Roadside Attraction: Tales of Terror

Fellow jackal lamh36, aka @psddluva4evah on Twitter, highlighted a thread on a little-discussed childhood trauma — being terrorized by monkeys at Florida tourist traps:

I should say up front (as the author of the tweet thread acknowledges) that the true victims of these tales are the captive monkeys. It’s perfectly understandable that they’d want to terrorize children herded into their prisons by human captors.

But that doesn’t make the terror of those children any less real. I know; I was one of them.

My tale begins at a local tourist trap with my kindergarten classmates. It was a field trip, and a dumb one since all of us had seen everything at that nature-themed roadside attraction before with our relatives, so it wasn’t educational. Maybe the principal was getting a kickback from the person who owned the place, who knows.

Anyhoo, the way it was supposed to work is that tourists would board a boat that would chug slowly around a lagoon and series of canals to see animals, including a bored hippo, some manatees, flamingos and other exotic birds, etc.

One of the draws on the tour was Monkey Island, a spit of land inhabited by feral spider monkeys. The boat would motor past — not too close! — and the monkeys would screech and fling shit at the people gawking at them from the boat.

Well, on this tour, the boat broke down just as we were approaching Monkey Island and started drifting toward it. The monkeys, perhaps sensing that something was amiss, screamed even more loudly, showed their teeth and flung poo with greater force the closer we got.

It was like a slow-motion scene in a horror movie, the monkeys’ rising hysteria as we drifted closer and closer, matched by the increasingly terrified screams of the children. As we ran aground on the island, the monkeys swarmed the boat like an invading horde of hairy pirates, swinging from the bars that held up the canvas roof and screaming right in our faces. Utterly terrifying!

I crawled under the bench seat, curled up in the fetal position with my face pressed against the hull and apparently went into a catatonic state. I don’t really remember much after that, but was told later we were rescued by another boat and there were no physical injuries among monkeys or humans.

Anyhoo, decades later, I saw that island again. It still has a handful of monkeys on it, but it’s part of a nature preserve now.

My father says my memory of the field trip incident is ridiculously over-dramatized. I know he’s right because I was shocked when I saw the island again as an adult.

I remembered a much larger island teeming with dozens of angry, screeching, revenge-seeking monkeys. The reality is a little clump of rocks and vegetation occupied by few desultory primates who aren’t at all interested in passersby.

That’s the thing about growing up. Reality scales down the remembered terrors. It diminishes the sense of wonder too, I suppose, but I’ll take that bargain. I bet most folks who were terrorized by monkeys as children would too. And don’t even get me started on hissing, angry swans!

Open thread!

130 replies
  1. 1
    germy says:

    My favorite monkeys are the Barbary macaques in Gibraltar.

    They have no fear of tourists. They’ll run right up and steal eyeglasses, snacks, entire purses. I saw one youtube clip where a guy was minding his own business, the macaque ran up to him and yanked his backpack. The tourist tried to get it back and the monkey slapped at his face.
    (Effort for peace between Gibraltar’s monkeys and tourists)

  2. 2
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Great story, although I was hoping for some of your wonderful illustrations to go along with it.

  3. 3
    TomatoQueen says:

    Was this in the Tampa area, where there was a colony of research monkeys? Or the one in Miami?

  4. 4

    My brother is terrified of monkeys especially the big Indian langurs. One of them snatched a plate of batata wadas (balls of spicy mashed potatoes dipped in yellow lentil batter and deep fried) from his hands that he was eating, when he was a little kid.

    ETA: This was on a hill station near Mumbai, called Matheran, where monkeys (macaques and langurs) out number humans.

  5. 5
    zhena gogolia says:

    I couldn’t even deal with the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, from the safety of a Kansas City living room.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    p.a. says:

    Bucky Katt of the (excellent but now defunct I believe) comic strip Get Fuzzy had a thing for monkeys

    Known Products:
    A T-shirt sold to Satchel from Bucky with a monkey head in a ramen soup bowl, stating “Hot Cup of Monkey.” It was sold for $20. Was possibly one of the ‘2 for 3’ deals that Satchel stuck out for.
    A T-shirt with a “No” sign over an angry monkey head.
    A T-shirt that simply stated, “Criminalize Monkeys.”
    A shirt with a foreign flag stating, “Tommy Pooflinger.”
    A jersey with the note, “He Hate Monkey”, and the number 30.
    A T-shirt stating, “Monkey State.”
    A T-shirt with the state of Virginia, with the phrase, “Virginia is for Lemurs.”
    A T-shirt with a bubble and the phrase, “Von Monkey,” inside of it.
    A T-shirt with a lemur inside a circle, and with the phrase, “Lemurbrau” above it.

  8. 8
    germy says:

    Once on a vacation with my wife and children I fell in love with a Marmoset.

