A day with tigers, elephants, and monkeys

On the second day in Bangkok, we got up around 4am so we could get to the Tiger Temple by 7am. We spent the day playing with tigers, elephants, and wild monkeys. The tigers were somewhere between wild and tame and somewhat allowed to run around and do tiger things. We spent about an hour and a half in each of three groups: (bottle) feeding 2-6mo old cubs, feeding, bathing, and exercising 6-9mo old cubs, and watching adults get exercised. If you are familiar with cats, tiger behavior won’t suprise you. Cats behave the same way, it’s just the size of their meals and toys that changes when they get bigger. Cubs enjoy playing with and chewing on TP rolls, and each other. Adults enjoy leaping after bags tied to the end of a stick (yes, tigers can climb trees). Next, we got to meet some Asian elephants, while not nearly as big as African elephants, they are still plenty big, and riding them makes you feel like you are a long ways up. I had never realized that elephants are musical, but we saw several elephants swaying in time to the music while they worked. As the beat changed, so did the swaying. It’s nice to know that elephants appreciate music. Lastly, we got to feed wild monkeys. Yes, all that about “not feeding wild animals, its not good for them”. If you are at all familiar with how monkeys (or perhaps even small people) behave, none of this will suprise you. For the most part they were more interested in getting new snacks than fighting over them. There was one larger monkey, who, when we arrived, was eating on a half of an ear of corn. When he saw us approaching, he started to put the ear behind him, visably thought about continuing eating on it, and then hid it behind his back, while looking up at us with the “I’m really hungry” look. The monkeys were very gentle with us, and as long as we didn’t make loud noises or quick movements, they were happy to hang about in the bushes and take food right from our hands, or even drink from our water bottles (babies were not allowed to spend time with the scary people). What an amazing day.