a prude when it comes to coffee, and rarely accept anything other than my stovetop espresso pot.

More Cowbell

scribbit said...

First the stingrays, now the peacocks. Are the animals organizing?

And I've always felt eels, stingrays and dragonflys to be on the wrong side of the creepy and scary issue.

Morgen said...

The ostriches are coming!
The ostriches are coming!

my favorite line "like the monkeys in the omen"


I'd bet Eli would have a blast at this place!

Karen Shanley said...

Hello from a fellow carnival poster.

You're hysterical! Thanks for the great laugh.

Belle said...

Your post had me gigglesnorting so much! I think it's cute about the ostrich, though I understand your terror! (Really, I do)

I don't have an aversion to birds or anything like that, but this post kinda reminded me about the time we had a neutered cat, and any time we'd let him out to get some fresh air 9we always stayed with him because we didn't want him leaving the yard), birds would swoop down from the trees and try to attack him. I had to physically swat some of them off, and I hated doing that!

Also reminds me of the time I was camping in the Sequoias and a young black bear - at least I guess that's what it was - crossed the road and looked at our car. My ex husband was driving, and he stopped to watch it. I am normally not afraid of animals, but this was just a little too close. I just stared in horror. It was only about 5 feet tall, but it sure looked like it could rip my Ford Escort apart like an aluminum can.

Tisha said...

OHMYGAWD...that had to have been horrible!!!

Sorry, though it was the funniest post I've read yet.

Thanks for the entry. : )

HeatherinBeautifulBritishColumbia said...

Great post - don't go Great White Shark diving in a cage, okay? Thanks for sharing - via the Carnival!

Lisa said...

Great story! I loved it, although I'm sorry for your lingering terror....eeks!

My folks took us to one of those when we were kids, and we had a sunroof.

My mom got a PERFECT shot of a giraffe's head right outside the sunroof, perfectly framed by it.

I don't remember being scared, but, that sure makes my heart race now thinking about it!

Is it becoming a mother?

Is it becoming older?

Somewhere along the way, I've lost a lot of my guts!

Another Desert Rat said...

That was laugh out loud funny! I'm sorry, but I DID! You know, we have an ostrich farm here in Arizona where you can "feed" the ostriches - I drive past it every time I go to my office in Tucson, but I've never stopped. I'm thinking I probably won't, now! ;-D

Desert Songbird said...

Neila, can you explain to me how husbands always find it hilarious when their wives are screaming in abject terror? WTH? I don't get that.

I am so with you on those creepy ass birds -- eww. Now, I'm bettin' the story you DON'T know about that zoo is that they got sued by someone who was ram-butted just a bit too agressively.

A regular visitor here via the Carnival.

Skittles said...

Happy Carnival!

Starrlight said...

Oh I am so sorry to laugh at your terror, but that post was just too funny! I hear you on birds. Water foul hate me. Ducks, swans, you name it. They hate me!

Morgen said...

Hello -- just checking in on how the carnival is going -- looks like you've got lots of extra hits and great comments from our beloved carnies!
I'm still chuckling about you & the ostrich. Great story!
Hope you & the kids aren't too iced in -- we actually were able to get out and do grocery shopping once the streets were cleared a bit -- I think it took us longer to defrost/scrape the windshield than it did to go grocery shopping, though!
Thanks for participating in the carnival!
Way to go!
~ Ringmaster Mo