Friday, December 01, 2006

I Guess They're Called 'Killer' Whales For A Reason

The world (at least a very small part of it) is still abuzz (a bomb sniffing bee reference if you read yesterday’s post) about the Killer Whale that dragged its trainer to the bottom of its tank during the final show at Sea World San Diego the other day. Fortunately for all involved the trainer only suffered a broken bone in his foot and the Orca was able to perform the next day, albeit without trainers in the water with her. Reports have said that the same 30-year old female has tried this before. Hmmmm.

The AP has reported that the whale could have been in a bad mood, upset with a fellow whale, not feeling well or reacting to a change in the weather. She and the trainer had been working together for years. Her behavior just goes to show that maybe all of us mammals are more alike than we think. It kind of reminds me of marriage or friendships in a way. We all get irritable and every relationship has its ups and downs. Now granted most human spats don’t result in dragging the other party below water and breaking their leg, but the same relationship dynamics are at work. Woh, I need to apologize right here because I have no idea where I got the word relationship dynamic from. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am the least likely person to be good at dispensing relationship advice or animal husbandry and behavior tips.

Now to get back to my point, it’s a little scary that a trainer’s life depends on the mood of a 5,000-pound mammal with the word ‘killer’ in its nickname. I don’t think you can watch a Shamu show at Sea World or a tiger show in Vegas without thinking that it’s their world and they are just humoring us long enough to let us play in it. If I had any reason to suspect that the massive animal I was about to perform with was a little ticked, well the show would be off and you could get your refund at the door.

It makes you wonder about all the other animals at Sea World who could attack at any minute. Does anyone remember watching ‘Flipper’ when they were younger? I don’t think there’s anything that red blooded torpedo wouldn’t sucker punch. It gets kind of scary when you think about it. Orcas can snatch a seal and toss it up in the air for play and dolphins can ram you with their nose rendering you useless in seconds. There’s also an interactive bat ray pool at Sea World as well as an eel aquarium and shark reef. No wonder why my twins cowered in their stroller the first time we went there.

Despite the size, agility and sharp teeth of the inhabitants I’ve already mentioned, there is one creature at Sea World that should be feared more than any other. It’s the mean and dirty predatory sea gull. I have been a sea gull victim twice in recent memory. The first time they snatched the top bun off my Sea World hamburger and the other time they got away with pieces of shrimp and lettuce from my seafood salad within seconds of me leaving the cashier line and walking out into ‘the open.’

They are like snipers who hide just out of eyesight and then BAM; they strike and are gone before you even know what has happened. Seriously, all I felt was a bump and a blur when my salad was hit. It was my wife who told me I needed to go back into the Sea World restaurant and get another salad. I saw none of it and she saw the whole thing. It’s not very comforting when you walk into the restaurant and they say, “a sea gull, huh? It happens all the time, we’ll get you another one free of charge” before you even get the chance to explain. It’s also not very comforting spending the rest of the day with two four year olds that keep reminding you of your sea gull attack every time one flies by. Actually, the reminding was more like teasing and joking.

I guess all of this is why they call Sea World an Adventure Park…

12 comments:

mist1 said...

I was ready for a killer comment until you slipped in that gull part. That was so funny, all my thoughts are gone. Thanks for the laugh today.

Michael C said...

Mist1: No fair, now I really want to hear your killer comment! Thank you for your kinds words and you are welcome. Now I'm off to, well Sea World, really...

the Laughorist said...

Let me know how many, er, whale tails you see at See World.

Odat said...

You would think they would have sea gull protection covers or something...SPCs for short.
Hey now, there's an idea...ya wanna be my agent????
Peace...and have fun at Sea World...and be nice to your wife...ya never know if she's eyeing the bottom of the tank).

Le Nightowl said...

I think the seagulls have a tacit contract with the SW restaurant!
It's all part of a cunning plan... :)
Seagulls get extra titbits when they prompt the customers to renew their order :)
Marie

heartinsanfrancisco said...

When I was 21, I sailed across the Atlantic on a student ship out of Montreal. Halfway across the ocean, exactly, I got splattered on my cheek with sea gull poop. This was shocking for several reasons, namely, what was a sea gull doing that far out at sea unless he was riding on the boat, too? How did he manage to hit one small target, ignoring everyone else, and of course, why me?

For years, I was sure that the universe hated me.

Josie said...

I was once sitting on the dock at Granville Island, minding my own business, eating a slice of pizza when a sea gull came and stole the whole thing out of my hands and flew away with it. He didn't even pay me for it. Just stole it.

They're almost as smart as crows. I have watched crows dig up clams, then fly over an asphalt parking lot and drop the clams from a great height so the shell breaks. Then the crows swoop down to the parking lot and feast on the clams. People underestimate "wild" animals. Well, look at poor, unfortunate Steve Irwin. He was playing with fire.

Josie

Meloncutter said...

Perhaps if the pilgrims had landed on the west coast instead of the east, we would consume millions of pounds of seagull each year during the holidays instead of the hated fetid foul fowl we call turkey. Seagulls would not probably be quite so comfortable around human interaction if they were in our food chain.

Just a thought...

Later Y'all

abbagirl74 said...

Something just occurred to me about the killer whales. Could you imagine being in the middle of any hanky panky between two whales? Holy cow, Batman! Now that is playing around with your own life.

ian said...

When you mentioned seagulls and snipers, I was thinking of a different seagull activity from stealing food. No, this is one they can perform from a great altitude with accuracy normally reserved for laser-guided smart bombs.

Make sure that's really mayonnaise and pickle relish on your burger before you take that first bite...

Ian

Michael C said...

Laughorist: surprsignly, not that many...

Odat: We actually ate in a restaurant that had an SPC. Why had I never seen that before. Now you can't make millions, sorry.

le nightowl: Sadly, I think you might be right!

heartsinsanfrancisco: the universe doesn't hate you. Just that one seagull with the extremely lucky shot. ;-)

Josie: what nerve that gull had! Crows are pretty scary bird, if you ask me.

melon: I agree completely. Any idea how gull meat tastes?
;-)

abbagirl74: that's one triangle I never want to be around ;-)

ian: good point. That's why I only get relish and mayo out of this little katsup packets ;-)

Anonymous said...

its not the whales fault it could be the trainers fault he/she could have made the wrong signal and the whale could have gooten confused i my self would like to become a whale trainer and i know how they are cause i did research over them adn they don't just out of the blue attack their trainers for no odd reason so just do your research before you post something up next time okay.