    It was in a little nature preserve display, full of tree branches and hay. The Marmoset sat on a branch eating a piece of fruit very thoughtfully. Our eyes met, and I don’t think a week goes by that I don’t think of her.

    This was about 25 years ago.

    She was the opposite of the shrieking monkeys of our FP’s nightmare. This Marmoset was quiet and had such a soulful, intelligent expression on her face.

  9. 9

    I feel you. Gibraltar has monkeys running around loose at the top. They swarm the tourists because even if people don’t feed them, they often have food in their purses and packs. The monkeys will land on the bags and try to search them. I was scared out of my wits.

  10. 10
    SenyorDave says:

    @germy: We were there last spring and you are 100% correct, those monkeys have no fear. We didn’t see it, but the day we were there apparently one of the tourists from the cruise ship we were on was getting back into the car and accidently closed the door on the hand of a baby macague. The baby started to squawk and the tourist got out of the car to see what had happened and that was a major mistake. One of the adult females went nuts on him, scratched him up very badly and he ended up in the ER with 50+ stitches. Really just a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. You don’t ever want to injure a baby animal in that type of situation.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @TomatoQueen: Homosassa, which is an hour-plus north of Tampa by car.

  12. 12
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @germy: It’s said that as long as the macaques are on the rock of Gibraltar, it will remain in British hands.

    So they can have their way with you, for the sake of the remnants of the Empire!

  13. 13
    MomSense says:

    Our equivalent is watching tourists bring a picnic to the beach and decide to feed A seagull. Faster than you can say wicked smaht, it turns into a Hitchcock film.

  14. 14
    cope says:

    Sorry, no scary monkey stories from my youth, just the opposite.

    When I was in my earliest years (6-10), my dad taught school for ARAMCO and we lived in Saudi Arabia. Abqaiq was just like an American suburban town dropped down into the desert. Once in a while (as when my younger brother was born), my parents would drop me, my sister and my first brother off at the home of a couple who babysat kids. Out in their back yard, in a sandbox, tethered to a high pole with a house at the top, they had a pet spider monkey. It could climb the pole to its home at the top or down into the sandbox which, now that I think about it, was probably a less than healthy environment. Anyway, I spent many an hour playing in the sandbox with the monkey who liked to sit on my shoulders and groom my hair. There were never any altercations between me and the monkey and all my memories of him are very pleasant. In fact, the only terrifying demons of my youngest self were human skeletons and mummies which I only had to worry about at the movies.

  15. 15
    germy says:

    @MomSense: A few summers ago we brought some crackers to the ducks who occupy our local park. For some reason they decided to rush my wife and swarm all around her. She let out a little scream and dropped the crackers. I noticed a girl sitting nearby took out her phone and captured the whole thing, and then walked away. So I assume the whole incident is somewhere on social media, though I haven’t seen it.

  16. 16
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    along these lines, I saw the word “Jaguar” trending on twitter, so I clicked on the off chance that it wasn’t about the football team or the cars, because I love big cats. Anyway, here was the top tweet, from msn dot com

    Arizona zoo attack: Jaguar attacked a woman while she was taking a picture
    A jaguar attacked a woman at a zoo in Arizona, leaving her with injuries that required medical attention, the fire department said.

    that’s odd, I thought, how did the jaguar reach her. Then I looked at the next tweet

    Jennifer Martinez @ Jennifer_Fox10
    GRAPHIC VIDEO: Woman attacked by a jaguar at ZooWildlife … officials say, the woman crossed over a barrier to get a photo. I’ll have more at 9 and 10.

    a grown ass woman jumped a fence to take a fucking selfie with a two hundred pound predator, two hundred pounds of muscle, claws, fangs and survival instinct

  17. 17
    debbie says:

    Is being creeped out by a bunch of birds sitting on wires a related syndrome?

  18. 18
    ThresherK says:

    The boat broke down on a tourist ride?

    Usually my version of that nightmare involves “It’s a Small World, After All” playing in my head ad infinitum.

    @MomSense: I’m with you on witnessing terrorist seagulls. I’m much more seagull-adjacent than monkey-adjacent.

  19. 19
    trnc says:

    So, based on the thread trend for this weekend, I’m guessing “Kangaroos vs Monkeys” will be coming to a theater near me in about 6 months? The big twist will be when they decide to join forces with the hordes of paragliding schoolchildren.

  20. 20
    Amir Khalid says:

    I once saw a high-chool classmate show off some monkey-style kung-fu moves to a monkey in a wildlife park in Penang. The monkey — I think he was leader of the troop — was very unimpressed, and showed my classmate some of his own moves accompanied by snarling and bared teeth. My friend backed down.

  21. 21
    Gravenstone says:

    Your comment about swans brought up a related memory. My step-granparents had geese on their farm. Of course the evil fuckers went after my sister and myself (we were 5 and 7). My hatred for geese was born that day, and burns strong to this day.

