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May 3, 2012 3:17 PM   Subscribe


 
It's not that I want a baby to die, it's that I want the stupid parent who thinks its funny to taunt a caged animal to feel emotional pain.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [82 favorites]


The black-and-white stripes have nothing to do with it. Humans are prey for lions.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:20 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


I find it amazing that that child's survival instincts are so eroded that it isn't even trying to get away...
posted by ZaneJ. at 3:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


wrong, the stripes make it funnier
posted by idiopath at 3:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


Listening to the mom laughing hilariously at the sight of a lion going after her child made me want to vomit.
posted by kinetic at 3:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


Har Har stupid caged wild animal with its stupid instincts telling it to eat animals with certain patterns on them or else die. Har har har.
posted by item at 3:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Listening to the mom laughing hilariously at the sight of a lion going after her child made me appreciate mothers who understand physics, safety, and independent children.
posted by scrowdid at 3:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [110 favorites]


You shouldn't tease apex predators like that, it's mean.
posted by The Whelk at 3:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


The four food groups: Fast, Frozen, Instant, and Baby.
posted by netbros at 3:25 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


In all actuality that video would get a lot more hits if that big pane of glass hadn't been there.
posted by item at 3:25 PM on May 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


That parent is way more confident in that glass than I would be. I shudder whenever I hear the Tiger's roar in the big cat building at our zoo.
posted by drezdn at 3:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a parent, how can you not be at least slightly chilled by the sight of something trying to eat your baby?

At the very least, it's bad karma to laugh.

Also, what's with the tallscreen videos? Are a lot of people just holding their cameras sideways these days or something?
posted by notmydesk at 3:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Even knowing this is supposed to be a cute and funny video and that the lion is behind a glass enclosure, my basic instinct is to be appalled, and to grab that baby and run. Also, I can practically feel the disapproval of thousands of our prehistoric ancestors, and they are side-eyeing us and going, "Not cool, dudes, not cool."
posted by yasaman at 3:28 PM on May 3, 2012 [28 favorites]


There's something distasteful about laughing an animal's frantic attempt to survive.
posted by davebush at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


what's with the tallscreen videos?

Shot with an iPhone in its default vertical state. Different video services treat the video differently, YouTube apparently forces black bars around it.
posted by mathowie at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


notmydesk: "Also, what's with the tallscreen videos? Are a lot of people just holding their cameras sideways these days or something?"

Yes. Their camera phones. People shoot video the same way they'd take a still photo.

That's the real travesty here. It must stop.
posted by brundlefly at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [34 favorites]


laughing at
posted by davebush at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2012


MeFites try to castigate mother laughing at her child inches away from hungry lion, are foiled by anonymity of the Internet.
posted by ORthey at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


I just don't like moms, of any species.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


People shoot video the same way they'd take a still photo.

Ah, okay. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like I've been seeing it a lot lately.
posted by notmydesk at 3:31 PM on May 3, 2012


To be fair, when my kids were toddlers we'd take them to the zoo where the big cats were always inordinately interested in little people. It was pretty fascinating to watch how quickly a cheetah would focus on a three year old.
posted by Keith Talent at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice to see the kid was enjoying his day at the zoo. Bored baby looks bored. Hipster Portland parents taunt animal needlessly.
posted by Roger_Mexico at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2012


Listening to the mom laughing hilariously at the sight of a lion going after her child made me want to vomit.

You musn't go to many zoos. The last time I went to the zoo, I wanted to vomit too. There were these orangutans and they had this big bucket, and one puked in it and drank it, then puked in it again and passed it to another orangutan who did the same thing. By the time I left because I could take no more, there were 5 orangutans puking and drinking it and passing the bucket.

There's something distasteful about laughing an animal's frantic attempt to survive.

The lion isn't being starved in there, I don't think.
posted by Hoopo at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [28 favorites]


I felt this post calling me
posted by LionIndex at 3:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


Flash forward 25 years to the therapist's couch...
posted by darkstar at 3:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


i feel sorry for that lion if he knows what a zebra looks like that means he has live in freedom and now is on a jail

quasarlgq 34 seconds ago

That is one brave child. Or regular child who understands windows.

rubberbandiv 3 minutes ago

posted by the young rope-rider at 3:36 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This video is all over CNN.

I'm kind of annoyed by the whole "Dressed as Zebra" thing, as if the Lion saw the kid's stripes and it reminded him of a Zebra. The thing is, a Zebra's stripes are actually a kind of dazzle camoflage. They actually cause a lot of problems with the way big cats like lions see things and make it hard for them to attack a herd. Far from being something that a lion would find appealing, if the kid actually looked like a Zebra to the lion, the lion would have trouble seeing it and be visually confused by it. But I actually don't think there were enough stripes anyway.

Anyway, there are a lot of other videos of big cats pawing at little kids through the glass.

I actually saw something like that when I was at a local zoo. A grandmother (I think) had a little kid in a stroller and brought it up to the glass to look at a tiger. immediately the tiger got up and started pacing back and forth in front of the glass. The interesting thing was that the kid was kind of freaked out, and couldn't see her grandmother from the stroller. Seems like a natural reaction.
Also, I can practically feel the disapproval of thousands of our prehistoric ancestors, and they are side-eyeing us and going, "Not cool, dudes, not cool."
I saw a video once of a monkey or something actually taunting a tiger. It would swing down from the trees, poke the tiger (or something) and jump back up into the tree. The tiger had no way of getting the monkey, however, obviously, if the monkey fucked up it would be dead.

I don't think it's all that obvious that our ancestors didn't like to fuck with animals for fun.
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


Easily the funniest part of this post is the ominous quality of the title's "Part 1"
posted by Greg Nog at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [101 favorites]


That lion probably forgot all about this episode when it was fed a few minutes later, that glass is probably at least as well tested as the bridge they might have driven over to get to the zoo, the baby clearly gave not one shit about the whole thing, and this video is fucking funny. You guys should look into beta blockers.
posted by invitapriore at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [179 favorites]


There's something distasteful about laughing an animal's frantic attempt to survive.

Is this any more distasteful than playing with a cat with a string or laser pointer? I mean other than the "using your baby" part.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:39 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


Death by a thousand cutes.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:42 PM on May 3, 2012


Oh man, open lion mouth at baby head level gives me the shivers. I'm sure the glass is safe as could be, but I don't think I could stand there and watch if it were my kid.
posted by chatongriffes at 3:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


delmoi: "Anyway, there are a lot of other videos of big cats pawing at little kids through the glass. "

I once saw a rather bored-looking cougar at the Nashville zoo perk up and get very interested and pouncy when a little girl ran up to the glass and started making faces. I guess small children look tasty.
posted by brundlefly at 3:43 PM on May 3, 2012


I don't think the baby was brave, it was too young to understand what was going on, probably.
There's something distasteful about laughing an animal's frantic attempt to survive.
Dude, have you ever seen a housecat? They act the same way with those little cat toys, or a laser pointer. They're not "trying to survive" they have an instinctual drive to go after certain objects that look vaguely like the stuff they eat, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're hungry. If a cat does catch it's toy it just lets it go and tries to go for it again.

So really, even if the lion wasn't hungry he'd still want to 'play' with the kid.

To me it looked a little frustrating, seemingly, the cat would constantly be trying to grab this thing, and never actually succeed. But the cat would sometimes wake my friend up by bringing the cat toy to her in bed so obviously it liked doing it.
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


Damn woman, have a little respect... for something.
posted by Huplescat at 3:46 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My tries that furiously to bury leftover wet foot, and I feel no shame in laughing at her 300th attempt to dig through hardwood.
posted by flaterik at 3:47 PM on May 3, 2012


I shudder whenever I hear the Tiger's roar in the big cat building at our zoo.

Me too, but their bats better heat up soon, even granted how shitty the American Central is this year.

*backs out of thread*
posted by joe lisboa at 3:47 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


I had a similar encounter with a Nile crocodile (as an adult).
posted by Crabby Appleton at 3:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I get being sorry for a lion which is in a zoo in general, but not being sorry that the lion is "frustrated." Unfrustrated lion would equal eaten kid.

Empathy for other species is a wonderful thing, but not to the point of feeling sorry for them that they don't get to eat us much anymore.

I did take my kid to a zoo which had tigers behind walls like these when he was about 3; he had a startled, wary reaction and ran behind me for reassurance. So good on his survival instincts, I guess.
posted by emjaybee at 3:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


This video is all over CNN.

AND THAT IS THE BIGGEST TRAVESTY OF ALL.
posted by JHarris at 3:51 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Part 2?(A little bloody...)
posted by the_artificer at 3:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was great.
posted by OmieWise at 3:56 PM on May 3, 2012


I don't think the baby was brave, it was too young to understand what was going on, probably.

Yeah, I don't get the whole "confusing bravery with stupidity/ignorance" thing going on there. Chickens have more sense than that.
posted by elizardbits at 3:57 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bookhouse, et al.: "…I want the stupid parent who thinks its funny to taunt a caged animal to feel emotional pain."

I have to say, this might be taking the outrage too far by a couple of notches.

You take the kid to the zoo. You put the kid down in the designated viewing area to see the lion. The lion tries to eat the kid through the glass. You laugh for a minute or so and post the video on the Internet. I don't feel like this rises to the level of intentional taunting.

