a friend of mine invited me to the zoo today. at first i was hesitant, it's winter after all and i didn't think that the animals would be out, let alone active. after learning from my friend that a season pass was involved and i wouldn't be paying i decided that i might as well go. i correctly assumed that if someone with a season pass enjoys the zoo in the winter time there must be a good reason for it. after all, he can go any time he likes for free.
there were maybe four other groups of people at the zoo today. i think maybe the lack of crowds is what got the animals going. the cold didn't even seem to bother the animals who were outside, they were super active. maybe they were trying to move around to stay warm, i don't know i'm not a zoologist. i haven't seen some of these animals since the zoo stopped using small cages and spent all that money on expensive habitats. some of the exhibits i didn't even know existed.
some of the behavior was odd to me though... i saw a bird relentlessly try to attack my friend through the netting that was put up for our safety. i saw a monkey trying to start shit with other monkeys. when one of the other monkeys that he was clearly irritating fought back, the aggressive monkey put his finger in the other monkey's butt hole. this under handed move was repeated over and over again whenever the monkey who was fighting back got the upper hand, which was often. i witnessed a vulture beefing up at another vulture in order to steal it's bloody carcass when it had one of it's own to eat. the zookeeper near by informed us that this vulture was "sassy" and was never happy with her own bloody carcass, she had to have whatever the other vulture was having all the time. i guess the carcass is always bloodier on the other side of the fence.
all of this got me thinking, can animals be assholes?
i used to have a cat who i believe to have been an asshole. every day i would come home from work to see what havock he had wreaked on my apartment while i was gone. things would be knocked off the coffee table, he liked to knock over potted trees and then poop in the dirt, if i left any dishes out they were sure to be overturned on the carpet with their contents tracked everywhere. once when i was washing dishes this cat jumped up and used his claws to hang on to the tender skin of my butt crack. he hung there for a moment or two while i stood bearing the pain... i was afraid if i moved he would rip the skin. as i was deciding what course of action to take he yanked his paw away and dropped, taking a piece of me with him. have you ever had to put peroxide inside of your butt crack? i think it hurts more there than anywhere else. people would look at me as though i was crazy when i'd say things like "you'll never guess what that asshole cat did today."
i also used to have a bird that hated me. believe me people, this bird was a real prick. he would start screaming before dawn each day and wouldn't stop until i either a. put his whole cage in a closet or b. went somewhere else. according to my human room mate the bird was quiet as long as i wasn't there. no matter how many toys or snacks i provided him with he wouldn't settle in and enjoy my company. he refused to accept that i was his roomie and i gave him away eventually. the idea of owning a bird of any kind is one that will forever be tinged with horror for me.
when i was young i used to fantacize like every little girl does about
all of the pets i'd have when i was older. i also thought that all
animals were good and if you treated them well they would respond in
kind. as i aged and encountered assholes of the domesticated pet variety my perception changed. i surmised that maybe forced breeding and poor training and handling skills were to blame. as i aged more and became responsible for so many assholish pets i was forced to accept the inevitable... some animals are just dicks. no amount of training and love can change it.
why do people have such a hard time believing that animals can have
destructive personalities? it's not all rainbows and snuggles and wet
kisses in my experience. my trip to the zoo confirmed for me what i've always wondered about, wild animals can be assholes as well. it's not just domesticated pets. according to my own calculations one in ten animals is an asshole, and there's no good way to tell early on if a new pet is going to have that distinction. you just have to wait and hope.