Our first animal today, children, is the Pan troglodyte, commonly referred to as the Chimpanzee. I nailed this bad boy with a Mossberg 500 Tactical Pump Shotgun. Right out of the tree it was perched in. You can still see the surprised look on its face. Kids, push in a little closer so you can see it. Well, there’s the nose.
Chimpanzees reside in the forests and savannahs of Central and West Africa and are split up into four subspecies. This one we have here is—well, was—the Nigerian-Cameroon chimp, also known as the robust chimpanzee. No match for the Mossberg, though, let me tell you. You gotta have really big, thick hands to deal with the action on one of those. Good thing that’s genetic.
Next we have the Loxodonta africana, or the African bush elephant. Elephants belong to the family Elephantidae, the sole remaining family within the order Proboscidea—and it looks like they just got thinner by one. Right, kids?
These guys have great memories. If you take an elephant to a Yankee game, or pat him on the back every so often and say, “Nice job,” I guarantee you, he’d never forget it. Or even just a game of catch. I guess that’s why we humans relate to them so much. You can tell how smart they are by their huge heads, which contain big brains. Or, contained, I guess. Yeah, just try to step carefully.
I bet you can recognize this next one. Well, sure, but the body shape is still there. This is Panthera leo, the lion. King of the jungle! I remember the first time I saw a lion up close. I was nine years old, and my dad took me to the Bronx Zoo. I was so excited, since I didn’t always get to do things like that with my dad, what with him being so busy making deals. We walked around the zoo all morning, and even though we hadn’t had lunch, he bought me a cotton candy. When we got to the lion cages, he took me right up to the bars and told me to wait right there. He said this lady was just going to take him on a tour of the butterfly enclosure. I waited right there. The sun started to set. It was chilly. I thought about taking off my tie and using it as a scarf. Finally my dad came back. His hair was all messed up, and he wasn’t wearing his overcoat. He looked down at me with those steely eyes of his, and he asked me what I was still doing by the lion cages. I told him he asked me to stay there, and then he slapped me across the face and said, “Why don’t you think for yourself for once?” Dad was always teaching me important lessons like that.
Anyway, that was a long time ago. I’m not afraid of lions like I was when I was little. Now I’m a big man. And when I came up on this sucker with my AR-15, he didn’t even know what hit him. Look at those paws. Huge claws. Not to worry, kids. He’s no danger to us anymore.
And finally we have the Equus quagga, or the plains zebra. I’ve always admired zebras. They seem gentle and elegant, and not at all stupid or gay, like some people think. Zebras encounter a lot of predators out on the plains, and though they’re not very fast, they still manage to out-maneuver the kings of the jungle, because they know where they need to be and how to get there.
I sometimes wonder whether zebras don’t wish they were cheetahs from time to time. Then they’d be the fastest things out there. No one could get them. And then whenever they felt scared or threatened, they could run and run and run, run until they found themselves in someplace completely new, where no one knows who they are, where they come from, or what foreign governments they may have spoken to.
Anyway, that’s all the time we have for today, children. Remember to go to our website for more fascinating animal facts, as well as our new online store, where we offer a wide variety of adventure gear and semi-automatic weapons.
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Michael Bleicher and Andy Newton are above-average in height and know the harmony parts to most Simon & Garfunkel songs. Andy is an editor in New York City and Michael is a copyright attorney in Washington, D.C.