June 28, 2011

Petting Zoo Horrors

I like most animals....from a distance. Zoos, especially those with glass enclosures, provide ideal wildlife viewing experiences for people like me who appreciate nature but don't particularly want to interact with it.

For obvious reasons, petting zoos are a challenge. Unfortunately, my kids love sticking their hands inside of the mouths of barnyard animals, so I frequent them more often than I like.

Immediately after I handed my toddler a cup of goat food pellets this afternoon, he dropped it on the ground. As I scrambled to catch the pellets before they fell between the cracks of the floor, my hand grazed something cool and squishy. That thing turned out to be a large native corn snake that had somehow slithered its way into the petting zoo and made it its home.

The crime scene


My scream forever endeared me to the zoo employees who had to deal with the mass hysteria that ensued.

"I can't do this anymore!" I cried to my kids. "I've tried but I just can't do it!"

Kellen was sympathetic to my plight. He put his arm around me and led me to the wash station, where I scrubbed my hands until they were raw. The other three were less generous in their responses.
Cameron cried over his lost goat food pellets. Camber and Cortlen disappeared into the adjacent gift shop. When I went looking for them, I found them standing in front of the display window, holding a six-foot rubber python.

"Ha ha!" they laughed so hard they were crying. "You're scared of snakes!"

As I ushered my kids out of the Little Shop of Horrors, I saw something else move underneath the floor slats.

A zookeeper saw it too.

"Rat," he said matter-of-factly.

Never again. I love my children, but never again.

****
The winner of the Tom & Drew shark shirt is "sarahandmatt" who wrote: "
If I get this shirt, my two boys will totally fight over it...But I still want it!"

Sarah, shoot me an email with your contact info and we'll get the shirt shipped out to you pronto. Congrats!





19 comments

happyfamily said...

I just saw pictures of this zoo in Argentina today.
http://www.damncoolpictures.com/2009/04/lujan-zoo-argentina-worlds-most.html
Looks like your type of place!

[Stacia] said...

hahaha! Of course I'm not laughing at you, just the post. The other day, I forbid my 4 yr old from talking about snakes ever again after he mentioned that somebody found a gardner snake at a bbq the other day in our neighborhood. I believe it was that same day that I absolutely REFUSED to book a 'float down the jungle river' excursion in Jamaica with my husband because I "just can't take seeing any snakes. I just can't do it." So as far as I see it, you're much braver than I am and my kids have a much meaner mom. :)

Elizabeth said...

I'm am so sorry, that is awful ( your post is funny though.) I hate petting zoo's, the smell, the animals biting my kids hands, did I mention the smell, and if their are snakes, I say RUN.
Thank you for sharing your moment. http://thedotdotblog.blogspot.com/

Mom of 12 said...

Once in our old neighborhood we had a snake crawl through our backyard. It was very colorful and clearly someone's pet. I'm thinking snakes just need to stay somewhere out in the rainforest, far away from the rest of us...
Sandy
www.twelvemakesadozen.blogspot.com

vinobaby said...

I love the snake house but can't stand the goats. A goat at my doll and tried to eat me when I was at a petting zoo as a child and I'll never forget it. And rats--nothing will make me scream louder. But I put up with the petting area to make Kiddo happy. As long as he is the one getting all the zebu saliva all over his hands. TG for hand sanitizer.

mom24orsinis said...

seriously??? Another snake incident??? I can't take it...and I agree that petting zoo's are just gross, but add a snake and rat into the mix and I'm pretty sure I'll cry just thinking about it!

Anonymous said...

I HATE snakes, I don't even want to see them in books/magazines or on tv. I so sypathize with you, I would have been screaming my head off. You are nicer than I am, I probably would have asked for a refund...
Melissa Y

Rachel said...

Ewwwwwww!

Amy said...

Lolz. I feel your pain. My eldest DD (now 19) went through a snake phase where she would only draw snakes. She wanted one for a pet, so I quickly added reptiles to my "No rodents" rule. The final rule was "No rodents, no reptiles, no crustaceans."

Blythe said...

Haha, sounds like fun to me! But I suppose I can accept that not everyone likes to cuddle with every animal available. I'm glad you were able to safely escape!

Lorilynne said...

Is this the zoo in Sanford? It looks very familiar and now I'm terrified to go there again! I am deathly afraid of snakes, I don't think I've been out in our backyard since I saw a bird attacking some kind of big black snake out there....

Future Mama said...

HAHAHA! Oh goodness, nearly crying over here. I feel your pain. Don't do it. Never again!

Much love,
Future Mama
http://expectingablessing.blogspot.com/

TheRapunzelGirl said...

i LOVE petting zoos. and i don't mind snakes (or other reptiles) as long as i know they aren't venomous. i also have no problem with rats (or any kind of rodent). i also dig birds.

i will be an awesome petting-zoo-going mom.

just don't get me near spiders or many other insects. 4 legs is my limit.

Kami said...

Indiana Jones hates snakes, too. You're in good company!!!

Mrs. Tuna said...

Arghhh, snakes, arghhhhh bugs, arghhhh, birds that I know will fly in my hair. I hate nature and nature hates me.

mama walker said...

i am feeling your pain. There are certain parts of our zoo that my kiddos have to do with daddy only.Cause i just can't.

{leah} said...

You must live in my vicinity.... That's the Zoo that we go to too. The boys love the Zebu and the goats and get a kick out of scaring the turkeys.... routinely I have to pull a kid out of the turkey place as they have climbed in.

I have not ever seen a snake in that area.... or I would have warned you... :)

tulipdjc said...

I am on your side! EWWW!!!

TracyKM said...

We were at a Canada Day celebration yesterday, and there were animal displays. One of the teachers at school has a corn snake, so I thought it was neat to see those (I hadn't seen the teacher's). I was looking at the harmless bunnies when my husband called me--I turned around and my 8 year old daughter had a huge albino python wrapped over her shoulders and was grinning! I did manage to touch it, and it was neat---fleshy...I was expecting more solid.