Sunday, December 18, 2011
fluids of all kinds
I never know what my day will bring me at Harnas. As I write this, a herd of goats is grazing in my yard. (Cornelia--I'm staying in Elsa.)
This morning I woke up early (What time zone am I in?) and took a stroll out to see two of my favorite lions, Zion & Trust. They're in an enclosure about 100 yards from my house. I called their names, and what a sight to see! Lions running toward me at a gallop but knowing I wasn't in danger. When Zion came to the fence (Trust played coy when he saw I wasn't offering meat) and I scratched his head through the fence while he made deep "unnnnnh unnnnnh" grunting noises.
I was thinking, "Let's face it: any day that starts with lion-petting automatically gets and A+ in my book. It doesn't matter what else happens that day."
Lucky I thought that because just then Zion turned around and sprayed me with his urine--the whole right side of my upper body got it. I've seen him do this to my friend Willi from Munich (Hi Willi!) but I thought it was a male thing. Now I know it's a dominance thing.
Well, what do you way when you find yourself covered in lion piss? It's not an everyday problem, that's for sure. So I walked back to Pickles (who always keeps a respectable distance from the lions) and she sniffed me--perhaps with a little disdain). I had to wash myself and change my shirt so the other animals I see today won't up and run when they smell me coming. Even so, Atheno gave a thorough going over of my right arms when I saw her a bit later.
One other note. Yesterday evening I helped restrain one of the baby leopards (smaller than my dog Milo--maybe 25 pounds) while they cleaned a wound by holding one of her front legs. She was not happy about the procedure and showed it by sinking her teeth into one of my fingers. I actually watched her fang slide right into my left index finger and blood spurt out. I thought, "Hmmm. That doesn't hurt as much as you'd think, but I bet a bit from her mommy would."
We got her jaw unclenched and released my finger, and I walked back to my house, dripping blood, where I cleaned out the wounds and applied a hearty slathering of Neosporin. (Seriously, I wish I had stock in that stuff. Or maybe I could be their spokesperson: "Hey there! Troubled by a lion scratch? Bothered by a leopard bite? I've got just the thing for you!") The finger got pretty swollen last night but it's a bit better today--doesn't hurt much and certainly I'll survive.
Life in Africa seems all about body fluids!