lifescouts: animal month

These are my next four (numbers 7-10) Lifescouts badges. February is Animal Month... so all of these badges are animal related.

Earlier this week I got the two physical badges I ordered... they're really well made and have a nice weight to them. I do kind of wish they said "Lifescouts" and maybe the name of the badge on the back, but I'm guessing that would have cost a whole bunch more.

Now I really want to get all of my badges as real badges... although that may have to wait a while... I'm currently trying to reduce the number of things in my house, but maybe later.

lifescouts - zoo

Whenever I think about trips to the Zoo there is always one trip that instantly comes springing to mind.

When I was in Year 7, my teacher at the time (who I think was a bit of an old hippy) organised for us to spend three days at the Adelaide Zoo doing a project on our favourite animal and having some behind-the-scenes experiences.

It was fun because we got to hang out all on our own watching our individual animals for a chunk of the day.

Because I was somewhat obsessed with China and pandas at the time, and because (given that we're talking about 1986 or so) the Zoo didn't have any giant pandas, I "made do" with the red panda. And thoroughly fell in love with them as a result.

Even though red pandas aren't actually pandas. And, brief side note, the logo for the Firefox browser is a red panda, not an actual fox.

But I digress.

The other main thing I remember about the excursion (other than the fact the weather was quite hot) is that we all broke up into groups early one morning before the zoo was actually open and all went off to do behind-the-scenes stuff. A couple of other students and I got to tour the Nocturnal House and watch the animals behind fed. And from memory most of the food was fruit and bugs given that the animals are all quite small. I do remember the fennec foxes running up to the door and waiting for their food.

There must have been other things that we did given that we were there for a few days, but I honestly don't really remember any of it now.

I do know that a couple of the boys in my class "rescued" the baby mice they had put out for one of the big snakes in the Education Centre... although I think they died before we got back to school, so that wasn't really very successful.

Nowadays I much prefer going to the zoo with my camera and my big ass telephoto lens.

See also...

lifescouts - horse riding
Horse Riding

I've only ever been horse riding once.

I think it was supposed to be a double dating thing back when I was dating Albania and Ludo was dating Lownee... but then I broke up with Albania and I think Lownee was busy, so it just ended up being me and Ludo.

I can't even remember where the place was, other than I know that it was what I would class as "in the country" (and given that we had a rule at the time that specified that anywhere more than 6km from where you lived was "Woop Woop", this was definitely in Woop Woop).

I don't really remember a whole hell of a lot about the riding... I know that I had a bit of trouble with the whole "rocking motion" thing that you're supposed to do... I think I got it eventually though. Fortunately I don't think there was any trotting or cantering, but even so, it was an odd thing to get used to.

The main thing that I remember, other than having incredibly sore inner thighs the following couple of days, as well as some serious sunburn on the back of my neck, was the moment when my horse decided to do its own thing.

We were crossing from the normal path over a little gully (I can't remember if it there was water in it or not) and up a trail to some higher ground on the other side. I think there was a little bit of a line up to go across and I don't know why, but my horse suddenly decided that it wasn't going to wait for all the other horses, it could make its way over just fine without any damn trail.

So it launched itself down the slope, and then tackled the incline... but because there wasn't a trail, and the incline was fairly steep (at least I remember it that way), the horse really needed to work hard to get up the other side. And luckily when the horse threw its head back to gather steam and I threw my body forward to prevent myself from falling backwards out of the saddle I think I must have moved to the right slightly. If I hadn't I'm pretty sure the horse's neck would have broken my nose.

It's one of those moments that when you remember it felt like it was happening over a long period of time, but which in actuality would have been a couple of seconds, if that. It didn't scare me off riding though, I just haven't ever had another opportunity.

lifescouts - snake holding
Snake Holding

I blogged about the first (and currently only) time I held a snake back in 2010, but since 80% of the post isn't about snakes, I'll include the relevant bit here...

Ma and I had gone to the Goodwood Markets in November 2010 and while Ma was looking at girly things I gravitated over to the Animals Anonymous stand to pet the tame Tawny Frogmouth... so soft and such pretty eyes! And then I realised they were letting people hold the Centralian Carpet Python... so I had to have a go.

I'd never actually held a snake before, not because it freaks me out, I've just never had the opportunity... and I have to say that I liked it a lot! It was a big snake, at least a couple of metres long, and quite heavy against the back of my neck, but it was a comforting weight. And the snake was quite content to just flatten itself against my body and take advantage of my body heat.

I ended up just standing there stroking the snake (and yes, I'm aware of how dirty that sounds) for ages. Snakes are a weird texture... the scales were very smooth but at the same time because the scales are all individual the whole snake felt "ribbed". And the best description I can give for what the body of the snake felt like was like holding a leg of lamb... that's not quite right... but I could feel the spine and the rest of the snake just felt like muscle wrapped in the ribbed skin.

I totally loved it though... it was so awesome!

I really would like the opportunity to do it again... and although I don't think I could deal with owning a snake myself (the feeding aspect mainly) the idea of owning a snake isn't completely unappealing.

Pet Owning

When I was a little kid (I'm guessing it would have been Year 2 or 3... so I would have been about 7 or 8) my teacher set all of us a task of writing up our Christmas list (it must have been a slow day for education, either that or it was some sort of writing/spelling exercise).

My best friend at the time and I both had very, very short lists.

All my list said was "Kitten" and all his list said was "Puppy".

I didn't get a kitten for Christmas, that year or any other year for that matter.

There was the story of Mouja, but he was only "my cat" for about 12 hours. His photo is still on my fridge though.

All of the pets that I have really owned have been pretty easily contained and fairly low maintenance. There was a blue budgerigar called Beauty, I'm not completely sure what happened to her, but then there was another green budgerigar, Pretty Boy, we inherited from a friend of Ma's (and I didn't name him unfortunately).

I used to let him out in my room and let him fly around and generally hang out with me for a while. And once his leg got tangled in the cloth I was using to get him back into his cage and he broke his little leg.

They don't put little casts on a bird's leg when they break them, they just give you some drops to put in their water and you have to hope for the best.

Eventually Pretty Boy ended up going to live in a long triangular aviary in the classroom of the same teacher from the Zoo story. At least he had more room and other birds to hang out with.

My only other pets were a long line of goldfish that lived for varying lengths of time.

And of course, as usually happens, the fish that you really feel the least attachment to is the one that outlasts all the others (and as an aside, his name was Jaws because I once watched him suck the eyeball out of one of those goggly eyed fish... gross). Jaws eventually went to live in a friend's outdoor pond... I couldn't bring myself to just flush him, but he was the last fish left in the tank and he just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, so she put him in her pond.

For all I know he could still be there.

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