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Baby Tarantulas!

Tom

The Dog Trainer
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So question, what was the most difficult animal for you to work with? It can be for any reason. That just all sounds so awesome!
And sorry to here about the temp no work. I'm a groomer and I'm non essential too. Kinda hurts your feelers lol.
My least favorites are Ostrich, kangaroo and zebra.

Ostrich are just big dumb, aggressive birds. Their eyeballs are bigger than their brain. After a day of working with one of those, you feel like you've played in an NFL game. You have to struggle, push and shove them all around all day and try not to get kicked, or let them kill themselves. Its no fun. We consider it a good day if the bird and the trainers all get home safely.

Kangaroos are relatively easy to handle, but because no one understands them or has any experience actually handling them they don't understand why we manhandle them the way we have to. It just looks bad, even though it isn't bad at all for us or for them. You get a lot of "Awwwwwe... The poor thing..." You have to lead them by the wrists, or with a collar around their chest and a leash, or guide them by their tail. Usually its all of the above depending on where you are and where you need to get them to go. They don't "lead" like a dog or a goat. They just flail around, never understanding or even beginning to grasp the concept of "Hey. It would be a lot easier if I just walked along nicely with these people who feed and care for me every day..." None of this bothers the animal at all, and we would never hurt them or allow them to be hurt, but people just don't understand because no one has ever laid hands on a living kangaroo and tried to move them around. They are utterly untrainable and always want to do the opposite of what you want them to do. To say they are like a big dumb giant rabbit would be an insult to rabbits.

Zebra are either in full panic escape mode, or full on attack the human mode. There is a razors edge fine line in the middle of those two extremes that we try to keep them on, but man, it is dicey. Zebras aren't stupid. They are constantly trying to figure out how to kill you to get away from you, or just to make you dead. They want to hurt you and they know how. Its like a chess game and you have to be thinking two or three moves ahead. When you touch them they are always tensed up like a coiled spring just waiting to explode. They just don't relax. This makes sense when you think about how and where they live. Relax for one second on the African plains, and a host of predators will be upon you in an instant, or your herd mates will usurp your standing in the dominate hierarchy. They can't just stand with you and be cool and let you pet them like a horse. It sucks.

Conversely, my favorites would be baboons, reptiles and dogs.
 

Srmcclure

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Joined
Mar 10, 2020
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Location (City and/or State)
Oklahoma city
Hahaha I've actually watched someone handle a kangaroo and she did it by the tail and I remember thinking that's probably really smart. Out of kicking range lol. And there is a 'nature park' here in Oklahoma and you can drive through on a path and they have an area that has both ostrich and zebras together. Both were nuts! My mom's bf at the time was an idiot and said he was going to pet the zebra and he got his arm chomped really bad (he deserved it) and my nana got chased by an ostrich 🤣 it said dont get out, but you can't tell my nana anything and she 'needed' to close/open(can't remember)a little side SUV window and the ostrich locked eyes and took off after her!!
Baboons are crazy smart but aren't they a little bad tempered?
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
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Joined
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Messages
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Baboons are crazy smart but aren't they a little bad tempered?
Sort of... It depends on many variables. Old world monkeys can be aggressive, but it is within a certain framework of "rules" that they all follow. Understand and work within those rules, and you'll have no problem. Violate the rules and you'll be disciplined by any animals that see themselves as higher than you in the dominance hierarchy. I've primarily worked with adult females and a little bit with a few babies. I've been around adult males with other trainers handling them. With the females, as soon as you successfully assert yourself as dominant, you can do whatever you want, and they have to accept it. Still, they are always thinking one or two steps ahead, so you have to be thinking two or three steps ahead at all times. They are extremely intelligent and a lot of fun to be around. I've hung out with wild ones in Africa too. That was amazing. Same rules. I had zero problems.
 

Srmcclure

Member
Joined
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Messages
47
Location (City and/or State)
Oklahoma city
Sort of... It depends on many variables. Old world monkeys can be aggressive, but it is within a certain framework of "rules" that they all follow. Understand and work within those rules, and you'll have no problem.
Ah ok that makes a lot of sense. Working with most creatures is all about understanding boundaries and rules. I guess monkeys/primates make me a little nervous only because they are so similar but at the same time so so different. That is all so amazing! Is there any animal you are afraid of? My example would be I'm in love with sharks, but I can't get into the water with them. They are beautiful, wonderful creatures but I just can't make myself be in their 'backyard'.
 

Tom

The Dog Trainer
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
47,038
Location (City and/or State)
Southern California
Ah ok that makes a lot of sense. Working with most creatures is all about understanding boundaries and rules. I guess monkeys/primates make me a little nervous only because they are so similar but at the same time so so different. That is all so amazing! Is there any animal you are afraid of? My example would be I'm in love with sharks, but I can't get into the water with them. They are beautiful, wonderful creatures but I just can't make myself be in their 'backyard'.
Not all monkeys are the same. New word monkeys like capuchins and spider monkeys have more of a crazy, unpredictable, free for all mindset. They can be fine one minute and going off the next for no apparent reason. My baboon would NEVER do that. My baboon would go off, but it would be totally predictable and understandable, and for an obvious (to me) reason. New world monkeys just rip people up for no apparent reason when they were fine with the person a minute ago. I think they are possessed by demons. Randomly and unpredictably possessed by horrific demons.

Any animal that I'm afraid of? Hmmmm... Not really. Fear subsides with familiarity and understanding. I have a healthy respect for bears and big cats, but I'm not inexplicably afraid of them like some people are with snakes or roaches. I can be around them and work with them, but I never forget what they are and what they are capable of. I have no desire to work around polar bears. There are no living polar bear trainers that I know of. All of them were killed by their own bears. If I were walking around the tundra unprotected with no cover or place to hide and there was a polar bear around, I would be afraid. I can think of plenty of animals that I know to be careful around, but none that I have an irrational or overwhelming fear of. I regularly work with potentially deadly animals, but we are professionals and use appropriate caution, equipment, and techniques to stay safe. I've participated in raising a few big cats from babies, and that really takes any fear away. They still grow up into something that can kill you, and you still have to behave appropriately around them, but that level of familiarity and the relationship really work to remove "fear" from the equation. Respectful and cautious? Yes. Afraid? No.

Sharks are just big fish. I was phobic about them as a kid because I watched "Jaws". My kid is never watching "Jaws". Maybe when she's 35. My reaction to this fear was to study them and learn everything I could. Once I learned the truth about them, began to understand their biology and behavior, raised a few small species in my aquariums, and snorkeled with wild ones, they became a source of fascination and ever more study. At one point I was planning on becoming an ichthyologist for a living. I decided that lifestyle wasn't what I wanted, but never lost my love for or fascination with sharks. I can ID species by their teeth to this day. Now I SCUBA dive with them any chance I get. Fascinating animals.
 
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