That being said, I haven't been to a zoo since grade school precisely because I don't find any entertainment in viewing caged animals. The local zoo was particularly bad. (Although reading that article, I guess they improved.) Maybe other zoos are better, but I've never desired to go to one after visiting the sorry affair in Atlanta.

Obviously, the right place for wild animals is in the wild. To the extent zoos are desirable for scientific or preservation purposes, I tolerate them. I think ideally the animals in zoos wouldn't even know they were being observed. If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at the habitat designer who thought it was a good idea to allow that level of interaction with the public. The kid is clearly innocent. The mom is off the hook as far as I'm concerned.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:58 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


TURN YOUR CAMERA SIDEWAYS! I feel like a peeping Tom when I see these videos.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was oddly disturbing, worse than Carrot Top.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: taking the outrage too far by a couple of notches.

...sorry.
posted by IjonTichy at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


A lot of people laugh reflexively when they're nervous or surprised.

A similar thing happened to my son when he was about 7 at the little zoo in Syracuse NY. Only it was a tiger, and rather than dressed in zebra stripes my son had a winter cap on that had 4-inch spikes all over it (maybe resembling antlers?). And the tiger didn't jump around and frantically paw at the glass like that. It hunched down to his level, face to surprisingly large tiger-face, and slowly licked the glass between them. Big, long, slow, patient licks of the smooth glass between them with this tremendous tongue the size of my son's head. We were absolutely transfixed.
posted by headnsouth at 4:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [23 favorites]


I have to say, this might be taking the outrage too far by a couple of notches.

Well, my desire to have the baby eaten might have been a little tongue in cheek.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:06 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do big cats "play" with their prey the way little cats do? In which case it's not just a survival / food instinct
posted by Bwithh at 4:10 PM on May 3, 2012


To be fair, when my kids were toddlers we'd take them to the zoo where the big cats were always inordinately interested in little people. It was pretty fascinating to watch how quickly a cheetah would focus on a three year old.

Number of years ago we were at the Cape May Zoo when I could feel one lions eyeing my 2-year-old son with great interest. I could literally feel the hair standing up on the back of my neck - this cat was looking at my kid as food. I got the fuck out of there quickly, no sense in tempting fate. But I see this and I think - Mom, you'd better fucking hope that the glass is as strong as you think it is.
posted by kgasmart at 4:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


There've been quite a few of these glassboxed-lion-goes-apeshit-trying-to-eat-human-child videos and gifs around lately.

I feel like it means something culturally beyond just the growing infatuation with recording our lives rather than just living them, but it's probably just people being disengeged parents and valuing the approbation of their youtube peers than the emotional wellbeing of their kids. Nothing all that new there, perhaps, other than the technology involved.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:17 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


...more than...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:18 PM on May 3, 2012


I watched this while my own kitten was gnawing on my foot quite enthusiastically trying to convince me that she really needed dinner now and not, say, several hours from now at actual dinnertime. Maybe that's why I feel less intrinsically threatened--I'm used to being seen as potential food and feeling safe just on the grounds that it isn't really going to happen--and why I don't feel so bad for the cat, because it's not like there isn't going to be food later that doesn't happen to be somebody's baby.
posted by gracedissolved at 4:20 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'm not surprised this was filmed in Portland, Oregon. Just sayin'
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe the dingo ate your baby?
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Easily the funniest part of this post is the ominous quality of the title's "Part 1"

Yeah, where do I click for the third act?
posted by notyou at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


delmoi: To me it looked a little frustrating, seemingly, the cat would constantly be trying to grab this thing, and never actually succeed.

One way I've seen to get around that is to finish up a laser pointer session by pointing to a cat treat, waiting for the pounce, and shutting it off. :)
posted by Malor at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


I think ideally the animals in zoos wouldn't even know they were being observed.

Excellent idea. I look forward to a metamaterial zoo
posted by crayz at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


i thought it was great that the mom wasn't freaking out. it would be one thing if she was ignoring something that was putting her child in danger, but *she wasnt'*. reality-based parenting, i'm all for it.
posted by facetious at 4:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


I saw a video once of a monkey or something actually taunting a tiger

This is probably the video. Goddamn gibbons.
posted by jamaro at 4:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


I know that glass seems fragile because it's clear, but yes, cage glass is as strong as people think it is. If it wasn't, a lion would have broken out at some point during the years before.

I don't think these are "dangerous hipster" parents, at least not based on this video. The argument could be made that these are just practical, non-superstitious parents.
posted by ignignokt at 4:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm sort of annoyed on behalf of the lion, but I can't articulate why. Maybe it's just that people who can't manage a little healthy respect for enormous nearby predators strike me as lacking in imagination.

I guess I'm also not convinced that the frustration of an animal experiencing lifetime confinement to a too-small space is really all THAT funny. I hate to be the guy who thinks about this stuff too hard, but I kind of feel that if videos of people in cages scrabbling for cheeseburgers would be considered not-very-funny, then a video of a lion in the same situation is probably not funny in roughly the same way. Who knows--'Guy on skateboard breaks leg' seems to be a genre of YouTube video now, so maybe we can look forward to a 'People In Cages Taunted With Cheeseburgers' channel in our near dystopian future.

What the hell; there's worse stuff happening in the world that I've now given less thought to. Carry on.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 4:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's something distasteful about laughing an animal's frantic attempt to survive.

Many common pet behaviors that we consider cute and endearing are leftover behaviors for pack and social bonding, and these could be construed as "attempts to survive."

* The cat rubbing up against your leg isn't happy to see you. It's marking you.
* The dog barking at strangers? It's not warning you. It's calling you for help against a possible threat.
* The bird that imitates your voice? It doesn't think it's fun. It want to fuck you.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [42 favorites]


The cat rubbing up against your leg isn't happy to see you. It's marking you.

Why can't it be both?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


You shouldn't tease apex predators like that, it's mean.

Wait, the mom's the apex predator. "Who's in a cage, now?"
posted by resurrexit at 4:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why can't it be both?

Well, if you manage to ask a cat what it thinks, I'll be happy to amend my opinion on the matter.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:39 PM on May 3, 2012


Hey, MetaFilter. Chill the fuck out.
posted by klanawa at 4:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


Metafilter: 5 orangutans puking and drinking it and passing the bucket.
posted by zaelic at 4:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


That's right. A modern zoo enclosure will absolutely absolutely keep a big cat contained. And a even if a big cat somehow escaped, what are the odds it would remember, track down and kill someone who had taunted it? Those parents have absolutely nothing to worry about.

But I'm a little old-fashioned when it comes to interacting with humanity's most formidable predatory opponents, I guess. If all you modern-minded parents don't mind, I'll keep listening to that little hopelessly outdated voice in my head that says GRAB THE KID AND GET THE FUCK AWAY.
posted by BlueJae at 4:47 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


I'm not surprised this was filmed in Portland, Oregon. Just sayin'

I like turtles... and lions.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Perhaps it was hoping to be shot so it wouldn't have to live in a cage for the amusement of others.
posted by Glinn at 4:53 PM on May 3, 2012


Lion: At last finally someone at molar level. Hey kid, kid, kid, hey, hey, hey. Over here. Look in here. See that impacted wisdom tooth. No, here, all the way in the back. No, look in here. No, right here. I'll open wider so you can see it better. Hey kid, hey, pay attention. I need some help here. Hey kid, can you please tell the feline dentistry department to get on it right away. I'm in some serious pain here.
posted by marsha56 at 4:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


Reminds me of this Japanese (game?) show segment.

Still, parents? What the actual fuck did you conceive this child for? There is no way in fancy fuckburg that I would let my child sit there while a lion frenziedly tries to eat it on the other side of some glass. What if the glas breaks? What if the kid is traumatized for life, pursued by visions of great cats nipping at his/her heels?

This is so bizarre.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah. That kid looks super traumatized.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


Okay, this is hilarious and I love it.

1. The lion was probably trying to eat the kid, yeah, but it also looked like she was possibly trying to simply carry him away by his neck, like cat mothers do. Kid was just sitting there in the "open." Probably doesn't look right to a lion.

2. I'm certain there are frustrations for animals in captivity, and bad zoos will demonstrate these. But I've only really been to good zoos, with tons of space for natural environments and ecosystems and whatnot. I'm willing to claim that some enclosure is a fair tradeoff for not spending everyday trying not to die. But then, I eat meat and wear leather so I'm not going to claim to be any authority on animal ethics.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:05 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


My instincts would make me grab my baby and run. Also, so would these videos of zoo glass breaking, a, b, etc.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 5:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm willing to claim that some enclosure is a fair tradeoff for not spending everyday trying not to die.

How long would you be willing to be confined to the room you're in right now, in exchange for free Happy Meals?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Baby isn't dressed as a zebra. Black and white stripe make baby dressed like a prisoner, while the lion is the real prisoner.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


you know what the #1 cause of traumatized kids is? freaked-out parents. being scared of things that are scary is somewhere down near the bottom of the list.

you know what the #1 cause of traumatized big cats is? being shot and having their territories destroyed. not being able to eat the baby is at the very bottom of the list.
posted by facetious at 5:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


How long would you be willing to be confined to the room you're in right now, in exchange for free Happy Meals?

Does the alternative involve battling the elements and dodging a bunch of things trying to eat me?
posted by Navelgazer at 5:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


How long would you be willing to be confined to the room you're in right now, in exchange for free Happy Meals?

Well, the current arrangement is ten hours a day, and two more in a smaller, moving room that plays music.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:22 PM on May 3, 2012 [69 favorites]


Does the alternative involve battling the elements and dodging a bunch of things trying to eat me?

