There is something unsettling about Zoos. We live up the street from our local free Zoo– Ah the convenience! But there’s this uneasy feeling that creeps up on me while watching caged animals gaze or pace in their pseudo habitat (mind you, I grew up going to the Egyptian Zoo, where our lions stay in narrow tiny cages with barely enough room for pacing back and forth. The perks: You get to have your little one’s picture taken with lion cubs on their knees– I know, Egyptians laugh at the face of danger!
It was sweater weather today and we were unprepared. So after freezing my girls fingers off at the Zoo’s play construction, Mei settled on the indoors herpetarium for a warmer attraction. We looked at the toads, the geckos, and the bats. We then moved on to creepy large land snakes and eventually found ourselves in front of the giant green anaconda’s tank. Usually the green anaconda would be curled up inside one of the plastic rocky caves with his head out of sight and his torso bulging in a weird twisty angle. Not today– No!
Today, the green anaconda took interest in a certain mesmerized little girl and held her gaze at exact eye level only an inch apart for a good minute. All this while constantly checking the little gap between them with his forked dancing tongue. My stomach twisted in knots as I tried to pull Mei away from his gaze. “Mei, it’s scary stand back” “But there’s glass between us mom, and he’s looking right at me, what does he want from me?” “Let’s not find out!” “No, mom, I want to look at him, leave me” By then a small crowd had gathered to watch the green anaconda hold a steady gaze at my girl, and gasp in uneasy awe. In my head, I was remembering all those scary green anaconda movies where the snake attacks with a big open mouth and digs it’s poisonous teeth in someone’s flesh. I felt nauseous. Eventually the snake slowly increased the distance between it’s head and my girls head– still testing the air with his tongue– and eventually submerged his head under water and turned away. “That was cool mom!”