sharkipede (sharkipede) wrote,

Komodo dragon rant and other stuff

1) As Granny Weatherwax's sign says, "I aten't dead." Just lost in a jumble of stuff and work and people getting sick and the yard being full of poison ivy and the power clipping on and off like Moscow in wartime. Things have been being accomplished, just not posting to the blog. Mostly because writing about stuff like this is really boring:
--finished Happy Buddha Bud-- after two whole years--, and it came out really well.
--did the art for a whole bunch of new buttons, and along the way invented a new character for Kekionga.
--wrote a suite of short stories featuring the new character and thereby discovered how Soup and Iowa met for the first time. And yes, they "met cute".
--figured out what to do about the next issues of KEKIONGA, including titles and covers for each issue. They are going to have an actual theme. Yay.

2) So, as the above may suggest, I have been sticking close to home for the past few weeks. But I did get to Fort Wayne last weekend and ended up going to the zoo with Mr. Shark and Mr. Shark's Mom. This is a pretty good zoo, with a fair number of interesting critters that are high on the Sharkipede's personal zoo animal hit parade, including the number one rated BINTURONG. Two of these fine beasties reside in a commodious outdoor cage along the trail down from the tiger enclosure. Granted, it was a blazing hot summer afternoon, and the binturong is a nocturnal animal, so they were asleep. But one did have the good grace to wake up and turn around so we could get a good look at it.

There were also red pandas, one of whom got up, walked across the cage and took a crap in what was clearly its proper place in one corner, gibbons who brachiated enthusiastically for us in spite of the heat, a European eagle owl (very impressive), a fascinating display of Australian jellyfish who looked quite artistic and were accompanied by their own spooky jellyfish music, orangutans, bouncing wallabies, otters, several kinds of bats, and a colony of monkeys that had a spectacular and very noisy all out monkey fight much to the amusement of all the teenage boys in the crowd.

And a Komodo dragon.

Now, for the last few years it's seemed like the Komodo dragon has become some kind of zoo animal Holy Grail. Zoos that have them brag about them endlessly, and impress everyone with how dangerous they are, how hard they are to keep, and the specialized environments they need. Institutions that don't have them (*cough* shedd aquarium *cough*) go to great trouble and expense to borrow them.

Then there's the Fort Wayne zoo in exotic Northern Indiana, a very good medium-sized zoo but hardly a major world class attraction, where you can, for the cost of an ordinary admission, on any day of the week, see "Gorgon", a fine strapping young female Komodo. And she's outside (in the summer at least) in an ordinary cage made of plain old chain link fence, surrounded by ordinary local plants and lying in the plain old dirt. I'm no authority on reptiles, but she has clear eyes, shiny scales, big sharp claws, a very long tongue and is obviously very well nourished-- by all appearances a happy giant lizard in excellent condition. I'm sure the zoo is taking very good care of her.

And she is lying in the dirt. Plain old Indiana yard dirt just like I have in my yard. Lying in it just like my dogs do, and probably for the same reason. It's nice and cool in the dirt, on a hot day.

Controlled environment my eye.

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