Oddball Animals


Monday, 17 June, 2013

Iringa, Tanzania

This weekend I was fortunate enough to go on a safari through the Ruaha National Park. We got to see lions sleeping, hippos swimming, and a giraffe run. Have you ever seen a giraffe run? It is hilarious. Due to their long legs, they kind of have to clumsily bounce themselves from place to place. They were most definitely the last to be picked when choosing sides in PE class, that’s for sure.

The safari also offered us the opportunity to discover exactly how unhinged and queer residents of the animal kingdom can actually be. In fact, we witness so many weirdos that I am even able to compile a list. So, here are my top three oddball animals of Ruaha National Park.

3) Flying Lizard

Our tour of the park was a two-day trip. Therefore, we stayed overnight in a small shack. Frankie and I shared our room with Flying Lizard. Flying Lizard is a superhero, but the type you mock, the kind of saviour that couldn’t save a broken pencil surrounded by sharpeners.

His sole responsibility last night was to take out as many mosquitoes as possible. Sadly, he was not cut out for the job and fell off the wall on a number of occasions. At one point, he fell onto Frankie’s bed, which caused Frankie to screech louder than the animals in the wild – that was brilliant. However, he wasn’t there to be a comedian. His incompetence caused me to get bitten on several occasions.

What kind of lizard drops from a wall over and over again? His continuous falling even woke me up on two occasions, but I guess his poor performance can be forgiven based on the fact he made Frankie look like a wimp.

Oddball Rating: 6/10

2) Fritzl the Elephant

Fritzl was actually the first animal we saw, spotted immediately to our right as we entered the gate of the park. He stands alone and simply stares at the jeeps as they stop for pictures. Obviously, that’s pretty weird in itself, but there are weirdo people in the world that like trainspotting and stamp collecting – jeep watching just makes him a bit of a nerd rather than an oddball.

Our guide then explained that the reason he stands alone, and in that very spot every day, is because he is an outcast. His mum kicked him out of the herd as the big filthball wouldn’t stop trying to do naughties with various different female members of his family. Young Fritzl has definitely been a guest on Jerry Springer at some point in his life.

That said, I wonder how the guide knows. Perhaps Fritzl featured in the local newspaper gossip column? My theory is that the information was leaked in a playful game of Chinese whispers between the elephants and the humans after working hours.

Oddball Rating: 9/10.

1) Blue Balls

I like monkeys a lot, they’re what humans would be like if we didn’t need to abide by society’s rules.

I was actually robbed by a monkey a few years ago, he took my bag of banana peels – probably a blessing because I couldn’t find a bin at the time – but still, what were his consequences for doing so? He wasn’t exactly going to get a slap on the wrist and be made to clean graffiti off walls for two months.

Blue Balls’s crime was perhaps more extreme and grotesque, and yet, one of the most amusing things that I have ever seen.

We pulled up alongside a tree of monkeys – most were playfully chasing each other around the branches. However, our chart entry sat alone on a curve in the trunk, relaxed and staring at the girls in our jeep. Who, apparently, he found appealing.

With his eyes fixed on his porn (I suppose it’s probably not as easy to browse the internet for erotic videos when you live in a national park), he started to aggressively jack himself off.

The girls were in fits of laughter, as were the rest of us. However, this didn’t make him feel humiliated in any way – he just kept right on task. It should probably be questioned who the real oddballs in that moment were though – a monkey shaking hands with the one-eyed milkman in public, or a car full of humans pulling up to watch the whole act?

It seemed the view of the girls wasn’t doing enough to get him off, so he switched tactics. He went down on himself! That was pretty grim, probably didn’t do a lot for his reputation around the park, either. Taking your own load? Nope, your boys aren’t going to let you forget that one in a hurry.

Oddball rating: 9.5/10.


Seeing a monkey play with himself was not the highlight for me though, I’m not that weird. It was very bloody funny, but I like drama. I like a battle. Therefore, watching two of the park’s greatest warriors collide was the main event as far as I was concerned.

We got to see two big lad antelopes scrap it out over a woman – will men ever change?

One antelope started sniffing around her arse, and I guess her boyfriend, or overly protective best friend, didn’t like it much. Now that I think about it, most of the interesting occurrences that we witnessed over the weekend took place due to the animals being randy.

They were going at it in a ‘my horns are harder than your horns’ kind of clash, and to be fair, the battle was pretty even for a few minutes. Unfortunately for Sniffer, he stumbled just as his opponent was gaining momentum – offering enough time for Jealous Guy to rock him with three fast digs to the nose while he was leaning backwards.

Sniffer then quickly walked away with his head tilted low below his shoulders, glum to the fact that he’d now be spending his evening in a similar manner to Blue Balls.

I highly appreciate each of the animals mentioned for their majorly entertaining performances. The looneys offered us drama, action, comedy, and in many ways, horror (there are very few things more horrific in this world than an elephant that tries to bang his mum, sister and cousins).

The show stealers certainly offered a better display than the lions, who didn’t desire much beyond sleep. At one point, they wandered over to the dirt tracks just beyond us, dropped down, settled, and eventually fell asleep a few metres away on our intended route. This resulted in us being stuck in the same sport for forty minutes.

I’m pretty sure they just did that to be arseholes, but the point had been made; they are still very much the kings of the jungle and we are their bitch. I can’t argue, I’ve seen how those guys maul it out in the Lion King.

Speaking of which, our guide informed us that many of the characters’ names in the Lion King are simple words taken from the African language, Swahili. For instance, simba means lion and rafiki equates to friend. Ah, classic subtle education that went over every Western child’s head. I’m definitely now going to be one of those know-it-all tools, the next time I watch the film.

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