Lions, man. Talk about gender disparity. Males sleep like 20 hours a day, waking up only to eat or fuck. The females engage in all the actual hunting, stalking and killing. Yet male lions are the ones that adorn royalist insignia to express power and might. Male lions have all the power and might of Al Bundy, so fuck those guys. Seriously, what a bunch of assholes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [23 favorites]


I volunteer at this zoo, and the keepers are pretty unhappy with this active hunting behavior from the lionesses, because of, well, everything everyone in this thread is complaining about. The philosophy of the zoo staff is that it enriches animals lives to have both positive and (minor/within reason) negative experiences, so I think the odd mildly frustrating experience isn't so bad, but as summer approaches there will be more and more children at the zoo. The lions are all about five years old, so they're still pretty frisky and they need to be desensitized to prey animals.

So every other day after closing, the poor pygmy goats get herded past the lion enclosure, and unlike this kid, those goats know predators when they get near them. I thought this hunting behavior was dying down, but I guess not. If there's anyone to feel sorry for here, it's the pygmy goats who have to keep doing the desensitization training, you guys.
posted by emyd at 5:25 PM on May 3, 2012 [149 favorites]


My instincts would make me grab my baby and run. Also, so would these videos of zoo glass breaking.

You link those videos. I do not think one of them is what you think it is.
posted by emperor.seamus at 5:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: If there's anyone to feel sorry for here, it's the pygmy goats who have to keep doing the desensitization training, you guys.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


My instincts would make me grab my baby and run. Also, so would these videos of zoo glass breaking, a , b , etc.

Probably a good idea to watch videos before you post them.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Still, parents? What the actual fuck did you conceive this child for? There is no way in fancy fuckburg that I would let my child sit there while a lion frenziedly tries to eat it on the other side of some glass. What if the glas breaks? What if the kid is traumatized for life, pursued by visions of great cats nipping at his/her heels?
Holy crap people you need to lighten up. I cannot believe people are actually, like, scared of a lion biting through anti-lion glass. The kid was probably 1000 times more likely to die in a car accident that day then be eaten by a lion at the zoo.

Are you afraid that the xenomorphs will eat you when you go to the movies too?
posted by delmoi at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


ignignokt: "... cage glass is as strong as people think it is. If it wasn't, a lion would have broken out at some point during the years before."
While my outrage over this video is non-existing, your comment made me think of a newspaper article two months ago, when one of the cheetahs in Cologne zoo jumped the fence of the enclosure and (with a bit of goading from the keepers) jumped back inside.

Asked why the fence, originally from 1987, wasn't built high enough, the zoo's director said something to the effect of "we thought it was, but apparently it was just the case that no cheetah felt like escaping until now."
Chaussette and the Pussy Cats: "My instincts would make me grab my baby and run. Also, so would these videos of zoo glass breaking, a, b, etc."
Did you even watch those videos? In the first one, yes, the glass is broken but still in place. You'd have time to evacuate the premises before the gorilla starts flinging glass shards at people. The second ... gah.
posted by brokkr at 5:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


How long would you be willing to be confined to the room you're in right now, in exchange for free Happy Meals?

It's an animal. It doesn't have the same definition as "how long" and "willing" and "confined" and even "right now."

Last year, I took my dog to the vet about a skin growth on her foot. The vet said they could remove the growth, but there was a danger to the underlying tissue. The dog might end up losing her toe.

"Will she...?" I was about to ask about her range of motion and capability to walk.

The vet quickly cut me off.

"Oh, don't worry," she said. "She won't miss it, like you or I would mourn the loss of a finger. Dogs don't have the same emotional connections as we do."

And I thought, holy shit. This vet actually has to stop and explain this to people. So much so that she went out of her way to interrupt me.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:36 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Does the alternative involve battling the elements and dodging a bunch of things trying to eat me?

Wait a minute... we're talking about lions here. Lions probably get rained on occasionally; presumably they can go under a tree or something. I'm pretty sure they don't spend a lot of time dodging things that are trying to eat them.

This isn't really a big hot-button issue for me, and I sort of have the feeling that I'm only arguing about it because that's what one does on the internet. But I think people tend to imagine that zoo animals don't experience confinement the way people would, because, you know, they're just animals, or something. I can't speak for anybody else, but if was locked in a space that amounted to a few multiples of my body length, with a few other randomly picked people thrown in with me, and crowds of people staring at me all the time, I'd be ready to volunteer for the medical experiments or whatever else would get me out of there after about two weeks, max.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:39 PM on May 3, 2012


Dogs don't have the same emotional connections as we do."

And I thought, holy shit. This vet actually has to stop and explain this to people.


Would it mess up your world-view if I suggested that that is a made-up fact that's not supported by, I don't know, anything?
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


Actually if you look at the numbers, I can only think of two people who were killed by a big cat at a zoo (that one in SF, which didn't have glass) in the past decade, whereas probably about a half million were killed in car accidents. So really, the kid is at least about 250,000 times more likely to die in a car accident then be eaten by a lion at the zoo.
Did you even watch those videos? In the first one, yes, the glass is broken but still in place. You'd have time to evacuate the premises before the gorilla starts flinging glass shards at people. The second ... gah.
They actually mentioned this on the CNN report. The glass is actually three panes of glass fused together (it's the same glass with the lion). The middle pane broke in the case of the gorilla, but the rest were fine. Still, if the gorilla understood glass he might realize he was making progress. But probably he doesn't.
posted by delmoi at 5:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


What made the video worse for me was the fucking hipster, alterna-mom laugh of a woman more interested in the media she was creating than what it means to stand idly while a huge predator frenziedly tries to eat her infant.

It's just in poor taste, and her laugh makes her sound like a sort of textbook urban ironist.
posted by jayder at 5:46 PM on May 3, 2012


Would it mess up your world-view if I suggested that that is a made-up fact that's not supported by, I don't know, anything?

I think he meant an emotional connection to the body part. And why would a dog care? Would you really even care if you lost a toe? Humans only care about our fingers because we use them to type and whatnot, and because we are vain.
posted by delmoi at 5:47 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Would it mess up your world-view if I suggested that that is a made-up fact that's not supported by, I don't know, anything?

Again, if you can ask a dog and actually get an answer, I would be happy to change my opinion.

"Schukums, do you miss your toe?"
"Woof."
"Do you know what cancer is?"
"Woof."
"It was really the best available option."
"Woof."
"It'll be OK. Who wants a treat? Do ya? Do ya?"
"Woof."

Look, I love my dog. I've had her for almost 16 years. But I don't pretend that if I died, she wouldn't eat my corpse at the first available opportunity.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:47 PM on May 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


what it means to stand idly while a huge predator frenziedly tries to eat her infant.
What, exactly, does it mean?

Seriously, I do not understand this reaction at all. The kid wasn't in any danger. Are you like people like, intellectually incapable of understanding the difference between things that are dangerous, and things that are not dangerous but kind of look like things that are?

It's like you don't understand the difference between appearance and reality. It makes no sense to me, like being afraid that monsters from a movie could somehow harm you. It's just so bizarre.
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Are you afraid that the xenomorphs will eat you when you go to the movies too?

YES ACTUALLY
posted by elizardbits at 5:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


"That's, like, almost ... not ... cool ..."

Stupid hipsters.
posted by jayder at 5:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's fascinating, because it really explodes the whole mythology of zoos as places where animals and humans are all in peace and harmony. Of course that lioness wants to eat your baby--it's a predator. And of course it can't, because it's in a glass box. What a weird world all of us live in.

(I am also fairly pro-zoo, because I think that confining some born-in-captivity animals as a way to keep people focused on how awesome those animals are and thus donating to protecting them in their wild habitats is the best compromise solution we can find given all the social, cultural, and economically overdetermined aspects of humanity's relationship with other species at the present time. I think if kids couldn't see some lions in these habitats, they would grow up not giving a fuck if every lion in the wild died tomorrow. But I know other people have very different opinions on that topic, and there's lots to be said in support of their points of view.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:56 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's just poor taste, delmoi, for her to laugh at it. Just poor taste. It has nothing to do with whether the animal could harm the child. The whole thing is just gross.
posted by jayder at 5:56 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


So fucking what if she were a hipster? What's wrong with hipsters, anyway? How is this video remotely indicative of hipsterness? Could this be the most times I've used "hipster" or some variation thereof in a single comment? We may never know.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:57 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


There were these orangutans and they had this big bucket, and one puked in it and drank it, then puked in it again and passed it to another orangutan who did the same thing. By the time I left because I could take no more, there were 5 orangutans puking and drinking it and passing the bucket.

Holy cats! I lived with these guys in college, except they were rugby players.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:58 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sing or Swim, I get that, and I apologize for being snarky above. My experience with zoos has been much better than what you've described, with large enclosures simulating a natural habitat and with tons of space out of the way of peering eyes. Strictly speaking it's a better set-up than my own cats have.

Speaking of my cats, when I adopted them, they both had emotional problems, which seemed to be related to their environment at the shelter. Fitz was having, well, fits. (He wasn't named after this fact. I'd had the name "Fitzgerald" picked out before I met him.) as a small kiten he'd go berserk in his cage at the shelter and when let out immediately run around picking fights with the biggest animals in there. Gatsby was a couple months younger, and one of a litter of three, and the other two kittens had been adopted together, leaving him there alone and so depressed that he wouldn't eat.

