When we see, say, a slavering lion staring us down and licking its chops, most of our brains are wired to instantly send a "Release!" signal directly to our bladders. But as we've mentioned before, there are a select few people in this world who instead get an overwhelming urge to scwatch da widdle wion under his widdle chin. And the lion totally lets them do it.
WARNING: DO NOT TRY ANY OF THIS SHIT YOURSELF.
#5. Ocean Ramsey -- Great White Shark Rider
Apparently 27-year-old scuba instructor/surfer/bikini model/aquatic superhero Ocean Ramsey (no shit, that's her real name) never saw Jaws.
For some people, cage diving with great whites is thrilling. The really bold and/or batshit insane might even crank it up a notch by abandoning the cage altogether and free diving with the world's biggest, deadliest fish. But even free diving isn't enough for Ocean Ramsey: She rides them. She rides great white sharks and says it's "quite a rush."
Ocean swims without any protection at all. No shark suit, no spear ... no bat-shark repellent, even. She likens it to the first time she ever encountered a horse, which, when you really think about it, makes no sense at all because a horse will very rarely tear off your limbs and swallow them whole.
And is generally not capable of eating an entire horse, itself.
Keep in mind, great whites are very curious animals that regularly test bite things that they find interesting. It's not that they're even necessarily hungry; they just interact with their world by biting it. They use their mouths to gain tactile information about their environment in the same way we use our hands -- only our hands aren't made out of serrated death-razors.
In other words, they get to know you by eating you.
But Ocean Ramsey fearlessly hitches rides on the fins of these mindless killing machines in hopes of raising awareness of their status as an endangered species, and she hasn't been test bitten yet. Not even a nibble. Maybe they're not so mindless, after all -- it's almost as if they know she's on their side. Still ... no offense, Ocean, but we're going to go ahead and call you a freak of nature and keep right on assuming that the way another stunningly beautiful shark expert once described great white encounters is more accurate -- namely, all black eyes and teeth and screaming and the ocean running red.
#4. Werner Freund -- the Alpha Wolf
When their twilight years approach, most people occupy themselves with things like retirement and pondering whether or not pajamas are acceptable evening wear. Others continue right on with leading their literal wolf pack as the reigning alpha male.
Years ago former paratrooper Werner Freund left his German Special Forces battalion and took a job working as a gardener at the Stuttgart Zoo. Before long circumstances found him as the primary caregiver of the zoo's toothiest predators, and he became especially fond of the wolves -- so much so that he was inspired to make an enthusiastic appeal to the mayor of his hometown for financial backing to establish a sanctuary for them. Freund was either adequately persuasive or effectively crazy-eyed enough to convince the mayor to grant his request, and public money was allocated to create Wolfspark Werner Freund in 1972.
Via Reuters/Lisi Niesner
Would you turn down a request for money from this man?
Freund believed that there was only one way to truly connect with the creatures that were now his responsibility: "I had to become a wolf to bond with the wolves. That is the only way to gain their trust." And become a wolf he did, by not only living among them and establishing himself as their leader, but also by communicating with them in the language of moon howling and by shoving his face into the bloody remains of freshly killed deer. Or whatever he and the boys feel like disemboweling that day.
Via Reuters/Lisi Niesner
Only the cutest and most wide-eyed of orphaned baby deer are good enough for his beloved pack.
You might suppose that such behavior would end in a comical, fast-motion chase through the woods with Freund being pursued by muscular men in white uniforms carrying oversized nets, but all that precarious time spent as a "wolfmensch" was just his particular way of becoming a pioneer in German wolf conservation. Now in his 80s, first-time visitors to the park can still sense the gravitational pull emanating from the lower-middle section of Freund's lederhosen as he goes about his daily routine and "walks freely among 29 wolves, wearing an old parachute smock reeking of animal fat and blood."
Via Reuters/Lisi Niesner
This photo is completely unrelated to the recent rash of hitchhiker disappearances.
#3. Marlice van Vuuren -- Cheetah Teaser
Anup Shah/Photodisc/Getty Images
Immediately stop whatever you're doing and watch this video of Marlice van Vuuren fucking with some wild cheetahs:
In case you didn't watch it, that's a video of a young, attractive blonde walking right into the center of a ring of wild cheetahs, because what a normal person might call "surrounded by spotted death-by-shredding," Marlice van Vuuren calls "Tuesday."
Everyone else in the entire world is a pussy by comparison.
Occasionally she looks as if she's about to freak out and run, but that's just Marlice taking advantage of her in-depth knowledge of the cheetahs' natural instincts -- truth is, she knows exactly what they're going to do. She's just teasing them, trying to get them to lunge at her. And when they do, she laughs. Then, once she's done screwing around with their heads, she feeds them bloody scraps of flesh from her bare hands, because of course she does.
Her other hobby is counting her fingers.
So just how does one become so intimately familiar with the world's fastest land predator? Well, Marlice grew up in Namibia, where her parents converted their one-time cattle farm into the Harnas Wildlife Foundation, a place where they took in injured wild animals and nursed them back to health. Marlice literally grew up alongside lions and other creatures that would make most kids shit their pants if they ever encountered them outside of a zoo. She also spent a goodly chunk of her formative years with the native San Bushmen, and is one of the few white people on Earth who can speak their language. Today, she's got her own place, the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, where she carries on the noble cause of protecting Namibia's wildlife.
Via Marlice Van Vuuren
A task that we hope entails sicking her cheetahs on poachers.
We have no doubt whatsoever that Marlice could use her ability to subjugate these noble beasts of the savanna to get down to some serious supervilliany if she so chose, but we're sure she's a perfectly nice gal with only moderate world-taking-over tendencies. Still, before you single guys out there get overly enamored with this beautiful blonde bush goddess, you should probably watch this video of her happily hate-stabbing a gazelle to death:
"You. Forgot. My. Birthday?!"
Oh, and anyway ... she's happily married.