Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tyger Tyger burning bright

Well it had to be done, sitting drinking coffee (free) in the foyer of the hotel, there it was on the trips display, 'Tiger Kingdom', come stroke the tigers! As much as this is a dream for me, I was a little reticent, I don't want to be party to abuse, or perpetuating abuse of tigers, but all the research I did suggested that the tigers are docile as they are nocturnal really, and it's jolly hot, so really they want to be asleep, looking at the moggies crashed out on the pavements, under cars, anywhere really goes along with this, so OK, being mauled by loads of tourists may not be top of their list of things to do, but it wasn't doing them any harm, and there was certainly no reason to believe they were drugged.

We organised a private car through the tourist information - lovely man, nice car, ours for £8 for as  long as we wanted and off we went, B was going to be cameraman, so not go in with the cats, it was just me. Picked the littlest (3 months) and the biggest (19 months) to go in with, and away we went.

she looks a lot bigger than she really was here!
The 'keeper' I had was a lovely Swedish girl, volunteering 6 days  a week for I can't remember how many weeks, studying law at home with a view to go into animal rights work, if she was happy there what did I have to worry about? My first cub really wanted to sleep, well they are babies, and what else do babies do? But a second one was in play mode and was a delight, you are not meant to touch the head or front paws, but like that was going to happen - I had to look at the size of the paws, and the size of the claws! Huge! So we had a bit of rough and tumble, and I proudly showed B the tiny bite mark on my arm, the power in those jaws if she'd really wanted to bite me - think labrador! It's gone now.

Anyway, had a look round the rest of the tigers (and one lion), and yes, I was a good girl, and didn't put my fingers through into the cages, but I did put my hand up against the cages to be sniffed and licked, and that was special too, as they did that because they wanted to. 

Watching the medium cats playing was great, just like kittens - "I'm asleep" "I want to play" "I'm asleep" "I'm going to chew your ear till you play with me then" and then  you realise there are actually three of them all bundled up together. A similar interaction was going on next door, why the 2 active ones didn't play together and leave the other 3 asleep.....?

you WILL play with me!
Finally onto the biggest, 19 month old cats, I was a little more cautious here, did stay behind and down as instructed, but had a good cuddle. Their fur is really short, and they have virtually no smell, they were a bit like huge, warm stuffed toys, but still an incredible experience.

Stopped for a quick drink afterwards, and it was there the praying mantis jumped on me from the back of the chair and ran up my chest, little pointy, prickly feet it had too! Just wasn't sure whether it'd bite, after all she will chew the head off the male after mating.....

After the excitement of all the cats decided that the orchid farm should be next on the list, tourist information had suggested the monkey farm, snake farm and crocodile farm, but having read the reviews on tripadvisor we decided to give all of them a miss! The Orchid farm was very tranquil so we drifted about, had a very pleasant lunch and came back home. 
couldn't get the moggie to care what I'd just been doing!

For the full version of the Tiger Trip see http://youtu.be/x6FVIHELvvM
Tiger Experience      1 hr 45 mins
video                         3 min 20 secs
time to make video   2 hr 30 mins!

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