18

At the Watering Hole

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Mid-morning at a watering hole somewhere on the African savannah.

Zebra 1: Beautiful morning isn’t it?

Zebra 2: Did you hear that Ryan finally got up the nerve to ask Tammy to mate?

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Zebra 1: No! They’re so cute together. I bet they have beautiful colts.

Zebra 3: Hmmmph! She is such a flirt! She led my Tony on that she would mate with him.

The first two zebras look at each other.

Zebra 2: Well, I’m sure Tony will find a nice girl too.

Zebra 3: You bet he will. Then she’ll be sorry.

Further along.

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Warthog 1: This is a nice place. How did you find it?

Warthog 2: I was talking to a guy who told me how to get here. Said there was a lot of good water and a fairly low predator to prey ratio.

Warthog 1: You should have brought him along.

Warthog 2: Unfortunately, he got eaten not too long after we met.

Silence.Image result for gazelle

Gazelle 1: Did you hear the hyenas last night?

Gazelle 2: It sounded like there were a lot of them.

Gazelle 1: I know. It was very strange. The last time I saw the pack there were only 3 or 4 of them.

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Gazelle 3: I heard a rumor that they have some kind of machine that can make it sound like there are lots of them even when there aren’t. I think it’s called a fone or something like that.

Gazelle 1: Should have known. Those guys are always trying to figure out some kind of scam.

The watering hole goes silent as the group of lionesses approach. Slowly the animals start to back away.

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Lioness 1: Take your time. We’re here to relax, not hunt.

The other animals quickly move away.

Lioness 2: They never trust us.

Lioness 3: Well, we do eat them.

Lioness 2: That’s no excuse for bad manners.

Lioness 1: Did you hear what Leonidis said just before we left?

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Lioness 1: He’s bored with eating zebras and gazelles. He wants something exotic for dinner.

Lioness 2: Did he mention what this exotic dinner was supposed to be?

Lioness 1: He wants an ostrich.

Lioness 3: There aren’t any ostriches around here.

Lioness 1: The new girl told him she had eaten a couple and they’re delicious.

Lioness 2: Then let the new girl get one for him.

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Lioness 1: He wants her to teach the new cubs how to pounce.

Lioness 2 (sarcastically): Well, isn’t she special.

Lioness 3: I wish Leonidis hadn’t heard that human refer to him as “King of the Jungle”.

Lioness 2: I know. It went straight to his head.

Lioness 1: Humans are so much trouble. We don’t even live in a jungle.

They hear a roar in the distance.

Lioness 1: Time to get to work.

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all pictures courtesy of Google Images

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8

Inter-Species Peace: An Elephant’s Perspective

 

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You may recall that at last year’s staff meeting, I said that I was following a group of sub-Saharan animals who were trying to model a peace plan. A year later, it doesn’t seem that they have made much progress.

Things got off to a rocky start. A lioness offered to host the first session. She served zebra pate as one of the appetizers. Zebra pate is highly prized by the lions. Not so much by the zebras and other herbivores. The session ended before it began. The hyenas scarfed the pate before they left.

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The lions sent off an apology of sorts: “We are sorry if the vegetarians on our task force were offended by our food. We did not understand that they would be offended if we ate our foods in our homes. We thought it would be sufficient to not eat our guests.”

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A little terrified by these comments, the herbivores refused to meet with the carnivores. Finally a chimpanzee came up with a compromise. First, there would be no food served and no talk of killing. Second, the herbivores would be taken to and from the meetings in a vehicle provided by the humans (with no humans present). Third, the lions would send a male representative since they were the less predatory gender. Fourth, no animal would be allowed to attend meetings without signing the agreement.

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After some discussion, the animals agreed to sign. The chimpanzee thought that the group was on its way to showing the humans how to cooperate. Particularly when they discovered that the male lion was content to sleep in the sun through most of the meetings.

So they moved onto water rights.

Hippo: I don’t think it’s right that the elephants get to drink so much water.