  22. 22
    danielx says:


  23. 23
    debbie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Similarly, here.

    He was subsequently banned from the zoo after entering the enclosure a second time. He blamed the zoo, saying it was they who had made him an Internet sensation.


  24. 24
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @ThresherK: The boat broke down on a tourist ride?

    I’ve always been leery of cruises because of a fear I would be assigned seats in the dining room with strangers, then that shit cruise happened in the Caribbean and now… never. Never.

  25. 25
    debbie says:


    I’m with you. Canada geese nested less than three feet from my apartment door about 10 years ago. It took more than two weeks to get the management to do anythings. Those were the longest two weeks of my life.

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @debbie: zounds! that goober’s lucky to have his fingers

  27. 27
    Amir Khalid says:

    A propos of Betty C’s story: Gorillas giving the finger.

  28. 28
    JPL says:

    @debbie: Geese are mean fuckers. just sayin

  29. 29
    West of the Rockies says:

    Suddenly the quiet trauma of Japanese Village and Deer Park in Buena Park, CA doesn’t seem so bad!

  30. 30
    ThresherK says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I was more referring to little boats in theme parks, etc, than cruise ships.

    But, yeah, the memory of reading about that “steerage cruise” is enough to put anyone off the idea.

  31. 31
    Miss Bianca says:

    @germy: Marmosets are about the only monkeys I can think of that I would want anywhere near me. A). They are cute, unlike other monkeys; B). They are probably too small to rip your face off.

  32. 32
    MomSense says:


    It’s also quite the scene if they leave food out – even crumbs- and then go for a walk or swim. Their stuff is totally ransacked andnruined when they get back.

  33. 33
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The guy that did “News of the Weird” would have that story under the general heading, “Thinning the Herd.”

  34. 34
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’ve only been on one cruise, but under the right circumstances, i.e., no disease outbreak and/or massive plumbing failure, they can be fun.

    My in-laws took the whole family on this cruise (adult children, grandchildren, etc.), so there were enough of us to occupy our own dinner table. My husband and I both chafe at “dress-up” events, so we did the state dinner thing exactly once to please the parents, but food is available in casual settings 24/7.

    We skipped all the shows too since that’s not our thing, but others enjoyed them. My MIL loves to gamble. She dragged me to the casino one time, and I won enough money from a slot machine to pay our considerable bar bill.

  35. 35
    germy says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    They are probably too small to rip your face off.

    And they seem to have no desire to. They’re content to eat grapes and share wisdom among themselves.

    If the human race ever dies out, I hope the marmosets take over.

  36. 36
    chris says:

    There’s still a foot of snow here but I just heard a chickadee mating call so maybe spring will come. Chickadees! Little fuckers bang on the window when the feeder gets low and then they… they land on me when I hang the refilled feeder! They’re so cute.

  37. 37
    ThresherK says:

    OT: One of my favorite things is womens’ college hoops. Another is my being sarcastic when teams named for the men have womens’ equivalents that make no sense.

    The A10 Womens’ Tournament has just now entered the singularity, with the Fordham Lady Rams and the VCU Lady Rams playing each other.

  38. 38
    J R in WV says:

    My mom and dad took many wonderful driving trips after they retired, mostly in a two-seat convertible. In Delaware they went to one of the many duPont estates, now a museum, with a long winding drive through the grounds, which included a large pond with swans, which were beautiful to see.

    Then the alpha swan decided the white convertible was a threat to his supremacy, and ran at them. Mom said “You had better put up the window!” just before the swan arrived, violently, against the closing window. There was spittle still on the window when they got home. Don’t know how the museum was, not the most exciting part of the day.

    So when I saw swans in a pond at Yorktown on one of our driving trips, we stayed in the car to take pics!

  39. 39
    Steeplejack says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    Japanese Village

    There’s a joke in there somewhere, but I can’t figure out how to make it non-racist.

  40. 40
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Gravenstone: I have a hazy memory of my mom heroically swinging her handbag to fend off attacking geese at the Bellingrath Gardens estate near Mobile, Alabama. Geese are mean motherfuckers!

  41. 41
    J R in WV says:


    Gotta say, that’s remarkable. I have always thought that those teams should find a better way to do the nicknames than prefixing with “Lady” + whatever.

    Always sounds stupid…

  42. 42
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Having a good time laughing at the butt hurt Rightwingers maiming about how well Captain Marvel is doing.

    Their boycott flopped (yet again). So now they’re screaming like Trump about fake news. Lol

  43. 43
    debbie says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Umbrellas are the best defense. Aim at them and then open the umbrella. The suddenly large shape is very scary to them. It’s worked every time.

  44. 44
    Steeplejack says:

    I may have mistimed my morning. I got up very early to wait upon the housecat, and now all I want to do is turn in for an afternoon nap. But the big match between Arsenal and Manchester United is about to start (on regular NBC, for those curious). Dunno if I can last the whole two hours.

