Nothing beats sharing your lap with a nice fluffy kitty cat or a roly-poly puppy. I'll even admit to cuddling up with a guinea pig, bunny, or hamster now and then. As a true animal lover nothing beats the warm fuzzies brought about by an affectionate critter. I've had almost every pet imaginable (so long as they have fur or feathers and appear somewhat cute) and growing up I insisted on working at the zoo as an adult. I just never could get enough of the warm and fuzzies.
So imagine my delight this past weekend when the kiddos I nanny for suggested a good old fashioned trip to the zoo! There are plenty of great zoos in the greater Seattle area - would it be Cougar Mountain Zoo? Woodland Park Zoo? Northwest Trek? Alas. None of the above. Apparently I have been missing out on the greatest zoo of all: The Seattle Bug Safari.
Now having admitted to being an animal lover, I must clarify that my adoration stops short of all reptiles, insects, and spiders. I must admit that I am quite fearful of creepy crawlies, and even a harmless house spider will find me on top of a chair fearing for my life. I was petrified knowing I was about to encounter all my greatest fears in the period of one afternoon.
Luckily, The Seattle Bug Safari was not your typical zoo: no sprawling landscapes to discover and cages to happen upon. Instead, the Bug Safari was a tiny room lined with aquariums containing 50 or so exotic species of spiders and insects. Oh don't get me wrong, this was no walk in the park. They had it all. Poisonous - you bet. Gigantic - we're talking mammoth. Creepy - without a doubt.
I sucked it up and put on my brave face as we wandered about taking in the murky habitats. Our guide happily stuck his hands in the cages to rustle up the twigs and cause the millipedes and centipedes to reveal themselves. He gave us the full tour including a demonstration in which I discovered if you poke the scorpion just so they ferociously jab their stinger at you. The Goliath Bird Eating tarantula is most definitely the largest spider in the world - it could easily take on a small cat with one swipe.
Fear prevented any photography of the Goliath Bird Eating Tarantula, but here's a nice regular sized one for comparison.
The wonder of it all was that the kids loved it! They soaked up every bit of knowledge, leaned against the cages with ease, scampered about admiring the critters. I on the other hand was tense, rigid, and scared for my life. It didn't help that the kids were listing off all the poisonous snakes and spiders I will encounter on my trip to Peru. I looked to our tour guide for some sense of solace, but he simply gave me a regretful nod.
The only creatures which I could stand to look at for longer than one second were the cockroaches. Imagine my surprise when after a while I sort of became fond of those little fellas. I mean put me in a room with 50 poisonous, biting, death inflicting spiders and of course I'm going to make friends with the innocent, sleepy cockroaches.
Not quite the warm and fuzzies, but somehow they were oddly charming. Never fear though, I will refrain from acquiring any cockroaches as pets (at least on purpose) and for the record I still prefer pets of the fluffy, cuddly variety.