A Stingray Bit My Nipple: Animals Gone Wild

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"In Nepal's Royal Chitwan National Park, I was invited to bathe with an elephant in the river in front of my guesthouse. The owner told me to grab the elephant's ears. 'Step on its trunk and it'll flip you onto its back,' he said. I placed one trembling foot on its trunk. Next thing I knew, my crotch was smothering the elephant's face!" Anna Wexler, Cambridge, Mass.
"In Panama, while driving from Panama City to the coast, my wife and I crossed paths with a three-toed sloth. As we watched it slowly make progress, we opted to give the Muppet-like creature a hand. After cautiously carrying the sloth across the highway, we said our good-byes and continued our drive looking for wildlife on the Pan-American Highway." Jacob Jones, Poulsbo, Wash.
"On a recent cruise to Grand Cayman, we went to Stingray City. As the stingrays swarmed around us, our guide explained how tame they are and offered to lift one so that we could pet it. We laughed at the smile of the stingray as we took photos. I suppose it had enough of our attention, or I snapped one too many pictures, because it spit salt water right in my face." Susan Dodder, Hattiesburg, Miss.
"Sailing around Panama's San Blas archipelago, I was approached by Kuna Indians in canoes. They had a 50-pound sea turtle, which they hoped to sell as food. We agreed on $20 and transferred the turtle to my dinghy. When they were gone, I drew a heart on the turtle's back—it was Valentine's Day—along with my name and number, and released it." Sam Leming, Indianapolis, Ind.
"The giraffes we encountered at a Kenyan reserve will eat from your hand, but if you put a nugget of food in your mouth, they'll take it from there, too. My grandson Andrew was eager to give it a try—and he got the best kiss of all." Aileen Saunders, College Place, Wash.
"In South Africa, I went on several game drives. This one impala was quite excited to see Jacob, one of my companions. 'Get it off me!' he yelled. Our group was laughing so hard we couldn't help him. Besides, the impala clearly wasn't going to hurt him. So we kept asking, 'What kind of cologne are you wearing, Jacob?'" Sheila Siegel, Belleville, Ill.
"On a cruise from Tahiti, my wife insisted I allow a man to dangle fish over me to feed the stingrays. When I got next to the man with the fish, a stingray latched onto my nipple. The ship's doctor mentioned that the underside of a female ray is white, and maybe when the male saw my belly, he tried to mate with me instead." Richard A. Wood, Las Vegas, Nev.
"I recently went to a sailing school in St. Croix with my husband and a friend. One day we went to visit the beer-drinking pigs we'd seen advertised. We found the bar, but a sign said the pigs were refusing to drink the beer. I opened a beer—and a pig got up and grabbed the can out of my hand! It gulped the beer down in a few seconds." Shirley Weidenhamer, Venice, Fla.
"Before I left on a Gate 1 trip to Peru, my friend Janis warned me to be careful around any llamas. 'I've heard they spit on you,' she said. At a farm near Cuzco, I had no trouble with the llamas. A vicuña, however, bit me and tried to give me a good thrashing with his hooves. I'd rather be spit on if I had to choose between the two." Marlene Jackson, Columbus, Ind.
"I came across a man with his camel near Petra, Jordan. He pointed at the soda bottle I was holding, so I gave it to him. He took a drink, then gave the rest to his camel, which held the bottle in its mouth and finished every last drop! I was ready to get a beer for the camel's next trick, but the man said that his camel doesn't drink on the job." Adam Tennen, Scottsdale, Ariz.
"While my fiancée and I were at a park in Bandon, Ore., I got to spend some one-on-one time with a llama. I was stroking his neck, and he seemed to be enjoying it, when—wham! I was covered with the most vile-smelling vomit I've ever known. It was in my hair, on my clothes, in my mouth, and up my nose. To this day I suffer from llamaphobia." Richard Kyle, Bellevue, Wash.

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