    It’s all about pacing. I don’t got it.

  45. 45
    Immanentize says:


    I’m guessing “Kangaroos vs Monkeys” will be coming to a theater near me in about 6 months?

    Actually, the hit single, Monkeys versus Donkeys by Wildman Fisher is always a favorite!

  46. 46
    ThresherK says:

    @J R in WV: Well, I give kudos to USC (Ladies of Troy), OkSt and Wyoming (Cowgirls both), And a shout-out to Delaware’s Fighting Blue Hens, where even the men are Hens. Plus, I imagine a woman wouldn’t blanch at being a Marist Red Fox.

    The list of Knights, Bulls, Pirates, Stags, Trojans, etc goes on forever, all the way to the Peacocks (not Peahens) of Upper Iowa University. (St. Peter’s NJ has Peacocks and Peahens.)

  47. 47
    Immanentize says:

    @debbie: You learned that from the Indiana Jones movie, didn’t you?

  48. 48
    Geoboy says:

    @ThresherK: There was a case several years ago when one of the boats on the It’s A Small World ride broke down in the middle of the procession. Most of the occupants were able to wade to safety, but one passenger who was wheel chair bound was stuck on the ride for about an hour until he could be rescued. For some reason they were unable to turn the music off. He sued Disney and was awarded about $8,000 for emotional distress. If I’d been on the jury, it would have been $800,000.

  49. 49
    Miss Bianca says:

    @chris: You have chickadees landing on you? Dude! You could be our next Presidential Savior!

    More seriously, I would love that. Chickadees are my favorite winter feeder birds.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    @chris: We’ve got a ton of chickadees at our feeders, and they are delightful! They never visited feeders at our old place about a hundred miles south. I guess it was too tropical and beachy for them.

  51. 51
    debbie says:


    Not consciously, but I must have osmosised it. Plus, the umbrella was all I had.

    I’m not very trusting of wildlife. Sometimes, when I’m out walking and there’s a group of squirrels arguing amongst themselves, I spread my arms wide to make me look bigger. It hasn’t failed me yet!

  52. 52
    Aleta says:

    (2017) … It is the latest in a series of allegations by former trainers against the more than 80-year-old animal attraction that bills itself as a place where “humans are caged and monkeys run wild.”

    Since the Miami Herald first wrote about the issue on Nov. 7, three additional former employees have come forward. A total of eight have contacted the Herald, giving similar stories.

    Unexplained animal deaths are common, trainers said.

    Everything was so hush hush. Everything was kept a secret.

    (Abuse stories in the article about the Miami Dade Monkey Jungle. They get $80-90 pp for a 4 hr adventure among the monkeys that includes a charge for monkey food.)

  53. 53
    ThresherK says:

    @Geoboy: I’m guessing they offered the plaintiff some comp passes to the park, and that was the last thing the plaintiff wanted.

  54. 54
    JMG says:

    Re: Swans. Swans are nasty beasts. As a teenager, my family lived in a subdivision that had a small mill pond into which some daft homeowner had introduced swans. Local dogs would jump in the pond and the swans would beat the hell out of them. Until the day the pond mostly froze over, one dog teased a swan into getting on the ice to chase him, and the resulting confrontation was fatal for the swan. The remaining swan was gone the next day, presumably moved by humans.

  55. 55
    ThresherK says:

    Arsenal gets one in the 12th minute. Lotsa swerve on that one.

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MomSense: Rats with wings.

  57. 57
    lamh36 says:

    No time to elaborate (commenting from work sorry) but I actually went to a “monkey temple” in India when i went almost 10 years ago.

    Long story short, I went because my friend who I was traveling with wanted to go and I didn’t want her to go alone.

    It was actually pretty fascinating but I recorded to feed the monkeys…she did though so they’d swarm her for peanuts and I was like “Nah…”

  58. 58
    Kayla Rudbek says:

    Adam Silverman, if you’re around, what stretches do you recommend for cramping calves? The spouse and I ran a 10K this morning and my calf muscles are loudly protesting now.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Yutsano says:

    @debbie: Canadian geese are where the entire populace of Canada insert all their hostility & hatred into a single being so it can be taken from their souls. Then it is unleashed upon the world so all Canada can say is sorry. It explains not only why they’re so nice, it also explains how they tolerate us knuckleheads to the south.

    But seriously geese are evil.

  61. 61

    Childhood traumas have lifelong consequences. When I was two or three, my mother and I went to visit relatives in New Mexico. There was an unusual snow storm, I think pretty deep snow, but I was very small so it might not have been too much. Anyway, neighborhood boys dug a snow pit, pushed me in and wouldn’t let me out. Hysterics ensued.My mother, a fierce woman, came and rescued me and gave the boys something to think about. The point of all of this, is 30 years of Michigan blizzards always sent me into a panic. I didn’t figure out the connection until I turned 70 years old.

  62. 62
    West of the Rockies says:


    I may regret this, but I will confess to wondering if the South Carolina Gamecocks have ever played the Oregon State Beavers (and how the revved up semi-pro announcers would handle the play-by-play): “and the Beavers are hammering the ‘cocks tonight in Corvalis!”

  63. 63
    noncarborundum says:

    @ThresherK: They should be the Ewes. Then they could really turn things around and rename the men’s team the Ewes Guys.

  64. 64
    Suzanne says:

    Seventeen-year-old Suzanne worked at Petsmart as a cashier. The work was dull, but the pets were fun. One frequent customer had a pet monkey that she would bring in frequently, sitting on her shoulder. The customer dressed the monkey in baby dresses. Young Suzanne (mistakenly) thought that a monkey who was dressed in baby clothes and was often taken out into public spaces with children present would be friendly. Young Suzanne was mistaken. Very mistaken. Monkeys now freak me right the F out.

    OTOH, the Phoenix Zoo has some baboons (I know, not the same thing, but related) who jerk off in full view of the public and eat the, uh, results, and it is known around the city to be absolutely hilarious.

  65. 65
    West of the Rockies says:


    My goodness, you are the world traveller!

    I’ve been to 25 states and just over the borders of Mexico and Canada.

  66. 66
    Catherine D. says:

    I worked in a psychopharmacology lab in college with rhesus macaques. I got along with most of them, partly because I brought the monkey chow and fruit, and partly because I tried not to splash them when hosing down the waste troughs. But I almost lost a finger to one when I was holding him for an injection and the asshole grad student let go of his end. Felt a huge canine slide down the side of my index finger …

  67. 67
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Suzanne: one time in Europe, I wanna say Avignon, I saw an accordion player busker with a picturesque costume and a monkey on his shoulder, I think the monkey had a matching yellow vest and little red hat . As he walked away, I noticed the stream of monkey shit down the back of man’s vest.

  68. 68
    Steeplejack says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    If you’ve got stairs, or any step, I like this one. You can easily control the intensity and “distance.” Be gentle, of course.

  69. 69
    oldgold says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    Drink pickle juice.

  70. 70
    Suzanne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: This monkey would have gouged out my eyes and eaten my face if I had gotten even a centimeter closer. I often wonder WTF that woman was thinking, taking an animal like that out into public with close and unpredictable contact with kids, other animals, etc.

  71. 71
    Aleta says:

    Now that I think about it, combining 1) a place that might choose profit over good food, vet care and humane population control with 2) tourists holding monkey food and told to mingle …
    might not be a great idea.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @West of the Rockies: The Portland Oregonian once ran a headline concerning a USC-OSU match: “Beavers unimpressed by Trojans.”

  73. 73
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Geoboy: The idea of wading to safety on the “It’s A Small World” ride is hilarious.

  74. 74
    debbie says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    Steeplejack’s stretch is very good, but what you want is potassium. Bananas, cantaloupe, etc.

  75. 75
    MoxieM says:

    Yup– The Monkey Forest in Ubud Bali is full of those little bastards. They know tourists usually dispense food (monkeys not dumb) and can be very aggressive. But, it’s a holy site (see: Ramayana; Hanuman etc.). So it’s not like the locals are going to take any kind of packs-of-wild-aggressive monkey action. And, of course, the locals know the monkeys are aggressive little bastards.

  76. 76
    AnotherBruce says:

    @chris: Chickadees are awesome birds, they over winter in cold regions, they have an iconic sound, and they are indifferent to humans. An easy bird to photograph. And yes, they are way cute.

  77. 77

    There was a Monkey Island here in LA, it opened in the late 30’s and closed during WW2. It was a sculpted hill surrounded by a moat. They sold peanuts that the folk visiting could throw at the poor monkeys. It’s former location is now partly a park and partly the Hollywood Freeway. It was close to Universal Studios and no one know what became of the monkeys after it closed.

  78. 78

    @West of the Rockies: I never went there, heard it was kind of sad(poor deer); I did go to Busch Gardens a couple of times and Lion Country Safari).

  79. 79

    @Betty Cracker: Madame and the kid are headed on a cruise next Sunday.

  80. 80
    realbtl says:

    Not monkeys but in about 1959 my family went to Yellowstone. 11 yo realbtl in passenger seat with my old Argus C3, inevitable bear jam. On was about 6′ away so I looked down to fiddle with the camera and swung into shooting position just as the bear put his paws on the door to look into the thankfully closed window. I was too startled to get a great close up.

  81. 81
    ThresherK says:

    @West of the Rockies: I’m a lifelong New England suburbanite. I was told, by a Southern woman I was dating, that the ruder terms for Gamecocks and any assorted Tigers (like Auburn or Clemson) were sure to be chanted by drunken fans at football games.

