When we first saw the polar bear at the Indianapolis Zoo, it looked—maybe not dejected—but certainly a little overwhelmed by holiday ennui. Soon enough, however, it became more active and, seemingly, more sanguine—a word that I choose quite deliberately.
After pacing around its enclosure and relieving itself, much to the fascinated—and highly vocal—horror of some zoo visitors, the polar bear started sniffing the air with great interest.
The air in our direction, that is. I’m pretty sure we were upwind of the bear (er…that’s where they can smell you, right?), and it seemed pretty sure of that as well.
It’s a little unnerving to have a gargantuan, clearly carnivorous creature with claws the size of human fingers sniffing at you.
It’s more unnerving when said creature, presumably in response to what it has smelled, starts licking its chops.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining about getting a chance to see a polar bear, and certainly captive animals have a right to whatever entertainment they can get, provided they don’t eat the visitors (well, provided they only eat certain visitors; I have a list).
Still, it was not a cute-and-fuzzy sort of a moment, and it left me in some doubt as to whether polar bears or tigers are the scarier. I’m still not sure, myself, but I’d be interested in your opinion on the subject.
Scream and run from this: