Nature vs. nonsense

Or why a 10-foot croc makes a pretty poor pet.

By Charles P. Pierce
April 3, 2011

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Dear Kiki: As a gorilla-in-residence at our Franklin Park Zoo, you have ample opportunity to observe humans being silly in their native habitat. (Surely gorilla legend still resounds with the tale of how one of your compatriots got loose and helped make talk-radio hosts look even more ridiculous than their job ordinarily requires them to be.) But be glad that you are where you are. Out here in the world, there’s a new show on Animal Planet called Fatal Attractions, and it’s really quite something. It features people whose exotic pets (tigers and large predatory snakes, for example) eventually got fed up and turned on their owners. I hate this show because the humans in it are pretty much all idiots who insist they have some sort of psychic bond with their critters. Meanwhile, the critters, being far truer to their essential natures than the humans are, look out from their chain-link cages and think, quite rightly, “Lunch!” Naturally, things go badly wrong in every episode. Remarkably, the things-going-bad portion of each episode often begins with the phrase “My friends came over, and we were having a couple of beers when . . .” I find it absolutely impossible to sympathize with the members of my species who think the proper activity for drunky-time is to put your arm through the lion cage in the backyard. I feel incredibly guilty about this. All of which is to recommend that you stay right there where you are. It’s a jungle out here.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at