Those problems both got better almost immediately when I got them home. There was more room to roam around, and they had each other and bonded instantly. I'm well aware of the fact that animals can have psychological issues, and that environment is a factor in those. But I'm not going to anthropomorphize from myself and guess that I understand it all that well.

Bad zoos are bad zoos. Animals shouldn't be kept in small confines. Good zoos don't do that. Good zoos are staffed with people who got into that line of work because of a love of animals and an empathy for them. They also, I would argue, do more harm than good in their educational value and conservation efforts.

Frankly, we do a lot of horrible things to animals. As I've said, I am complicit in a lot of that, something I don't really like to think about. At least with good zoos, though, I feel justified in believing that their benefits are great enough, and their creulties so limited, as to make them not worth my worrying about.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:58 PM on May 3, 2012


Seriously, I do not understand this reaction at all. The kid wasn't in any danger. Are you like people like, intellectually incapable of understanding the difference between things that are dangerous, and things that are not dangerous but kind of look like things that are?

I think people aren't objecting to the parent putting the child in danger: they are objecting to the character of a parent who laughs at their children being put in fictionalized danger. I guess they'd also think it'd be unseemly to photoshop your baby into a bunch of disaster scenes or horror movies or car accident photos.

(I think that'd be pretty funny though.)
posted by painquale at 6:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


posted by jayder It's just poor taste

No way. The lion clearly thinks that baby is very tasty.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's wrong with hipsters, anyway?

Wrong thread.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:07 PM on May 3, 2012


The thing about this movie is that it doesn't show you why you should respect the apex predator.

For example: this video, where the HOLYCRAPLION starts at about 0:15. You never see how much taller the glass is, but my take is "not tall enough".
posted by Decimask at 6:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's just poor taste, delmoi, for her to laugh at it. Just poor taste. It has nothing to do with whether the animal could harm the child. The whole thing is just gross.
Why is it in poor taste? It makes no sense to me. It's causing tension, which is what people find funny. How is it any worse then laughing at a cat playing with a laser pointer?
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This zoo glass can even stop killer whales
posted by delmoi at 6:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


You let your kid play in the FRONT YARD? What is the matter with you?!?
posted by absalom at 6:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


They also, I would argue, do more harm than good in their educational value and conservation efforts.

I obviously meant "more good than harm"
posted by Navelgazer at 6:25 PM on May 3, 2012


Metafilter: My tries that furiously to bury leftover wet foot
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, so would these videos of zoo glass breaking [...]

Um, you know that in the first video the glass only cracked (from a full-on charging gorilla) and in the second video it's just a python sittin' there right?

I mean I'm sure these things happen, but...

at first i thought the second one was going to be that clip from harry potter
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahhh Metafilter, its always good to be reminded that you're full of humourless people that love overanalysation and outrage
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 6:43 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


For example: this video, where the HOLYCRAPLION starts at about 0:15 . You never see how much taller the glass is, but my take is "not tall enough".

I love that. The mom in that video actually acts like a mom.
posted by jayder at 6:45 PM on May 3, 2012


Ahhh Metafilter, its always good to be reminded that you're full of humourless people

I'm actually laughing at the hip mom.
posted by jayder at 6:46 PM on May 3, 2012


Jesus Christ. Of all the FPPs that I've made, I seriously was not expecting this to be the one that would turn into a shitstorm.
posted by schmod at 7:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [35 favorites]




I know the kid is not in danger from the lioness. Also, I don't care: The video makes me deeply uncomfortable. If it were my kid the first time the lioness opened her mouth at baby head level I would have said "that's enough of that" and picked up my kid. It's not about safety; it about a large predator at baby head level.
posted by jscalzi at 7:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow that kid had no survival instincts at all. Didn't even look around. I guess the advantages of that big brain don't start to kick in until after some years have passed. Up until then, if alone and exposed, you're just a snack. It makes me respect the early humans so much more: their children were basically dead weight until they were smart and physically strong enough to contribute something. After a hazardous childbirth it would be years before the child actually became effective at anything other than being adorable.

Contrast this with rival predators like lions - their cubs could be left alone for a day while the parents hunted. A human baby would just die. An adult human is a pretty formidable creature even when it isn't thinking about things - early hunters would catch animals by running them to exhaustion. Once you add human intelligence, the whole thing reminds me of linear fighters vs quadratic wizards, with the lions as the fighters.
posted by Ritchie at 7:25 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I bet later, after they got home, the parents let the kid play with a dead squirrel. That's how fucked up I can tell they are from this 30 second video.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


Big cats in the wild have occasionally be known to adopt the young of prey species. Example. (Warning: A whole lot less uplifting than one might assume.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


As someone who was abandoned by my human parents and left to be raised by lions, I can assure you that lions are usually very nice around human babies.

Also, it was nice to see Uncle Ted again in an internet video.

Hi, Ted!
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:51 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's not about safety; it about a large predator at baby head level.

I get that, but I dunno. As a parent, I try not to remove my children from a situation that isn't dangerous and in which my child shows no sign of being afraid, no matter the unusualness of it.

Think of it this way: our children are lucky enough to be born into a time and place where they can be mere inches away from some of the most awesome forces of nature ever to evolve, and yet be perfectly safe. They get to observe these animals up close. How fucking wonderful is that?

The cat's clawing the glass? Is the kid crying? No? Then why take his away his joy, or at least the opportunity to look a wild animal in the eye and walk away? At long last, have you no sense of awesome?
posted by middleclasstool at 7:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


For some reason I got a totally different take on the lioness' behaviour - it totally looked to me like the lioness was trying to pick the kid up by the scruff of the neck to carry away somewhere rather than aggressively trying to eat the kid.

Yes, yes, certain big cats are notorious for their strategy of biting a small ape's head to carrying them off somewhere that they could be eaten casually (iirc, it was from an old National Geographic showcasing a primitive human skull with big-cat teeth through it like a bowling ball).

I wonder how long that lioness has been in this enclosure; surely, she would eventually learn what glass is given that it's always in the same place.
posted by porpoise at 8:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lion tries to eat baby human dressed like a zebra

How that lion got dressed as a zebra, I'll never know.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:12 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


"As a parent, I try not to remove my children from a situation that isn't dangerous and in which my child shows no sign of being afraid, no matter the unusualness of it."

Your choice. As a parent, I try not to put my child into situations which make me uncomfortable, because my kid will be rather more attuned to me being uncomfortable than she will the supposed majesty of a top predator trying to bite its way through glass to get at her.

Also, in this particular case, the infant doesn't seem to be particularly engaged by the lion; he's not even looking at her. Nor is it likely the kid would have any memory of the incident at so young an age. So I'm not 100% buying the "isn't this cool for the kid" argument.

What I do notice is a small kid sitting by himself while his parents, nowhere near him, are busily filming away while the lion goes predator behind him. Which makes me think they may be something akin to assholes.
posted by jscalzi at 8:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jesus motherfucking Christ. Am I reading the comments section of Metafilter, or a Fox affiliate website?
posted by peep at 8:20 PM on May 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


People are blaming the parents, but let's face it, most of the blame should be aimed at the small child.

These kids today have no sense of self-preservation. They're too busy with their video games and their Miley Cyrus and their Justin Biebers to even know when a lion is about to swallow their heads. These kids today will never survive, because it's a jungle out there.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


When I saw that earlier today I thought it was pretty funny the way the lion seemed to be trying to measure how wide it would have to open its mouth to get the baby in there. But I also think it was mean of the kid's parents to taunt the lion like that. They should show some respect.

Also, in this particular case, the infant doesn't seem to be particularly engaged by the lion; he's not even looking at her. Nor is it likely the kid would have any memory of the incident at so young an age. So I'm not 100% buying the "isn't this cool for the kid" argument.

Yeah but for sure the parents will save the photos and show them to the kid when he's older. The kid might not find it so funny to have been used as lion bait, even in jest.

* The dog barking at strangers? It's not warning you. It's calling you for help against a possible threat.

* The cat jumping on your head and waking you up just in time for you to realize the house is on fire? It's not trying to save your life. It just wants you to go open the door so it can GTFO.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:38 PM on May 3, 2012


Can't someone find the video mildly amusing and be a little discomfited by it? I mean, I smiled when I first watched it, but my first instinctive reaction was omg get that baby out of there. Because, y'know, that's an apex predator clawing at where that baby's head would be if there weren't any glass. I've stood in front of one of those glass walls with a lion stalking back and forth and growling mere inches away from me, and I may have been giggling, but it was a very nervous sort of giggle.
posted by yasaman at 8:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


because my kid will be rather more attuned to me being uncomfortable than she will the supposed majesty of a top predator trying to bite its way through glass to get at her.

Also, in this particular case, the infant doesn't seem to be particularly engaged by the lion; he's not even looking at her. Nor is it likely the kid would have any memory of the incident at so young an age.


You can't have it both ways. Either the kid is attuned/engaged or not. Either the kid would have a (whether good or traumatic) memory or not. And as fuse theorem, points, out, this video is logged for the kid to come back to later in life and give his own judgment on the situation.

What I do notice is a small kid sitting by himself while his parents, nowhere near him, are busily filming away while the lion goes predator behind him. Which makes me think they may be something akin to assholes.