Elephant: At least we don’t lie in it all day and release “organic matter” into it.

Wildebeest: The water does taste like hippo sometimes.

Hippo: How do you know? Have you ever eaten a hippo?

Leopard: Not to create another crisis, but it does taste of hippo.

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Hippo (offended): Fine. At least, I don’t wallow in mud like the warthog over there.

Warthog: What does that have to do with anything? You’re just being a bully.

Chimp: OK everyone, let’s get back on topic. How do we share the water?

Antelope: How about if the meat-eaters would let us get a drink in peace?

Cheetah: You’ve obviously never had to fight for food. We have to take it when we can find it.

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Gnu: I knew this wasn’t going to work. It’s always back to food for the predators.

Cheetah: It’s not our fault that we have to eat meat to survive.

Hyena: Or that some of you are so tasty.

(Everyone glares at him. He slinks away.)

Elephant: See? That’s what I mean.

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Lion (yawning): Will you all just be quiet? I just ate two gazelles and you’re ruining my digestion.

 

  “Ace” Sopp reporting from Nairobi

(pictures courtesy of Google Images)

7

No Hippopotamus for Christmas

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Editors: Before Christmas, Cat kept singing a stupid song about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas

Apparently she was only kidding, or the other humans had more common sense, because there were no animals under the tree. Don’t get us wrong. You know we’re all about animals here in Cheeseland. But most of the animals work from their native habitat, and we weren’t sure there is enough space here for a hippo.

We wanted to do some research and asked R. Tavi, our Asian correspondent, to take a trip to Africa.

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I went to Kenya to speak with Nala, an East African hippopotamus. I first thing I noticed was that hippos are really big.

Tavi: Good morning Nala

Nala: Good morning. Don’t bother asking. I weigh 1,200 pounds. I don’ know why everyone is so interested in my weight. I have a big skeleton. In fact it runs in the family, the hippo family. We’re big animals. My husband weighs 2,000 pounds. Get over it.

Tavi: I apologize. I just don’t get around large animals much. I live in India. We have elephants, but that’s about it.

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Nala (huffily): Then you should have seen someone bigger than me.

Tavi (trying to change the subject): So what do hippos generally eat?

Nala: You want to find out why I’m so big? For your information, we hippos live on salad. I have never touched meat. And I don’t eat sugar. I’m not fat. It’s just genetics.

Tavi: I apologize. I obviously have offended you. Perhaps we could start over.

Nala: I suppose that might work.

Tavi: How do you spend your days?

Nala: It’s pretty hot here. I like to be submerged in the water most of day. There is excellent eating in the lake. Once in a while I go over there. (Points at some yams growing in a field.) I love yams.

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Tavi: Doesn’t the farmer object to you raiding his field?

Nala: What do you mean “raiding”? If he didn’t want hippos in his field, he shouldn’t have planted so close to the lake.

Tavi: So it’s an amicable relationship.

Nala: Not really. I’d really be just as happy if he would just go away. Then I wouldn’t have to try to kill him every time he comes after me.

Tavi is beginning to wonder if there was anything they could talk about that wouldn’t upset the hippo.

Tavi: What do you like to do for fun?

Nala (giggling): My favorite is to fling dung at people and other animals.

Tavi: It doesn’t sound like you’re very fond of humans.

Nala (growling): I hate humans! They bring their stupid boats into our lakes and try to take pictures of us. It serves them right when we tip over their boats and kill them. They’re lucky we’re not carnivores.

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Tavi: I suppose you’re right. You’re very fond of living here, aren’t you?

Nala: It’s a wonderful place. Cool water, good food, warm sun.

Tavi: I don’t suppose you’d be interested in traveling, would you?

Nala: Never. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Tavi: Thank you for your time. I wish you well.

Nala: Thank you.

Tavi returns home understanding why hippos have a reputation for being aggressive. He can’t imagine why Cat would want to bring one home.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images, video from Youtube.