    @noncarborundum: Didn’t the LA Rams (first iteration) once call their cheerleadres the Embraceable Ewes? I was just enough of a Tin Pan Alley geek to enjoy that at the time.

  82. 82
    chris says:

    @Miss Bianca: They’re the best!

    @Betty Cracker: Did not realise you moved so far. North, too, hope the cold doesn’t get to you ;-)

    This is real wilderness here and the chickadees are fearless. Quite a difference from their town cousins who need to be coaxed to hand.

  83. 83
    oatler. says:

    Monkey Island? I think J Geils recorded an album there.

  84. 84
    trollhattan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Portland once had a AAA club named the “Beavers” and an official club merch t-shirt proudly proclaimed, “Beaver Fever: Snatch It!”

  85. 85
    JCJ says:

    My daughter’s tale of monkey terror happened in Thailand. In Phetburi province there is an old palace on top of a hill. You can walk around the palace grounds which are heavily vegetated and there are lots of monkeys. It was quite hot (35C/95F) and humid. I bought some cold Fanta for my daughter and they gave it to her in a plastic bag tied with a rubber band as they do in Thailand. We walked about 20 feet and five monkeys came at her grabbing for the Fanta. She got a pretty good scratch on her armother from one of them. The vendor ran up with a slingshot and scared them away. She was 12 years old at the time.
    We took a tour of Japan one time and as our bus was going up towards Mount Fuji the guide gave wonderful advice – she said, “Don’t smile at the monkeys. They are mean!”

  86. 86

    And don’t even get me started on hissing, angry swans!

    Monkeys, swans, geese too, even big angry barking dogs: meh. Yes, they were scary, but after a minute or two and remembering the common sense rules, fear was held in abeyance.

    You want to talk nightmares in broad daylight? Cold sweat, shivering with fear, struck speechless and looking to go fetal? Clowns. Party clowns making the little balloon dogs, circus clowns, parade clowns, take your pick. Fucking clowns easily top every single scary animal incident in this life and all the other lives for triggering the fight-or-flight hardwires. And this was an entrenched response years before Stephen Kings’ It.

    I’ll happily endure an island full of screeching poo-flingers, hissing swans and large, angry barking dogs if it means I get to stay the fuck away from the clowns.

  87. 87
    Suzanne says:

    @BruceFromOhio: Oh, for SURE. Fuck clowns.

  88. 88
    chopper says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    i’d just ice em and take it easy for now. maybe have something high in magnesium, lots of water. often when your muscles are really sore after a run it’s cause the overworking caused some small tears (similar to sore muscles after lifting weights), among other things. no big deal, it’s all fixed in a day (and similar to lifting, they end up stronger afterwords) but if you stretch afterwords you can open those small tears a bit more.

    best time to stretch is always before.

  89. 89
    chopper says:


    what about screeching, poo-flinging hissing clowns?

  90. 90


    best time to stretch is always before.

    The sure preventive measure to have no soreness after a 10K run, is don’t do the 10K run. Works for me every time.

  91. 91
    West of the Rockies says:


    Yeah, I can’t picture an accredited university running such merch…

  92. 92
    Ruckus says:

    Had a buddy (sadly passed away) who worked at the Columbus zoo as a teen. His story of driving the small tourist boat around the lake would make me almost fall down laughing every time I heard it. And I’ve heard it more than a half dozen times. Of course it would break down on occasion or some other catastrophe would happen often enough for him to have endless stories. And those were on top of having teens driving the boats in the first place, which also led to more stories.

  93. 93
    West of the Rockies says:


    I saw the Deer Park in its very brief hey day (about 1970). It was no Knott’s.

  94. 94

    @chopper: Stretching cold is not a good idea. A little bit is okay to get things started, but its more effective and less prone to injury when oxygenation and blood flow is elevated. Calf cramps come from low electrolytes and dehydration, as the waste products from respiration are not getting flushed out of the muscles. Hydration and potassium foods (I like to pound a pint of Gatorade followed by a pint of water), light, easy stretching and gently massaging the muscle groups will ease the discomfort. It’s even better if you can relax and get someone else to rub them for you.

    @chopper: Now you’re just piling on.

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: bwahahaahaa so true. Or stick to bicycling: still aerobic/cardio workout with less damage to the knees and ankles.

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    Jager says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Much like the Pirate in SF with parrot shit on his shoulders

  96. 96
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    My Mother owns property in Gibraltar so before I moved to the US I spent a lot of time there. I spent many a happy afternoon up on the Rock just sitting and interacting with the Barbary Apes. They are really quite cool and not at all aggressive if you treat them with a little respect. The problem arises when a coach load of cruise ship passengers arrives and totally sets them off. They are told not to have anything the Apes can grab. Do not wear expensive sun glasses. Do not go near the babies. Do not have bags full of snacks. They ignore all of it. Then they are shocked when their expensive Raybans get stolen of the top of their heads, when their purses and backpacks are stolen to search for yummy snacks. The Apes recognize coaches full of idiots and act accordingly. Most locals have no problem with them. By the way they are not hungry, they are fed everyday by their Guardian (a member of the Army Garrison there) and are very well cared for. (See the legend related above). Fun fact: despite extensive searching no one can figure out where they go to die. They never find any remains. It is assumed there is a massive “Ape Graveyard” located somewhere but everyone is damned if they can find it.