Nowhere near him...and yet close enough to film him? Indeed, pointing a camera right at him and watching him very closely? And again, the child is in precisely zero danger and is not upset, and yet his parents are "assholes"? Respectfully: c'mon, man.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Dunno wtf with the extra commas there, but hopefully my point's readable regardless.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:46 PM on May 3, 2012


Makes me think of Cat Williams tiger skit [NSFW]
posted by nowhere man at 8:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


schmod: "Jesus Christ. Of all the FPPs that I've made, I seriously was not expecting this to be the one that would turn into a shitstorm"

Seriously! Not at all the reaction I expected on coming in here. Those seem like well-adjusted parents, they clearly can think rationally about danger and risk, the kid seems pretty calm and collected, and the cat was just trying to take advantage of what it saw as a promising situation. Everyone leaves happy and the lion got to practice attack techniques. Win-win!

delmoi: "Are you afraid that the xenomorphs will eat you when you go to the movies too?"

delmoi wins the thread.
posted by barnacles at 8:51 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this talk of parenting and lions really complements this week's episode of Nature, which is all about how different animals have different parenting styles (Warning: it features lots of baby animals dying, which was pretty hard for my wife to take).

Anyway, they spend a lot of time near the end of the show on lions. They really put lions on display as violent brutes. Apparently the lioness hides her cubs for the first several weeks so that the rest of the lions won't kill them. Eventually, she has to introduce the cubs to the rest of the pride. The pride leader walks up to the cute little lion cubs, all snarling and threatening with the clear message "I AM SO GOING TO KILL THIS CUB" but his Daddy instincts are just strong enough that he holds back..."BUT HE'S KIND OF CUTE...NO, I AM GOING TO BITE HIM IN HALF...OR PLAY WITH HIM".

Eventually the cub melts his heart. But them some other males take over the pack and snuff out the cubs anyway.
posted by polecat at 9:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really hate this video too, even though I know the baby is in no danger, but I don't like the idea of someone thinking a thing trying to eat their baby is funny. I don't think it's funny; if they do, well, it's their business.

But there are many things that do no actual harm, that we don't like/permit too: we don't like people to do things to dead people (or even the place where they are buried!), and we don't like people to use pictures of our children for non-wholesome purposes, even though we know perfectly well that these things do not harm our loved ones. This is kind of on the same kind of spectrum of "does no actual harm, and yet..." for me.
posted by thylacinthine at 9:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, it was nice to see Uncle Ted again in an internet video.

That is clearly Aunt Rita, not Uncle Ted.
posted by daisystomper at 9:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


As I am wont to do with SLYT posts, I read the comments first to determine if the video was worth watching.

After watching, I rather disagree with the idea the mom is a hipster or rational about the glass being thick enough to be protective. I think she's just one of a couple million 'mericans that haven't an effin' clue about any animals except their spoiled and amusing little mini-poowawas.

They're more and more common all the time--people that have grown up in the city, or just isolated from nature, and don't have any conception of what a wild animal is or is capable of doing. Ask any park ranger in Yellowstone about people having their kids pose with the elk, or Uncle Dan who walks right up to the buffalo to snap a close-up. People try to feed the bears from their cars, and wonder why the mean bear climbed in and ripped the seats out of their SUV. I don't invite people I don't know to ride horseback with me anymore, because they're downright scary around a trained large domestic animal. With a predator, they'd be just walking around with big EAT ME signs on their back.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I almost feel bad for the cat. And kindve wanted to just toss him the baby hahahaha im so terrible.

ChillTraX 13 minutes ago "

Kindve. It's the corollary to constructions like "should of". Amazing.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I feel like it means something culturally beyond just the growing infatuation with recording our lives rather than just living them, but it's probably just people being disengeged parents and valuing the approbation of their youtube peers than the emotional wellbeing of their kids

Naah, they're just funny. The kids are okay with it, as shown in this particular example, where the little kid starts to cry when mommy pulls them away from the funny lioness...

Malarky of the "growing infatuation etc" must at this point be as old as the first Kodak point and click boxes. Main difference is that we now have almost realtime youtube upload rather than evening long dia shows of what we did on holidays.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


After watching, I rather disagree with the idea the mom is a hipster or rational about the glass being thick enough to be protective. I think she's just one of a couple million 'mericans that haven't an effin' clue about any animals except their spoiled and amusing little mini-poowawas.

What a bunch of nonsense. If the glass wasn't there, she'd be just as terrified of the lion as you are.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


If it were my kid the first time the lioness opened her mouth at baby head level I would have said "that's enough of that" and picked up my kid.

And suddenly it has become much clearer to me how (rightwing) politicians can keep getting elected on fear based agendas when it's so obvious the fears they play on are so exaggerated.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


Hopefully the people who are concerned about lion-proof glass don't drive their kids anywhere, ever. Because that shit is actually dangerous.
posted by Orchestra at 11:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


i think its gross because as a parent, she should be teaching her children to have survival instincts and to be wary and cautious around potentially dangerous situations. it's true there was probably minimal cause for fear, but teaching your children to have respect for predators seems pretty basic to me. Is she going to laugh if some child molester hanging around her kid's school has an ankle bracelet?
posted by gt2 at 11:29 PM on May 3, 2012


Just because a word like 'predator' can be applied in two totally different domains does not mean that the things it points to are equivalent.* Sheesh. Do I really need to point out that a lion is not the same kind of predator as a child molester?

(The elementary school I grew up in had a big glass walled entrance. Food for thought.)

*By that logic, I get a whole new spin on "have respect for predators".
posted by iamkimiam at 11:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh. "grew up in". That's a funny slip. I guess I did spend quite a lot of time in the library.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:41 PM on May 3, 2012


Until I had kids, I was very blasé about child endangerment - "Child's chewing on an extension cord? Yuck, of gross-tasting isnt it?" Since kids, I am more aware of the arbitrariness. "But the lioness is behind lion-proof glass!" "Sure, fine, dontgiveashit takingbabyaway.".

As mentioned up thread, some jokes I just don't find as funny anymore. I did appreciate the frisson of terror though.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:48 PM on May 3, 2012


Genuinely fascinating to see the range of reactions here; as a man yet to inflict my hideous progeny upon the world, I'd imagine myself laughing my ass off in a similar situation, but could see how that might change once I'd had a kid for real.

The hipster snark is kind of uncomfortable and gross; some folks love a label that helps them sneer, I guess.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


IT'S THE ANTICHRIST, YOU IDIOTS! Seriously, am I the only one that can smell the evils? HELP ME KILL IT ALREADY
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:01 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Yeah, where do I click for the third act?"

Chekov's lion.
posted by klangklangston at 1:10 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lion != tiger. Please don't compare their behavior, it's very shaky. Tigers are scary, solitary beasts. Lions are lazy, social beasts.

I am far more inclined that the lioness was being parental. Mind you, I'm far more afraid of a lioness than a male lion! But still, lions are more like domestic cats than you're likely to imagine. When my cat DEMANDED the door be opened to get out of the house, in an earthquake, she went out, then DEMANDED that I follow her! (Toots, the best cat ever!)

Sure, it's possible a lioness would consider a human baby a snack. I was surprised that male lion took the baby antelope. But he was a male, who aren't good hunters (in fact, lone males are probably the most dangerous to humans, because they are bad hunters). A lioness is more inclined to big game for natural prey.

As for the video itself: It's a phone. It's made to be held a certain way. What exactly is "wrong" with portrait-format video, apart from the idiotic fact many players can't display it other than sideways? I've often shot scenes I thought would be better in portrait.

I will allow for some sympathy for the lioness. She's frustrated, and that's not nice. I'll assume she's being nice, and nice shouldn't be frustrated. The laughter? Well, given the utter absurdity of a lioness appearing to attempt to attack your baby, and yet there is no danger, that's worth some laughter. But I really do think the lioness would have started by pinning then licking the baby, like any other cub.
posted by Goofyy at 1:12 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


The thing that I find interesting is the weird feeling of vertigo, when your rational mind knows there is no danger, but the 'inner caveman' is absolutely freaking out. A weird disconnect. Also the kid wasn't in danger, it's impossible to judge someone's parenting skills form a 2 min video, there are plenty of times as a parent that weird juxtapositions occur which out of context can be read in a million different ways. If he is anything like my son, by the time the kid is 6/7 he will think it's the coolest thing he's ever seen.
posted by jaksoul at 2:24 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I too find it incredible that the mom can stand there laughing with lion at baby head level, inches separating soft pink innocent tender thing from big scary teeth and chomping, and OK, maybe zoo glass never breaks, but weird fucking shit happens every day that no one planned for, and I'll be goddamned if I am not gonna snatch my fucking baby away from any near occasion of random chaotic universal fucked up thing. Every once in a while, it happens -- instinct, and I have respect.
posted by thinkpiece at 3:54 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Lion and Albert by Marriott Edgar. Aka Albert and the Lion (narrated here by Stanley Holloway).
posted by rochrobbb at 5:06 AM on May 4, 2012


MartinWisse:

"And suddenly it has become much clearer to me how (rightwing) politicians can keep getting elected on fear based agendas when it's so obvious the fears they play on are so exaggerated."

This earns an eyeroll from me on a personal level, because my voting track record rather emphatically argues against a susceptibility to right-wing fear politics, and another eyeroll because MartinWisse seems to believe that only rightwing politicians use the politics of fear for electoral gain. That said, I don't necessarily he's wrong in a general sense because people often can't differentiate between their own personal (and not entirely rational) discomfort and what's actually good policy for running a political entity. That's a failure of education.

middleclasstool:

"Nowhere near him...and yet close enough to film him? Indeed, pointing a camera right at him and watching him very closely? And again, the child is in precisely zero danger and is not upset, and yet his parents are 'assholes'? Respectfully: c'mon, man."

