Disney movies make hanging out with wild animals look like a walk in a fun, happy, completely predator-free park. But in the real world, being around untamed wildlife isn't so much about carefree singing and dancing and monkeyshinin' as it is about running and screaming. Then coming back later to clean up the poop trail you inevitably left behind.
Or it usually is, anyway. These people have apparently chosen to just go the Disney route, like ...
#6. The Child With the 20-Foot Python
To explain this picture of a child cuddling his 20-foot-long snake, we have to tell a story.
Surprisingly, it didn't end with the kid as poop.
Imagine you're the proud parents of a 3-month-old baby. Here's what a 3-month-old baby looks like, in case you're not from here (Earth):
All that's missing is the colic.
So, small. No neck control. Tiny. Now imagine that you walk into your baby's room in the morning and you find a snake in his bed. Not just any snake, but a 2-foot-long baby python. You'd kill the thing, right? Just straight up find a shoe or hammer or whatever and beat it like you're Keith Moon and the snake is a drum.
Not Koun Samang's dad, who found a python in his baby's bed and sweetly returned it to the jungle, presumably while giving it a back massage and singing it snaky lullabies. When the snake showed up again, he did it again. Three freaking times this happened, before he just gave up getting rid of the thing and welcomed it into the family, deciding that the snake had a thing for his son.
"Hey, what's the worst that could happen?"
Seven years later, Samang and the now-giant snake he named "Lucky" are going strong. Did we say "strong?" We meant "Holy crap, that's not natural. RUN, SON, RUN!"
Today the snake is over 20 feet long and could easily eat the boy ... or a dinosaur or a house, if she felt like it. But it doesn't. Samang considers the serpent his sister, which is pretty messed up considering how often they kiss ...
Tasting. When a snake kisses, you call it tasting.
On, and he rides her like a Hoveround:
When not making everyone around him uncomfortable, Samang spends his days teaching Lucky sissy tricks and feeding her chicken. We'd make some snarky comment here, but we're actually not big on the idea of mocking a kid who apparently is the King of the Giant Serpents.
"FIND THE INTERNET COMEDIANS, MY SERVANT! FIND THEM, AND KILL!"
#5. The Lion Whisperer
Kevin Richardson is a "self-taught" (dropped out) zoologist who raises lions and hyenas in South Africa. And we should probably clarify that he's not some circus performer getting lions to do cartwheels and battle chairs for a paying public. These are not tame animals. They're as wild as Girls Gone! and twice as deadly. And Richardson treats them like this:
Cat Pictures and Videos
He hasn't had nipples in years.
Again, we want to make a bestiality joke there. But we do not want to get eaten.
Richardson is so confident in his relationship with 400-pound cats that he will often go into their enclosures to sleep with the pride. Not that he's never been mauled -- he totally was -- but he just shook it off. The lions do that to each other from time to time, after all. Just part of life in the pride.
Apparently none of the lions in his park are suitable for reintroduction into the wild, so the females have been sterilized. Which is a major downer on the group dynamics of the pride, and also means Richardson has to break up fights between males competing for dominance.
Come on, dude. Now you're just showing off:
"Seriously, man, flossing. It's a thing."
#4. Gilberto Shedden and His Half-Ton Crocodile
Gilberto "Chito" Shedden is a Costa Rican fisherman who has a 17-foot, 1,000-pound crocodile as a pet. Remember how we all thought Steve Irwin was a nutjob for his crocodile-wrestling ways? Here's Irwin, the wildlife expert, doing his thing:
OK, now compare his croc to Shedden's friend, Pocho:
MB & F
We're saying his croc has pooped bigger crocs than the one Irwin has up there.
Here's one of the gruesome twosome playing in the river. Or, it's a dragon slayer and his freshly defeated kill, we can't tell:
So how did these two hook up? According to Shedden, he found his leathery friend 20 years ago, after it had been shot in the left eye by a cattle farmer. Together with some friends, Shedden took the 150-pound croc to his house and nursed it back to health with medicine, food and constant supervision. Before you knew it, Chito and Pocho were making buddy cop movies and having serious conversations about wife swapping.
Today, tourists go out of their way to watch the two frolic and wrestle and have foot races. And how does Chito know his amigo will never, ever eat him?
"Pocho is my best friend. This is a very dangerous routine but we have a good relationship. He will look me in the eye and not attack me. It is too dangerous for anyone else to come in the water. It is only ever the two of us."
You're damned right it is, Chito.