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    Ruckus says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Used to occasionally go for my afternoon run by a small pond in a suburb of Columbus, OH, where migrating geese would hang out. Those suckers were pretty big and yes pretty mean. Bet they would have been good eating. The only saving thing was that they didn’t give a damn about you till you were right next to them. As as I was jogging by I would be gone before they could get excited and defend their turf. Always heard them behind me though.

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    chopper says:


    agreed about stretching cold. i always warm up first. massage is really the best for sore muscles after long runs, i’ve found. and i run a lot.

  99. 99
    MomSense says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:

    Nuts, seeds, bananas, avocados, dark chocolate all are good sources of magnesium. Light massage, stretching, and a hot bath are what I do.

  100. 100
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Batata wadas sound delicious!

  101. 101
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Speaking of Florida and ill-mannered primates, it looks like Kraft is going to challenge the Patriot Act to the US Supreme Court to avoid a misdemeanor conviction…

  102. 102
    Jager says:

    I got back at a bear on a canoe trip. My youngest girl and I were camped on a small island, we took all the bear precautions. The only thing I left out was a bike bottle of Stoly. About midnight I heard a bear huffing around the campsite. Then a roar and a splash
    The bear had bitten into the bike bottle and gotten a mouthful of vodka. I got up and watched swim across the lake in the moonlight

  103. 103
    Ruckus says:

    @Kayla Rudbek:
    I suffer from occasional calf or quad cramps at night because of whatever I have that my docs haven’t figured out yet. For me massaging is the only thing that works to lessen the cramp.
    And for those questioning types, yes I already take the max recommended dose of magnesium per day.

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    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Anonymous At Work: I believe the recent internet tradition for this is: Fire the writers, this season’s off the rails.

  105. 105
    JGabriel says:

    Betty Cracker @ Top:

    I bet most folks who were terrorized by monkeys as children would too. And don’t even get me started on hissing, angry swans!

    Swans are assholes. They are the premier assholes of the avian world.

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    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: I think maybe I should have some dark chocolate right now in case I do some exercise today. :-)

  107. 107

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: So, these two guys are walking down the street, and one guy is going on and on about how much he hates the Italians. “Lousy no-good wine drinkin’ pasta eatin’ gangsters, yatta yatta.” This goes on for some time and all at once they notice up ahead an Italian organ grinder guy, hat, monkey, mustache, the whole magilla. The first guy gets ready for some trouble but instead the hater guy goes over, pats the monkey on the head, gives him five bucks. As they’re walking away, the fella says “Hey what gives? I thought you were so down on the Italians?” Hater guy says, “Yeah, I know………………..but they’re so cute when they’re little”.

  108. 108
    ProfDamatu says:


    OT: One of my favorite things is womens’ college hoops. Another is my being sarcastic when teams named for the men have womens’ equivalents that make no sense.

    The A10 Womens’ Tournament has just now entered the singularity, with the Fordham Lady Rams and the VCU Lady Rams playing each other.

    I’ve got a great one from my HS cross-country days. The mascot for one of the many schools in our area was the Bulldogs. Unfortunately, the whole “lady whatevers” thing was in full swing, and those poor girls had to wear singlets with “Lady Dawgs” in giant letters across the front. Cue snickering from all the boys’ teams that “I know how to say that name in just one word!” Of course, this is the same city that almost gave a new high school being built a name that would have been abbreviated as MFHS…(from which they were thankfully dissuaded).

    More seriously, I’ve always felt that there’s no need for “Lady” whatever the mascot is, or for using the female form of the word (we would have been the Tigresses…eh). Just use the same mascot for everyone, problem solved. And if it’s an animal where the male name isn’t also the common word for the animal, choose a different mascot. :-)

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    Gin & Tonic says:


    It’s even better if you can relax and get someone else to rub them for you.

    I hear there are places in Florida where you can get that done.

  110. 110
    hitchhiker says:

    Also afraid of swans! Freakish when a creature that looks so calm and beautiful suddenly turns into a demon who clearly would be happy to murder you.

    On topic — this old This American Life story about a raging turkey is quite something.

  111. 111
    M31 says:

    The DC zoo has some primates (now I can’t remember which ones, maybe orang utangs?) whose favorite thing to do is come right up to the glass of their enclosure and then vomit up a big wad onto the glass and then eat it again. The keepers explained that they don’t have much stomach acid so it doesn’t hurt them, and they are clearly having a great time squicking out the human primates.

