That time I got bit by a lion in Alabama.

by terra on November 12, 2013 · 13 comments

in Animals are better than people,Misadventures and Mayhem

I went to Alabama in the middle of September, and while I was there Andrew and I headed just outside of Troy, Ala. to a place called McClelland’s Critters. I had heard about this place, this strange little zoo in the middle of the Alabama wilderness, and I demanded a visit, because there were tigers and lions and bears and camels and it sounded like a sort of Snow White paradise.

The place is down some winding Alabama back roads, but, once you arrive, and once you start exploring, it’s like a magical wonderland. It’s $9 to wander around the place, and for $5 you can get an actual bucket of food and you can hand feed buffalo, goats, sheep, a camel, some big ass birds, tiny little horses and a handful of funky little deer friends, among others.AlabamaZoo20130922_001

AlabamaZoo20130922_019

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AlabamaZoo20130922_002I was freaking out a little, because I get crazy excited about feeding goats at a petting zoo and here I was handing alfalfa pellets to a camel and, better yet, a buffalo. I love all the little and big critters, in true Snow White fashion, but there was just something about feeding the buffalo that was sort of magical. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t ever gotten to do that before, or what, but standing there, gazing into the eyes of a big ass lady buffalo, while Andrew entertained the REALLY BIG gentleman buffalo, was incredible.

We wandered around some more, after we had exhausted our food bucket, and said hello to tigers and bears and raccoons and monkeys and then we saw that Mike, the owner, along with some other visitors were actually IN the cage with the lion cub, and so we wandered over, me probably sticking my head out like a curious little bird, then Mike invited us into the lion pen, with Thor, the 5-month-old lion cub, and he told me to pet him, on his belly, and so I handed the camera off to Andrew and I got down on the ground, right next to this little lion guy and I pet his little belly and it was a crazy and terrifying because he might be little, but he’s still a fucking LION.

And then he bit me. Just a little.

AlabamaZoo20130922_041Not aggressively, but mostly playfully, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. He put his little lion mouth around my knee and nibbled, just a little bit, and it reminded me so much of the way my terrible little orange cat would nibble me when she was just a little thing, except for that she was like three pounds and this lion guy was like 50 pounds and there’s a real big difference between my house cat and that lion cat. It was a little bit terrifying because there was an instant where the most logical and life-protecting part of my brain was like, YOU JUST GOT BIT BY A LION HOLY FUCKING SHIT, RUN!! and then the other part of me that was all like, oh, this lion nibbled on me! How cute!

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AlabamaZoo20130922_038Andrew also got in on the lion-petting action, but only because I told him he had to, because really, how many chances are there going to be in life to pet a baby lion? Andrew is far more cautious than I am, in a lot of ways, including lion-petting ways. He is the steady state of calm to my pandemonium.

Incidentally, the day I got bit by a lion was also the day I got snakes put on my head.

AlabamaZoo20130922_052I always think I’m afraid of snakes, but then when I actually get to meet them, I really don’t mind. I don’t think I’d be a very good Snow White if I was all weirded out by snakes, especially snakes like these, who seemed quite content to slither around on my face. Also, that python gives one hell of a neck massage.

Just before we had to leave the zoo, so I could catch my plane back to Virginia, this happened:

AlabamaZoo20130922_056

AlabamaZoo20130922_057BABY GATORS!

AlabamaZoo20130922_059So, yeah. I went to Alabama, got bit by a lion, had snakes put on my face, hand fed some buffalo and snuggled some baby gators. All in a days work for Snow White, I guess.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly L
Twitter: kelalea
November 12, 2013 at 10:58 am

Love love love.

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nonsequiturchica November 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I am SO JEALOUS that you got to pet a lion cub. That is seriously on my bucket list.
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Elly November 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Oh, baby LIONS! I am in awe – that’s amazing! :)
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Casi @HeyNoobz
Twitter: twitter.com/HeyNoobz
November 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

OMG you’re so brave! Snakes and lizards crawling all over me….I would probably just die. But a cute little lion can nibble my knee anytime! So cute!
Casi @HeyNoobz recently posted..Let’s Take A Stroll Through The Canals Of Venice

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jess November 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm

i’m soo going there when i head back to see my man ! thanks for the post !

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Perry T. November 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I think the most amusing thing in the pictures of your amorous meeting with the baby gators is the lady in the back with the snake wrapped around her face. Photo bomb!

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San November 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Holy shit, you’re one crazy snow white! Snakes on your face? Really, Terra?
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Kate @ GreatestEscapist.com November 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

This is the Snow Whitiest thing in the world, & I love it & am so jealous. I’ll say, though, that in that second lion picture, that lion looks less playful & more hungry. And BABY GATORS, GIMME ONE. But keep it baby forever because ADULT GATORS WUT.

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Nora November 13, 2013 at 2:13 pm

You are the BEST Snow White ever. I’d be terrified of the snakes on my head.
Lions and baby gators I’d be ok with.
Over the summer when the bonus kidlets were here we took them to Grant’s Farm and you can feed alpacas there, too! One of the other kids we were with decided to eat the alpaca food rather than give it to the animal. It was hilarious mostly because of the look on his face once he started chewing.
Also, seeing a buffalo up close? So cool!
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katelin November 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I mean this is the best thing ever. You are truly Snow White. And a baby lion cub!?! I melt at that cuteness. Even if he bites.
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Emilie November 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm

This sounds like the best day ever minus the snake part. I can’t do snakes. But baby lions and baby gators? Oh my goodness. I saw baby gators (not that small though) in Florida and they slept all over each other like my cats do. Cutest thing ever. I want to snuggle that lion baby. What an awesome experience!
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B November 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

This place looks amazing and I must go!

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Camels & Chocolate
Twitter: lunaticatlarge
December 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm

CAMEL! Also, that snake shot is terrifying. Tennessee has a park like this, and Wine Country has a full-on safari experience (rhinos, giraffes, antelope, buffalo and more!).
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