Tuesday, August 12, 2008

what lies beneath

You remember Jaws. It's the movie that singlehandedly emptied the ocean, if only for a moment. Who wanted to swim out there in all that darkness? After seeing that film, it was a long time before I'd even wade. I'd venture out to knee-height in slow, inchy, trepidatious steps, but all the while, I could envision the scene underneath those waves. I was certain that like beacons, my two white legs had drawn the attention of two beady fish eyes, and any moment, I would come face to fin with a fangy predator.

The pool, though ... there I felt safe. Nothing lurked below those beautiful, fake blue waters. Just a drain.

Or at least that's what I thought ...

These incredible photos are of a White Bengal tiger named Odin who lives in a zoo in Vallejo, California. Odin is six years old and 10 feet long from tail to nose.

(This is my favorite. It looks like he's either covering a burp or rethinking that last bite.)

Odin was hand-raised at the zoo. After he was weaned, his British trainer, Lee Munro, discovered his remarkable skill. When a lump of meat was thrown into a pool of water, Odin dived happily in after it.

"He makes a funny face. It's actually to close his nostrils to stop the water from going into his nose."

Not all big cats enjoy the water, but for tigers from the hot climate of South-East Asia it's one way to cool down.

"Plus they hunt in and around water. They're an ambush predator so they wait for prey to come down to the water," his trainer explains.

"When you actually see him dive underwater he looks so graceful. Odin loves the water and he loves food," he said. "Not all big cats will dive and swim underwater, even for meat treats."

Munro said tigers were the most powerful swimmers out of all land-dwelling animals.

White tigers--the most rare variety--get their white color from an unusual and extremely rare genetic combination. A century ago there were about 100,000 tigers in the wild. Now there are just 2,500 adults, with the Bengal variety almost extinct. None has been seen in the wild since the last white tiger was shot and killed in 1958.


5 Comment:

At 8/13/2008 4:09 AM, Blogger Denise had this to say ...

a great story and pictures!

At 8/13/2008 10:09 PM, Blogger *~Puzzle~* had this to say ...

What a beautiful tiger? I love tigers.

At 8/14/2008 7:11 AM, Blogger suzzanne had this to say ...

So, does this mean you are adding a new song to your list, this one under the heading, "mauled-by-a-White-Bengal-Tiger-while-swimming-in-a-pool?"

I would like to deliver the eulogy, "Last Tuesday, while eating a bologna sandwich under a cobalt blue sky..."

At 8/14/2008 7:15 AM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

Hi Denise and Puzzle :) Isn't that one beautiful tiger?

Suzzanne, you crack me up. Yes. You may deliver my eulogy. It would be really nice if you GAVE it on a Tuesday as well.

BTW--are you the keeper of my death-song list? I was wondering who had taken that over. :)

At 8/15/2008 12:49 PM, Blogger Curlyqfun had this to say ...

Oh my gosh...some of those pictures are frightening!! But at the same time amazing!!


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