Equally respectfully: Meh. One, you and I have apparently different definitions of "nowhere near him"; I also think there's a subtle but real cognitive difference between "watching him" and "filming him," regarding where the focus of the parent actually is. Your mileage may vary.

Nor is the child in "precisely zero" danger. He's certainly not in danger from the lion, but I think the average toddler might have a very good chance of a fear response when a large creature is trying to get at them; I don't suspect a toddler actually comprehends the miracle of zoo glass. Putting your child in a position where he might (justifiably) freak out and might injure himself trying to get away (infant head, meet concrete floor) just so you can make a YouTube video? Yes, you might be an asshole. Possibly an unintentional asshole, if you didn't think through the possible consequences of putting an infant in a position where he's susceptible to a fear response. But an asshole nonetheless.

(Likewise, are you under the impression a child of such apparent torpidity got in front of the lion cage under his own power? It's not exactly outside the realm of possibility they set their kid in front of the lion cage and waited for a lion to make the futile attempt to turn their infant into a snack, for the express purpose of making a "cute" picture or video. Which, yes, also triggers my "you might be an asshole" judgment.)

You are free to disagree, of course. And bear in mind that for my own amusement I've staged and then publicly posted pictures like this, in which no animal was hurt, or even likely to be so, yet which still strikes people as a) inappropriate, b) an example of me being an asshole parent.

And I'm fine with that. People can think what they like, and so long as I am not actively endangering my kid (or others, hello anti-vax folks), I'm not obliged to consider their input. Likewise, I'm not saying these potentially asshole parents need to be concerned about my judgement. But I'm equally fine in feeling they might be assholes, and being uncomfortable with that what they clearly think is an amusing jape.
posted by jscalzi at 5:24 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am completely baffled that people are angry about this video. If this is the outrage level produced by no danger, how on earth do you function in everyday life, which is full of actual danger?
posted by miskatonic at 5:31 AM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hopefully the people who are concerned about lion-proof glass don't drive their kids anywhere, ever. Because that shit is actually dangerous.

Heh. I was thinking much the same thing - if someone uploaded a video of a family drive, how many would be going nuts about it, like, "Lord Jesus on a biscuit do you people know HOW MANY traffic accidents occur EVERY MINUTE in America??? Why oh why would you ever put your own flesh and blood in a vehicle on the highway?!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:38 AM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


miskatonic:

Are people actually angry? I'm not. I can be uncomfortable (and suggest these folks might be assholes) without rising to the level of genuine anger.
posted by jscalzi at 5:39 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow that kid had no survival instincts at all. Didn't even look around. I guess the advantages of that big brain don't start to kick in until after some years have passed. Up until then, if alone and exposed, you're just a snack. It makes me respect the early humans so much more: their children were basically dead weight until they were smart and physically strong enough to contribute something. After a hazardous childbirth it would be years before the child actually became effective at anything other than being adorable.

After watching my kid attempt to eat thumbtacks, throw himself (repeatedly) off the side of a very high bed/down stairs/over balcony railings/off a moving train, I was left with the inescapable question: How the fuck did our species ever survive, seriously?
posted by emjaybee at 5:47 AM on May 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


Guys guys guys, rather than argue, let's all just sit down together and laugh uproariously at a baby farting (need sound on, obv).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:05 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]



This earns an eyeroll from me on a personal level, because my voting track record rather emphatically argues against a susceptibility to right-wing fear politics, and another eyeroll because MartinWisse seems to believe that only rightwing politicians use the politics of fear for electoral gain.


Which is fair enough, as it was a somewhat trollish remark, but the rightwing was between parentheses for a reason. It just struck me as the perfect example of a parent giving in to an irrational fear while very well knowning it's not rational, yet still acting on it. If an intelligent person like yourself can react this way to a situation where there clearly is very little danger, it's no wonder so many voters (both in the US as elsewhere) led themselves be led by gut instincts about trumped up dangers far less easier to see through.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:14 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tastes like chicken
posted by stormpooper at 6:38 AM on May 4, 2012


Why do so many people seem to think the adults - who do not appear on camera - are "hipsters"? And what does that even mean in the context of taking the kids to the zoo? Can you see a faint reflection of a fixed gear bike in the glass? Can you tell they have collarbone tattoos in the way they talk? Is a band you've never heard but which they've been listening to for AGES playing in the reptile house later?
posted by cilantro at 6:40 AM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


something about them sets off people's hipsdar
posted by elizardbits at 6:46 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


MartinWisse:

"If an intelligent person like yourself can react this way to a situation where there clearly is very little danger"

Ah, but I think you're presenting a false dichotomy there, or at least the suggestion that the intelligence always mediates experience. If that was the case, no one of "intelligence" would enjoy a rollercoaster, or jump at a horror movie or get aroused at an attractive person they can't have. Also, in my own experience, "intelligent" people can be the worst sort of irrationalists, i.e., "I am smart, therefore my personal feeling of disgust/fear/arousal/approval is more correct because there's no possible way it's irrational, because I am smart." Please see: Newt Gingrich.

It's not "intelligence" per se that defends against large-scale irrational action, it's the understanding of the difference between personal and non-personal. You don't have to be particularly smart to understand that not everyone in the world needs to act/feel/vote as you do, but it is an idea that has to be inculcated.

As I noted first off: I know the kid is in no danger from the lion. It still makes me uncomfortable, because my limbic system is going fuck, it's a lion. Were I and my kid in the same situation, if removing my infant child from a situation that's making my reptile brain twitchy will settle it down, I don't see the problem in picking up the kid. That's a personal decision of limited scope. Bear in mind that if my child were older and had more personal agency and wanted to get closer to a lion behind glass, I would let her, because my limbic system should not override her curiosity in a safe environment.

Nor do I think my personal discomfort means, say, that the zoo should not allow infants near the lion display or that possibly asshole parents shouldn't position their children near the glass to make a video of a lioness adorably trying to eat their kid and being stymied by the barrier. Their choice. But I certainly wouldn't do it, and I don't feel particularly bad about feeling there's something wrong with them for thinking that's funny. It's a personal reaction, and I'm fine with having it. And not taking it any further than that.
posted by jscalzi at 6:53 AM on May 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Lions are alright, I guess, but too mainstream for me. Not as good as Iriomote cats, if you ask me. They're pretty rare, though, so you've probably never seen one.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:55 AM on May 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


jscalzi, I'm going to stop favoriting you now, lest you think I am stalking. But inside, we'll both know.
posted by thinkpiece at 6:58 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Iriomote cats...didn't they play the reptile house last week?
posted by nzero at 6:59 AM on May 4, 2012


I find it amazing that that child's survival instincts are so eroded that it isn't even trying to get away...

ZaneJ, a kitten at the same stage of development wouldn't try to get away. Neither would a baby chimp. Neither would a baby bluebird.

There's no problem with the child's survival instincts. At that age & mobility, the only effective survival instinct is: attract adult attention with cries. Since he wasn't actually being attacked, there was no need to do that.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:05 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, am I the only one that even considers the lion might be trying to play with the man-cub? There are tons of examples of wild animals, including lions, playing and protecting baby animals, even the offspring of prey they've killed.

Babies invoke a protective/charmed response from adult mammals. The lion didn't have her claws out; she'd use her mouth (fanglessly) to hold her own cubs.

The truth is we don't know what the lion would have done; but for my money, it looks playful/curious.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:08 AM on May 4, 2012


Kinda related. Some years ago my friends sister who worked at the Portland Zoo took me 'back stage' at the big cat house. Big concrete halls with high bar cages all along and at the end. Like a prison for giants. However there are no other barriers to approach the cages other than a warning stripe painted on the floor. I saw and was transfixed by a big tiger at the end of the hall and started walking towards with every intention of getting as close as I could, his head so massive, huffing and a low purr..hypnotized...voices behind me frantically whispering 'No..no...stop!' I woke and stopped about 8 ft from this massive, gorgeous beast. One of the best days of my life.
posted by judson at 7:13 AM on May 4, 2012


No one ever expected that that tiger in San Francisco would be able to jump out of the "safe" tiger enclosure and maul that guy that was teasing it to death and everyone always acts like they are surprised everytime they see some article about "tame" elephants going rogue and killing their keepers. A lot of people here act like the issue is solely about " there was no danger, so why be fearful or cautious". There might have been minimal danger with that glass, but teaching your children to have respect for animals (specifically predators) and their inherent natures seems pretty basic to me. It's just plain human arrogance and lack of understanding everytime we think that we have wild animals contained and neutralized and their natures minimized.
posted by gt2 at 7:55 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went to a big cat sanctuary in Kent (UK) a few years back for a photo day there. Part of the attraction of the day was that we were let, under supervision, to within feet of the tigers (lions and leopards were far too aggressive for this). Within a few minutes I had scratched the fur of a tiger sleeping against the wire of his cage - and couldn't resist a macro shot, and helped to feed chunks of meat to another fellow through the wire, getting very close.

But the "highlight" of my day was when we went to photograph one tiger who got a bit territorial, pacing back and forth. As it happened I had my camera's lens / lens hood right up against the wire, and.... well, you can read the rest of the story underneath the photo sequence here.

