Monday, September 13, 2010

The Deadly Water Horse

I saw a blurb on the internet recently that said something along the lines of “all cases of polar bear attacks were instances where the bear was undernourished or provoked.” The statement was, of course, in response to an unprovoked polar bear attack.

I love it when animal people say stuff like that. I think what Mr. Animal Guy really meant was the polar bear in question hadn’t had any man-flesh to eat recently, so he was super hungry.

“Provoking” a polar bear by this guy’s standard could mean any of the below:
A. Throwing rocks at a polar bear
B. Poking a polar bear in the eye
C. Making rude faces at a polar bear
D. Snagging a polar bear with a fish hook
E. Insulting a polar bear
F. Backing into a polar bear with your car
G. Sleeping in a tent near a polar bear
H. Walking in the woods
I. Making fun of a polar bear
J. Looking “meaty”
K. Giving a polar bear a manicure
L. Tasting good
M. Screaming at a polar bear
In his world if you're breathing out-of-doors and it's cold out - you're probably provoking a polar bear. Step lively.

The writer didn’t want you to know the polar bear ate that guy, not because he was furious at the Inuit people for 2,000 years of oppression, or accidentally mistook him for a seal; but because he was hungry and the Inuit look, to a polar bear, suspiciously like a warm hearty snack.

"The Mis-identified Meal" is another of my favorite Mr. Animal Guy TV statements. When confronted with the teary, traumatized, walking-wounded leftovers from "2,000lb Great White Eats Almost All of Surfer"; Mr. Animal Guy basically looks at the crippled human remains before him and says "No big deal, the Shark thought you were a seal."

I've literally never heard a shark-attack interview in which Mr. Animal Guy said anything other than "Boy does your ass look like a seal!". Nevermind that a seal looks nothing like a surfboard, and you're surfing nowhere near a huntable seal population.

Now, if our maimed surfer were happily surfing in amongst a group of 4,000 bloody, frantic, seals - I can see a shark getting over-excited and accidentally slashing the surfer's tires to to speak. Great Whites are bullies, you have to know that going into it, but just out surfin' and WHAMMO! There goes my favorite leg? That's not a case of mistaken identity - thats an appetizer. That shark just ate your leg and he did it on purpose.

As a lifelong Member of The HuntFish Adventure Club (standing in direct opposition to the little-known and generally unrecognized HuntFish Widow’s Whine Club) it makes me really hoot when animal people get incensed about hunting animals. Animals hunt each other, and occasionally – us.

Pretty much everything out there kills us. In terms of nature – we’re embarassing. I saw a program the other night on the Hippo - apparently one of the deadliest African animals for humans to contend with. Seriously, the Hippo - God's fattest animal - is a huge problem for us. According to Mr. Animal Guy: Hippos generally kill people because the (very dead) people in question “got between the Hippo and water.”

I could see Mr. Animal Guy’s interviewer gently nodding in assent thinking “Of course. Well, if you get between a Hippo and water – there really isn’t much choice but for the Hippo to go ahead and chomp you.”


How about the Hippo just go on around you? Or hang back a bit and wait his turn for water? It hardly seems like the punishment fits the crime here, but we’re all going “Ooops better not get between the Hippo and water – or ELSE!”

That’s roughly equivalent to your Dad cutting your head off for slamming the screen door.

I’m personally humiliated that we, as a race, are subject to routine slaughter by an animal the ancient Greeks named “Hippopotamus” or “Water Horse.” Its just plain insulting. You don't ever read naturalist reports of giant Hippo-on-Zebra slaughters - it's always people. We're that stupid.

That in mind - I can’t see a moral issue with hunting animals if other animals hunt each other (and us). Maybe there is. I don’t know, but I delegate you to approach the free-ranging Yellowstone wolf pack of your choice at dinner time and inform them that they’re switching to beets.

I especially love it when an anti-hunter accosts me over the moral implications to animal killing - while wearing leather shoes. That’s my favorite. It’s like a tree-hugger using toilet tissue. I hate to say it: Charmin may be wonderfully comfortable and delightfully quilted, but it’s still made of TREES; and that cow didn't just hand over a strip of hide to protect your feet for free.

I am impressed with carnivores though, seriously. And the polar bear? What an animal! It’s the same color as its background (which is amazing), it has a shark’s toothy grin and the natural equivalent to arms ending in chainsaws. Do you know what I could get done around here if my skin matched the wallpaper? I'd sign up for that in a skinny minute.

To top it off; the polar bear was born with a razor-sharp sweet-tooth for delicious baby seals – perhaps the cutest animal ever to flop a flipper.

Don't you just love nature?

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