We actually got mixed up with some exotic animals a couple of times when we lived in Texas. We lived in Keller and about 70 miles south is the city of Glen Rose. Just 4 or 5 miles outside of Glen Rose are the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Fossil Rim is large and has several miles of dirt roads that allow you to give yourself a self-guided tour to see the animals. The countryside is of low, rolling hills and when you are out in the middle of the property you can easily imagine that you are out on safari when you encounter the African animals that you have heard of and seen in books all your life. You can buy a bag of feed at the gift store (8 bucks and you are allowed 1 bag per vehicle).
There are many types of animals in the Wildlife Center. To name a few, there are ostriches, emus, zebra, giraffes, wildebeests, many species of antelope and deer. In separate pens are black rhinos and white rhinos. There is a fenced area for cheetahs and the Center’s breeding program has produced 180 cubs in about 30 years. There is also a herd of American bison.
The different types of deer and antelope, along with the the ostriches and zebra roam free and they all have their favorite feeding and loafing places within the park. You can encounter and feed one group and then drive a short way and find another group. The zebras and some of the deer will come up to the car and eat out of your hand. Some will get close but you have to toss the feed on the ground.
The zebras get pretty pushy. Actually, the zebras are thugs, have no manners, and don’t display any reticence at all when it comes to eating. The first time we went to Fossil Rim, we had our grand-daughter, Michelle, with us. Shell was driving as we went through and fed the animals. A couple of times, she had to duck as the zebras rammed their heads in the window in an effort to get to the food.
The second time we went to Fossil Rim, Pat’s Aunt Mable was with us. Her daughter Kathy and son-in-law, Richard from Wichita, had come to Dallas to visit friends and had dropped Mable in Keller to stay with us for two days. We thought Mable might enjoy something out of the ordinary so took her to Fossil Rim.
Mable had never really been around animals much so she wasn’t prepared for their aggressiveness when being fed and wasn’t sure how to do it. We told her over and over to extend her hand with the palm up and flat and to have the food lying in the middle of her palm. She didn’t listen and picked up the food with her fingers and offered it to a zebra. Naturally, the zebra nipped her fingers, causing her to yelp and jerk her arm back inside the car. Pat and I got a good laugh out of it because we knew she wasn’t hurt. We continued with our tour and Mable did ok with the feeding. Later, on the way home, we asked her what she thought about the experience. She said, “Well, if anyone asks me if anything interesting happened when I went to Texas I’ll tell them that I got bit by a zebra but other than that, not much.”
November 1, 2014