(sorry for self-linking but it is relevant to the topic - and it was an amazing day!)
posted by LondonYank at 8:02 AM on May 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


This reminds me that my tries that furiously to bury leftover wet foot...

Never mind, someone already said this upthread. Carry on.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:32 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Too soon, but can't help reposting: "The lion must have felt threated by the fact the baby was wearing a hoodie and tried to eat the baby in self defense"
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:02 AM on May 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


This reminds me of the time I saw a moron dangle their baby over the Komodo Dragon at the Minnesota Zoo. Couldn't think of a decent way to stop it till the moron was done and the child was no longer hanging over the pit. Just stood rooted to the spot trying to think if I would go in after the baby or throw him in as a distraction first if the worst should happen. Looked to my right and there was a zoo keeper with that look that told me her favorite species at the zoo was not the Homo Sapiens. After he reeled the kid back in I told him that he was just holding his kid over almost certain doom. His glazed eyes and a "yeah whatever" look told me the child may already be doomed.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:06 AM on May 4, 2012


As it happened I had my camera's lens / lens hood right up against the wire, and.... well, you can read the rest of the story underneath the photo sequence here.

Nice photos LondonYank. You got off lucky though, a friend of mine lost his camera when he was photographing a tiger at close range in a sanctuary, the big cat paced right up to him, whirled around, and sprayed through the chain link and right in the lens with about a quart of tiger piss.
posted by jamaro at 9:29 AM on May 4, 2012


Heh. Was the zookeeper quick to scamper up and insist "That means he likes you!"?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:38 AM on May 4, 2012


Is it wrong that I was rooting for the lion?
posted by Zed at 9:42 AM on May 4, 2012


BEFORE ZOOs.


Sorry Mona, that painting was the Louvre highlight for me!
posted by mazola at 9:47 AM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hm.

I guess the "Afraid of Lions" gene has vanished from about half the population, because about half of us find this adorable, while the other half of us are irrationally scared shitless by it.

Clearly, the baby and his parents fall into the former category.

Evolution happens more quickly than you might think. Fear of lions hasn't really been a rational or useful survival instinct for [most] humans for quite a long time now. It wouldn't at all surprise me if there's some sort of genetic marker that makes people afraid of big cats...
posted by schmod at 9:58 AM on May 4, 2012


> it totally looked to me like the lioness was trying to pick the kid up by the scruff of the neck to carry away somewhere rather than aggressively trying to eat the kid.

Only one way to find out whether it wanted to protect or eat the baby (or carry away and eat). It must be done for science.
posted by morganw at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't at all surprise me if there's some sort of genetic marker that makes people afraid of big cats...

Risk-taking behavior in social animals is fascinating because of its relation to group fitness. I am behind on the current scholarship here but from what I recall there are a lot of species where different behavioral strategies coexist in a sort of balance. There are definitely species where there are two distinct mating strategies, sometimes even with physical differences between animals who have the genes for different strategies!
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:15 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe the kid has toxoplasmosis.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:52 AM on May 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


When I was still working at Alcatraz, and thus riding the ferry every day, one of my favorite memories (in the laughing/cringe-worthy way) was sitting on the bottom deck and hearing the captain come over the loud speaker from the top (open) deck:

"Ma'am do not put your baby next to that sea gull. STOP. That is a wild animal. It is not a pet. Stop trying to feed it. It is a WILD ANIMAL."

These are BIG Western Gulls we have out here. Definitely bigger than a lot of babies, depending on the age of the baby. My coworker, who I run a birding blog with, filmed a fight between two during breeding season, over a piece of food, that lasted nearly half an hour and during which one had hooked its beak inside the eye socket of the other one and tore it's mouth open on one side. They would regularly kill each other and the full-size young of others. Definitely could have caused serious harm to a baby.

Maybe because so many people's exposure to animals is in the context off zoos and domestic pets, they need to be reminded of these kinds of things? It's a little baffling to me that anyone would think putting a baby next to a two foot tall bird with an over-four-foot wingspan and a very burly beak is a good idea. But people do it. I saw similar things on the island all the time. So this video doesn't really surprise me.

(Not that I think the video is exactly the same thing or anything, but I get why it bothers people. It's kind of weird but also kind of funny and I'm not particularly bothered by it other than I get a little agitated when I see animals that are being stressed by the actions of people.)
posted by primalux at 11:26 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


These are BIG Western Gulls we have out here. Definitely bigger than a lot of babies, depending on the age of the baby. My coworker, who I run a birding blog with, filmed a fight between two during breeding season, over a piece of food, that lasted nearly half an hour and during which one had hooked its beak inside the eye socket of the other one and tore it's mouth open on one side. They would regularly kill each other and the full-size young of others.

Which only underlines what has long been said: west side gulls don't play that shit.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:31 AM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh lordy, don't even get me started on idiotic parents endangering their children because they think wild animals are tame, docile, teddy bears.*
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:37 AM on May 4, 2012


I was in Madison Square Park not a week ago, watching, for the umpteenth time, tourist parents giving their toddlers scraps to feed the squirrels out of their toddler hands for a photo op. New York City squirrels! They bite!
posted by thinkpiece at 11:56 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah nature, red in tooth and claw and spine and poison-secreting gland and paralytic wossits and everything else.

I think of it this way: nature is a horror movie. It is out to get you. Almost everything out there is designed to either break you for bothering it or make you dearly wish you hadn't. Yes, it's beautiful and majestic and awe-inspiring. It's also hungry and territorial and ruled by evolutionary eons of reflex and instinct. Most of us squishy modern civilized humans can't compete with that.

The thing I love most about Florida is the wildlife. Cormorants and turkey vultures and crusty prehistoric wood-storks, sharks and snakes and manatees, alligators that bellow like dinosaurs. I love it all, like that Herzog quote, "despite my better judgment," because it does not give even a tenth of a damn about me. It's not warm fuzzy domestic Disney nature with a moral to the story. Human rules do not apply. They don't matter.

But I love it anyway. So I watch the gators from a safe distance, and I shuffle my feet in saltwater to avoid stingrays, and I back off when a pelican tells me to. Even when I relax and let myself absorb the feel of the place, I'm still aware: that cute fuzzy caterpillar has venomous spines down its back, that frog will make me hallucinate and seize up, that pelican can break my face if it's so inclined. It's not my space, it's theirs.

Zoos are good things when they're run with the animals as first priority, but they also take all of that wildness away. They make these strong dangerous beautiful things as safe and harmless as they can. Then people wind up appalled when the wild animals ignore human rules and do whatever they are capable of doing. The ones in the zoo just sit there, how could we know? Because it's not human, and it has its own rules, and it will take you down if you make it think it needs to.

Don't ever ask me to take your kids hiking. MOM MOM EVERYTHING WANTS TO KILL ME I AM NEVER GOING OUTSIDE AGAIN.
posted by cmyk at 12:52 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Do not taunt unhappy furball.
posted by stargell at 2:09 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


You never see how much taller the glass is, but my take is "not tall enough".

Huh. Personally, I would have used that as a moment to teach "you're safe here, but wild animals are dangerous", not "nooootheprettykittywantstokissyou."
posted by davejay at 3:22 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are in Portland. That's how we know she is a hipster. Doy!
posted by Brocktoon at 7:07 PM on May 4, 2012


The video had a comment that was priceless - to the effect of "That poor lion! I hope they gave it the baby in the end."
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 7:44 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


ang ang ang ang ang
posted by mendel at 8:50 PM on May 4, 2012


This thread taught me not to post a comment without checking that I copied the correct Youtube links while trying to help my child with primary school math homework.

It also taught me that I'm apparently rare in thinking I'd rather not take chances with my kids, whether it's physical or emotional safety. I had expected more outrage. But I'm not a Portland hipster....
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 10:56 PM on May 4, 2012


I can only speak for myself, but I don't think that most of us who are saying we wouldn't do this ourselves are actually outraged at the parents, guys.

And for the record I ADORE cats of all sizes. And I've certainly taken my kid to the zoo and let him get right up to the glass and look at creatures who could rip him in half. In fact we still fairly regularly go to the St. Louis Zoo, where a cheetah famously escaped just a couple of years ago (see the link in my comment above).

But I absolutely wouldn't stand there and laugh while an animal tried to eat my kid. It's not just that there actually is a slight risk where some people perceive there to be none. It's not just that I think it's not nice to taunt animals who already live artificially curtailed lives in captivity.

It's that I want my child to learn to respect wild creatures, which includes respecting certain creatures' ability to kill him in less than a second.

My child is not likely to run into an African lion in our suburban neighborhood, but he could sure as hell run into a cougar or a coyote. And if he does I don't want him running up and trying to pet it.

(Also for the record, I also of course let my kid ride in cars -- with a seat belt.)
posted by BlueJae at 6:58 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are the pygmy goats dressed in human clothing, or would that be too weird?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:51 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


But I absolutely wouldn't stand there and laugh while an animal tried to eat my kid. It's not just that there actually is a slight risk where some people perceive there to be none. It's not just that I think it's not nice to taunt animals who already live artificially curtailed lives in captivity.

...maybe it's just me, but I find the video to be funny not because of the cat's futile attempts to eat the kid, but because of the kid's blase reaction. "Oh, an enormous apex predator, jaws wide, an inch from my head. How droll."
posted by IjonTichy at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Oh, an enormous apex predator, jaws wide, an inch from my head. How droll."

/Stewie Griffin accent
posted by darkstar at 11:09 AM on May 5, 2012


Are the pygmy goats dressed in human clothing, or would that be too weird?

