Alcohol and animals, much like tequila and single malt scotch rarely mix well. It’s the reason that many zoos don’t sell alcoholic beverages during normal business hours. After all, you never know what a drunk person or an animal will do: they are both patently unpredictable creatures.
This story is about the situation that can arise when one mixes booze with zoos. It’s the tale of one drunken Brazilian man who wanted to get a little too close to nature…
Drunken Day at the Zoo
Living in Sao Paulo, Brazil and working as a mechanic was thirsty work and Joao was a hard-working man who deserved a break now and then. It was on his day off that he and a few good friends decided to take a trip to the Sorocaba Zoo, and they decided to have a few drinks before hand.
But a few drinks, as it often does, turned into a few too many before too long. Joao and his friends were making their way towards the primate area when he got an interesting, and terrible idea. He wanted to see the monkeys up close for once and figured the best way to do that was to climb over the fence and get right in their faces…
Joao climbed over the fence and hopped down. Then he pulled off his shirt, for whatever reason, and began to make his way towards the animals. Meanwhile, tourists at the popular zoo began to take photos and videos of the crazy Brazilian attempting this asinine undertaking.
The animals that the mechanic was so excited to meet up close, were Spider Monkeys: arboreal primates with long prehensile tails, spindly fingers, and unknown to the drunk daredevil, sour dispositions. Joao had no idea that monkeys are territorial, but he would find it out, as very shortly…
As Joao Leite Dos Santos swam towards the primates and saw them reaching out to him from the side of their moat, he must have been thinking to himself, “Man, I’m about to meet and commune with actual monkeys.” The monkeys however, likely had a very different idea of what was about to happen.
The animals grabbed hold of him and pulled him closer to them. It was at this very moment that Mr. Dos Santos realized that this might not have been such a good idea after all. Unfortunately for him, it was too late to back out, and even if he wanted to, he’d look ridiculous if he did. His beer bravery urged him further in…
Bites and Scratches
The animals, who were not happy with the drunken mechanic invading their personal space, scratched and bit at his arms. They pulled him further into their grip and started biting his shoulders as well. The spider monkeys weren’t about to let him leave…so he just moved forward.
Rather than turning back, Dos Santos moved himself further and further into the fray. He let them pull him towards them. At this point, the biting, scratching, yanking monkeys were starting to wear down his buzz. As his sober brain began to emerge, pain came back to him. Then, as he came to this realization, the monkey mob moved in…
Loao Dos Santos was mobbed by at least six spider monkeys now and was screaming in pain as they sank their vicious teeth into his flesh. One went for his wrist, another bit hard into his shoulder, his elbow, and all of them were clawing at his skin and his face. He needed to get out, but he was being overwhelmed.
Sensing, probably by the six pairs of teeth and claws raking at his skin, Dos Santos began to pull away with all his might. The monkeys were strong but he knew that if he stayed there, they’d tear him apart. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, he yanked himself free and fell into the water…
Bleeding, in pain, and no longer even the slightest bit drunk, Loao got to his feet and waded back across the pool. Above him, his friends stood amongst a slew of onlookers, their faces all showing a mix of amusement and a little bit of fear. Some of them reached down into the water and grabbed hold of his belt.
Mr. Dos Santos was then hoisted by his belt over the enclosure fence and plopped onto the ground. He lay there, exhausted and bleeding, for several minutes, before he realized that the puddle of crimson liquid now pooling beneath his right arm might indicate a more serious wound than he previously believed he might have sustained…
Come to Collect
Zoo workers came over to him to help him staunch his bleeding arm before calling paramedics. He was taken to Sorocaba hospital for treatment but despite having sustained a number of severe bites and scratches, was otherwise fine. Though he was a bit embarrassed and might face criminal charges for the stunt.
A Drunkard’s Rationale
When asked why he had gone down into the enclosure in the first place, Loao told the media that he just wanted to “play” with the monkeys. He also explained that he’d jumped into the pool because he was hot and wanted to cool down. Of course, Loao Leite Dos Santos wasn’t the only idiot to clamber into cages in recent years…
In most cases, zoo patrons understand that feeding the animals, especially some of the larger, more dangerous ones, is strictly prohibited by zoo rules. A few years ago though, the Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc was closed following an incident where a woman decided to ignore the signs next to a rather well-known and ferocious predator.
Zoos and Booze
As was the case with Loao Leite Dos Santos, it was the potentially lethal combination of alcohol and animals that was the ultimate culprit in this situation. A 47-year-old woman, addled by alcohol, decided to try her hand (pun, very intended) at feeding two of the largest, most fearsome predators in the world, asiatic black bears…
The inebriated woman nearly lost a thumb and a forefinger, and very nearly two of her other fingers, while attempting to feed the two large carnivores by hand. She pushed her hand through the bars of the enclosure and one of the bears got hold. Oddly enough, it wasn’t until the animal got hold that her boyfriend jumped in to help her.
The woman’s boyfriend went to pry the ursine assailant’s mouth off of his beloved’s fingers but was caught in the jaws as well. He was bitten hard but luckily didn’t lose any fingers. The woman’s 3-year-old granddaughter, who was with them at the zoo that day, was unharmed. Thankfully the bears will not be euthanized as it was the woman’s fault…
God of Destruction
Our final story takes place at a zoo in India, where good friends Prakesh Tiwari and Suresh Rai found themselves too drunk to function. The two men had drunken themselves into such a state that they believed a tiger at the zoo, named Shiva incidentally, was actually the Hindu god of destruction in an alternate form.
They were so enamored by the beautiful beast, that they decided to pay homage to Shiva by buying a floral arrangement to place around the tiger’s neck. Obviously this was a better idea at the time than in retrospect. They jumped the fence to the tiger’s abode, and Shiva attacked, killing Tiwari in the process. God of Destruction indeed.