Monday, May 18, 2015
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Well Lemurs and Cavies and Parottlets and Australian Singing Dogs, but anyone who knows my household realizes this is tame (no pun intended) compared to what has come through our backyard and den over the years. So when my DH announced that our plans for Sunday afternoon included a nice 45 minute drive south to a small town (population 27) for an exotic animal auction I was wary - needless to say.
To give you some perspective here, I have had the luxury of celebrating my wedding anniversary each August in Daytona Beach, FL home of Harley Davidson, NASCAR, and the National Reptile Exposition. If that doesn't say "I love you", I can't image what else one could expect.
Anyhoo - I was assured no cages, boxes, or purchases were involved during yesterday's trip. This was strictly for the curiosity of it. After all, who in the Hell would have thought that every 3 months an exotic animal auction would be held in our neck of the woods. And, even more amazing than that was - how in the dickens had that been going on and my DH not know about it until now. Thank God for small favors. But I digress.
We drove up to a nondescript lot around a white concrete and wood building. The first hint was the small sign that said "Exotic Animal Auction" on the side of the road. The rest of the signage was a combination of black stencil work and that commissioned by the Chick Fil A cows. The pickup trucks with coon dog boxes, vehicles with NASCAR stickers, and old SUVs gave me some idea of the folks attending.
As we made our way in, I had no fear of the exotic animals, it was the local species I found both more scary and more entertaining. The "auction house" was a small room which wooden bleachers lining two walls, one wall with chairs, and a fourth with the auctioneer. In the middle were tables covered with assorted boxes, cages, carriers, and tubs of critters. From our view from the top row of the bleachers I fully expected someone to clear the floor at anytime and start taking wages for a cock fight.
The room filled and the assortment of morbidly obese and stick thin folks probably evened the mean weight out, with maybe the obese having a slight edge. There seemed to be no middle ground. We always questioned where the crowd of folks who only came out on Sunday nights and who looked even a bit different than the rest of the "normal" Walmart shoppers came from. Well here they were - alive and in color.
The auction started with produce that was sold by the bag - onions, apples, squash, and sweet potatoes. Then they moved onto eggs. They described each carton of eggs - packed by the dozen. They were Guinea, Pheasant, Red and Gold Pheasant, and other kinds I was unfamiliar with. My DH and I were amazed at the prices these eggs were going for. Who would pay $12 for a dozen Pheasant eggs, how good could they be? Then it dawned on us - these were eggs for breeders. Yep, we were out of our element.
Then they moved to the animals. There were cages of parakeets, doves, and parrotlets. There were 5 small containers of mice, 2 Prairie Dogs, a Chinchilla, and 3 bags of huge Koi. Looking around the room I was beginning to wonder if I had it all wrong - maybe the eggs were for breeding and the rest of it was for consumption.
By the end of day, one man, thinner than Jack Sprat missing a front tooth, managed to buy 2 water turtles, 1 dove, 3 goats, and a Lemur. Of course this was in addition to a bag of onions and 2 dozen Guinea eggs.
An obese middle aged lady sitting on the first row, whose tank top showed her fully tattooed back and her rolled up jeans made sure we did not miss the flowers tattooed on her leg, bought 2 dozen eggs and 3 bags of tomatoes but was not going to pay a dime over $850 for one of the Lemurs.
After the cages and assorted boxes on top of the tables had been sold, they started pulling out crates from beneath the tables. This is when I feared it would get interesting. I did not know whether to expect Siamese cats and lop eared bunnies or baby Panthers, Emus, Llamas and an Ocelot.
Before it was all over, in addition to the birds and fish and mammals I mentioned earlier they had sold 6 tortoises, 1 cavie, yellow eared sliders, a pot bellied pig, a tub of yellow rat snakes, a baby albino king snake, and 8 goats. No one was willing to pay enough for one of the Great Dane puppies or the Australian Singing dogs - all who went back home with their sellers.
We left after the "exotic" part. Next they were moving outside for the household and farm equipment sale.
Was it interesting? Of course. I saw a fat tattooed lady, a singing dog, and a skinny man with 3 goats, 2 turtles and a dove. The last time I observed that combination, I was 7 and they still had the side show at the county fair.