  112. 112
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Don’t you just love a happy ending?

  113. 113

    @Ruckus: The Huntington has warnings about the geese, yesterday a couple were having a tiff and got a bit too close to me and I got out of their way.

  114. 114

    @Gin & Tonic: lol calf cramps be the least discomfort now.

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    Yutsano says:

    @BruceFromOhio: Eh he’s good for that. I usually get stretched at the end of my therapy sessions because it just feels gooood to get loosened like that. The only stretching that happens at the beginning is for my IT band, which is inflamed all to hell right now.

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    Ruckus says:

    Always a good idea. I’d bet any animal that can fly in formation for hours can also work together to defend each other.
    And geese will do either at the drop of a feather.

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    About a million years ago I used to hunt ducks and geese at Salton Sea. We would take cover at the side of a farmers dirt road away from the reserve that the birds would fly into every morning. The ducks would fly in like airliners do, flying slow and low, flaps down, feet down early, coming in for a graceful landing. The geese would fly high, fast, feet still tucked in till about 2 feet after they passed the reserve fence where they were safe. Then every procedure for landing was done at once, like a fast carrier landing. After setting down the geese would turn and watch us. Besides being mean, they also were not at all stupid.

  118. 118
    trollhattan says:

    Turkeys are just now filtering into my quite-urban neighborhood after establishing themselves in the ‘burbs, a neighbor photographed about ten in my front yard last week. They and the resident Canada geese can both be five-pound winged menaces.

  119. 119
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @ThresherK:The University of Alberta men’s teams are the Golden Bears, while the women’s teams are the Pandas, because ………?

    I went to the University of Victoria in the 80’s, where the men’s teams were named the Vikings, and the women’s teams were named the Vikettes. Eventually, someone figured out that it wasn’t the 50’s anymore and changed the name of both to the Vikes (since apparently there were no female Vikings)

  120. 120
    palinrome says:

    @gravenstone – Fckn geese!!! My gram had a goose that “protected” the chickens. My job was to gather eggs and I had more hickeys than I can count from that thing. I took a broom to it one day and my gram replied by taking the broom to me. All geese on this planet can die and I will celebeate.

  121. 121
    germy says:

    A fear of monkeys is known as pithecophobia.

    “Tell us your phobias and we will tell you what you are afraid of.”

  122. 122
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @trollhattan: The Oregonian also ran a headline for a OSU-Wyoming basketball game: “Beavers dismount Cowboys.”

  123. 123
    NotMax says:


  124. 124
    MoCA Ace says:

    When I was about eight or ten we camped at Mammoth Caves National Park. While roasting marshmallows a raccoon and her four babies ambled by and we started tossing marshmallows to them. Withing minutes five raccoons became at least 20… snarling and fighting each other for the treats just as we ran out. As we my mom and dad rushed us into the camper the raccoons swarmed our vehicle, tent, and camper and ransacked everything we had left out including bags of food and our open cooler. I would rather have a black bear in camp than a herd of angry raccoons.

  125. 125
    Aleta says:


  126. 126
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Just One More Canuck:

    (since apparently there were no female Vikings)

    Can’t tell if that’s snark or your actual position, but some of the largest Viking burial mounds I saw in Sweden were for female leaders. I won’t go in, in case I’m missing a joke.

  127. 127
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Sorry, that was snark – it was the cause of much head shaking among my fellow alumni. Someone made the same point to the university leadership as you, but to no avail

  128. 128
    cynthia ackerman says:

    Turning the tables, 1995, Simpsons Gap, a pleasant day-use area about ten miles west of Alice Springs.

    Unfortunately, I learned about no overnight stays just as I pulled up, solo, at sunset, on a rented bicycle, intending to sleep out under the stars.

    Stuff it. I wasn’t going back to Alice in the dark.

    My slumber was interrupted near midnight by the arrival of a noisy carload of young men (British tourists) drinking beer and carousing a couple hundred yards from me.

    After a short time, I’d had enough.

    I let out some loud snorts and growls, shook some bushes and banged a stick on the ground.


    After a few minutes, the guys were right back at it.

    I crept a bit closer and off line, so they could tell whatever was out there was on the move.

    My best roar.


    Then I made horrible noises as I charged toward the Pommies.

    They shouted and ran for their car, then sped off into the night.

    They left a bag of decent beers behind.

    I later tried to see if there were any reports of a monster at Simpsons Gap, but alas I never heard any mention.

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    hitchhiker says:

    @cynthia ackerman:

    I’m so sorry this was lost at the end of the thread. What a marvelous story!

  130. 130
    Redshift says:

    @Ruckus: A friend’s wife used to work at a wildlife rehab place, and once got her forearm broken by a Canada goose. They are nothing to mess around with

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