Monday, March 02, 2009

It's wearing a nappy!

So on Saturday I got a message from a friend of mine who works at the zoo, asking if I was still alive. I usually spend at least two Sundays at the zoo every month (if not ever Sunday) as well as popping by occasionally during the week when I've had a particularly bad day. As it happens I had been thinking about her that morning (weird huh?) and so I replied straight away to say that I wold be there on Sunday.

And it was awesome! I hadn't realised how much I'd missed the zoo - from the crazy people I know there to the weird puddle that you should NEVER step in, to the fact that ever visit involves me doing completely different things! The monkeys gave me a huge welcome as usual, although at one stage Thandi freaked out about something and got very aggressive to me, and then proceeded to evacuate her bowels all over the zookeeper. Oops.

Fortunately nobody works at the zoo without keeping several changes of clothes handy and so after appropriating a clean t-shirt from a vet and meeting a very charming new vet student (who had the girls squabbling over him almost immediately) and having lunch with a bunch of people (including some who thought I'd been away on fieldwork because it's been so long...) and feeding the crocodiles (for the record, giant piles of meat drip! and f your friend happens to be bending over to grab some as you lift it up... blood in hair is so not cool!

So anyway after all that I was taken to meet one of the new monkeys. This one has been raised as a brother to the little spider-monkey who was born last year, although he's a Mona Monkey (and he is also convinced that a teddy bear is him mother) and he's very mobile and super-cute!

The main problem is that he is so active already - with the monkeys before they were always quite nervous and would hang on to me while I walked around and did whatever - wit the last two I wold literally put them under my jacket and zip it up and they'd hold on and go to sleep while we did whatever needed doing around the zoo. This little guy is totally fearless and won't stay with anybody for more than a few seconds. At the beginning he was asleep in his basket with his teddy, but that barely lasted five minutes and then he was very much awake!

So the rest of the day involved me catching up with people as we drove from place to place, rescuing one of the education ladies from a cranky boa (not the feather kind) and keeping the monkey occupied. A lot of that included being left in the zoo vehicle trying to stop him from eating everything that wasn't tied down - they have pouches, so if anything gets into his mouth you have to get your fingers in and pull it out - did I mention he bites?

By the end of the day he and I were getting along pretty well, he didn't squeak too much whenever I picked him up (usually to stop him from shoving something else in his mouth) and I figured out that swinging him around in his basket made him settle down and stay still(ish) and I had a lot of fun attacking hi with his teddy bear and playing with him.

The only problem is that the general public tend to notice him and swarm around you, and the first thing you hear is "Oh CUTE! Kyk hierdie apie! ag mommie! He's wearing a nappy!!" EVERY time! Sometimes they manage to get me to respond (I avoid making eye contact at all costs) and generally I get asked about how long he has to wear a nappy. i usually respond honestly - "Once he's in a cage and I don't have to worry about being crapped on."

Seriously, how about mentioning his amazingly long tail, or how tiny and perfect his fingernails are, or how his noises sound like a squeaky dog-toy... nope, how amazing he's wearing a nappy.

Next time I see a human baby I know I'll be tempted to say "how cute! He's wearing a nappy!" and see exactly how excited the mother gets...


Thomas said...

Ha ha that's awesome, sound like he'd get along pretty well with my kitten:)

Did you see the Polar Bears? Polar bears are the best.

Anonymous said...

I love the word "nappy." We use boring old diapers. It makes the narrative that much more fun.

SuvvyGirl said...

You have to get pictures!!! It would be so cool if I lived anywhere remotely close to a zoo. The closest one is a 3 hour drive. Baby monkeys aren't really much different then human babies. I have been telling Lily that she is a little monkey lately, always trying to eat everything and climbing all over. Wait til he figures out how to take his nappy off while he's with you. I have a little nudist on my hands which would be fine if she were potty trained already. :P Your day at the zoo sounds wonderful!! I'm jealous.

Candice said...

Aw... He sounds so cute! And for the record, I would likely comment on his tail or his gangly limbs (that's what I liked the most about Oliver)!

Glad that you had a good time! :)

sarah said...

i really really miss the zoo... i think one of my favourite times was in honours when you guys were doing your zoo project and i got to come along... even just thinking of that makes me warm and fuzzy inside!!

Kath Lockett said...

Please can we have pictures? Pterry please?

Tamara said...

That's an awesome way to spend your Sundays.

Seeing I spend many weekdays with a bunch of monkeys (clients, generally), I'd probably head over to the small cats section. I heart them. And they're sometimes more active than the big cats or poor hot polar bears.