Depends entirely on what you're into...
posted by darkstar at 11:10 AM on May 5, 2012


crazy thread, people.

My favorite zoo experience was with the grizzlies, I think at Woodland Park Zoo. My wife and I were walking by a view point which was a sort of faux cave with an inset window inside of another cave on the bear side of the wall. We just kinda popped over to the window for a minute to look at the large bear lolling absently on the grass in the sun outside the cave.

He looked up and over his shoulder at us for a second, like my dog noticing me coming into the room where he has been napping, and then suddenly rollover and stood up on all fours. He shook himself, and trotted right up to the window, with a clear intensity of purpose and attention.

At first, watching him come near was interesting and exciting and suddenly it became intensely terrifying. Both my wife and I involuntarily took a step back and she started to turn away to get out of the little cave. I grabbed her and whispered, urgently, "no."

My skin was crawling in fear, and it felt like my eyeballs were covered with ants. It was incredibly uncormfortable to just stand there when every bit of my physical being wanted to run away shreiking, flinging things down to lighten the load.

The grizzly came right up to the window and lowered his enormous head to the window to look us. His head was approximately the size of a volkswagen beetle, and we were small, scuttling mammals, the size of a squirrel or groundhog. He sniffed. He licked.

Then he pulled back and scrabbled the glass with his terrible left claw, each rattling nail the length of my forearm.

Having satified himself that we had no tasty treats to offer, he turned and lumbered off.

We stood there, clutching each other, hyperventilating. It was AWESOME, and we immediatoey broke into gibbering laughter.

So I would like to offer to observation that it is plausible that our hypothetical hipster mom was actually just as terrified as you might wish her to be. We were both scared witless and yet able to master that fear in order to maximize the experience that happened to come our way that day. I'm so glad we were able to.
posted by mwhybark at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


Hoopo: "Listening to the mom laughing hilariously at the sight of a lion going after her child made me want to vomit.

You musn't go to many zoos. The last time I went to the zoo, I wanted to vomit too. There were these orangutans and they had this big bucket, and one puked in it and drank it, then puked in it again and passed it to another orangutan who did the same thing. By the time I left because I could take no more, there were 5 orangutans puking and drinking it and passing the bucket.

There's something distasteful about laughing an animal's frantic attempt to survive.

The lion isn't being starved in there, I don't think.
"

2 orangutans one bucket?
posted by Splunge at 12:12 PM on May 5, 2012


Seems one can't view the video on ios. But this thread is very entertaining. What a lot of energy about something that ultimately had no consequence. You can't change the past, you know.

Besides, real endangerment involves nothing-to-lose Russian chavs stunting on radio towers, bungy-ing between buildings, etc.

Being on the right side of a proven-safe enclosure seems small potatoes. Like standing in the Sears Tower skywalk. Riding a roller coaster.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:34 PM on May 5, 2012


Seems one can't view the video on ios. But this thread is very entertaining. What a lot of energy about something that ultimately had no consequence. You can't change the past, you know.

I wish there were a moratorium on this kind of comment. A lot of energy on ... a video someone saw fit to post. We're talking about the link in the FPP. Having a conversation is too much energy?
posted by jayder at 5:51 PM on May 5, 2012


Boss, I can cure cancer and post comments at the same time.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:02 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's like a roller coaster.

You know it's safe, but you may have a visceral fear response anyway. And you may justify that by saying "hey, that one roller coaster went off the track and people died" or "that one tiger jumped over the wall," but essentially you're just sketched out by it and the safety you know can't trump the danger you feel.

But how many of you who would pull your baby away would also tell your kids roller coasters are strictly off limits?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:38 PM on May 5, 2012


[A couple of comments deleted; telling other members to "get fucked" isn't how to present your reasonable point. Also, yeah, the Portland thing? Maybe we can give it a rest now.]
posted by taz at 2:48 AM on May 6, 2012


That glass will yield one day. It will.
posted by lioness at 3:47 AM on May 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Lion tries to eat baby human dressed like a zebra, is foiled by lion-proof glass.

In other news: Cheetah tries to attack woman in petting zoo, is foiled by cheetah-proof glass.
posted by mazola at 7:44 AM on May 6, 2012


I'd like to live in Fancy Fuckburg but I can't quite afford it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:32 PM on May 6, 2012


MetaFilter: Parents whose visceral reaction to a zoo animal looking at their kid differs from mine are assholes.

MetaFilter: adding "and/or hipsters" to the previous motto would be redundant

posted by straight at 6:32 PM on May 6, 2012


People who are stupid enough to pose with unrestrained cheetahs in photos, and then complain about getting scratches that "needed stitches" as a result, make me almost doubt in the existence of evolution. By rights, that girl should be dead. At the very least, she should be sentenced to wearing a big, pollowy oversized protective suit at all times (in my imagination, this suit looks like a combination of the cartoon Michelin Man mascot and the little brother wearing his winter snowsuit in A Christmas Story), for showing such a complete lack of judgment.

However, baby with lion-proofed glass behind it? Perfectly safe. I'm amazed so many seem to have had a visceral reaction to the video and especially surprised that anyone is outraged because the mother here didn't. I could excuse her for having a protective, maternal instinct that maybe defied logical thinking right then because those post-pregnancy hormones are crazy-inducing, and if she had taken her kid away from the glass I'd understand. But as for you guys? Wow. You might want to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

I'm only half-kidding about that, by the way. It's really easy to get caught up in over-protective parenting hysteria, especially if your friends are recent parents, too. It's like hypnosis. First you'll start off, very logically, questioning the safety of BPAs in plastic bottles, and the next thing you know you're mistaking flour for anthrax and seeing potential pedophiles around every corner and calling for a boycott on cable television because OMG boobies!

So, you know, watch out for that.
posted by misha at 7:57 PM on May 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Most of us squishy modern civilized humans can't compete with that.

Can't compete? Us squishy modern civilized humans are outcompeting them so hard we have to carefully set aside regions of the planet where we will all agree not to live, just so we don't accidentally outcompete all that supposedly ferocious wildlife to extinction.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:57 AM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I guess the "Afraid of Lions" gene has vanished from about half the population, because about half of us find this adorable, while the other half of us are irrationally scared shitless by it.

Clearly, the baby and his parents fall into the former category.

Evolution happens more quickly than you might think. Fear of lions hasn't really been a rational or useful survival instinct for [most] humans for quite a long time now. It wouldn't at all surprise me if there's some sort of genetic marker that makes people afraid of big cats...

schmod, ... you have a lot of fanciful ideas about evolution and genetics. Still, your misconceptions are less harmful than those of the creationists, so have fun.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:08 AM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was about six or seven years old, I was at the zoo in Washington, DC, and there was a window on the polar bear enclosure that let you watch them swim, from below the surface, the way so many zoos have for the swimming things (no idea if it that zoo still has this, but it did then).

I was observing said polar bear through said window, and said bear swam right at me, at a pretty good clip, and kick-turned off the glass right in front of my face, giving me a really good image of how really big that bear was (its paw was probably twice as wide as my child-age head), and a momentary "oh crap!" about the window breaking, for I had (and still have, really) no idea how thick that glass is.

It was awesome.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:20 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess the "Afraid of Lions" gene has vanished from about half the population, because about half of us find this adorable, while the other half of us are irrationally scared shitless by it.

Now it's the lions who need an "Afraid of Humans" gene.
posted by homunculus at 2:17 PM on May 7, 2012


Even the manatees are doing it!

And the otters.
posted by homunculus at 2:23 PM on May 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


An adult human is a pretty formidable creature even when it isn't thinking about things - early hunters would catch animals by running them to exhaustion.

'Wired To Run': Runner's High May Have Been Evolutionary Advantage
posted by homunculus at 2:56 PM on May 7, 2012




Navelgazer, MY CAT WAS ALSO NAMED FITZGERALD! I don't have him anymore though.
posted by windykites at 8:47 PM on May 7, 2012


I had a dream about a grizzly wandering into a dream-generic crowded National Park visitors center overnight. The golden-coated animal curiously herded families and toddlers in SUV strollers before it, eventually finding itself apparently cornered inside the building along an interior balcony overlooking a glass walled atrium.

From outside, I watched the the blood splash out onto the glass. I knew it was a dream but could not make myself awaken.
posted by mwhybark at 11:13 PM on May 7, 2012


Goddamn gibbons.

A Gibbon and His Squirrel
posted by homunculus at 9:17 AM on May 23, 2012


See? Tiger tormentors and squirrel-nappers. Damn dirty apes.
posted by jamaro at 11:08 AM on May 23, 2012


When I was a kid, I once taunted a polar bear by accident.

I had bought a little white seal hand puppet, and had it tucked in the crook of my arm. I was trying to make it move kind of... how I'd imagine a baby seal would move if I picked it up and cuddled it, and I was talking to it and having it look at things and bop its head against my friends, so I didn't notice at first that the somewhat bored polar bear I'd looked at and dismissed had gotten up and was marching very deliberately, eyes on me and my furry snack-doll. It sauntered up to the glass (it was this slow, deliberate movement, with the eyes fixed) and proceeded to lift a paw up as if thinking maybe the glass might not be there. I was fascinated, moved a bit to see if its gaze followed me; it's entire body followed me. Somewhere in there, my mom noticed what I was doing and read me the riot act for taunting happy fun polar bear.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:38 AM on May 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


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