This funny-but-frightening video shared by an animal adventure park worker shows him tapping wild animals on the nose as part of a trust-building exercise.
James Smith, 35, from Sullivan, Missouri state, USA said it took him a lot of trust-building to “boop” animals from the Wild Animal Adventure zoo on the “snoot”.
After spending 18 years getting close with the animals, he has now revealed that the rather odd practice feels like “winning the lottery every day”.
James told Newsflash: “The feeling is really hard to explain. Closest I can get to it is to imagine the feeling you were gay doing the absolute best thing ever.
“Like eating your favourite ice cream or doing something you’ve always dreamed of doing.”
But he also revealed that he had dodged several dangerous situations over the years, including one time when he almost lost a limb.
He said: “I’ve been in a couple of situations that you could deem dangerous I guess.
“Fed a close call with a hyena that resulted in me losing use of my arm and hand for about a week.
“But I was back in the enclosure the next day, wrestling and playing with them.
“I’ve had close calls with some venomous snakes and some large constrictors as well.”
The 35-year-old zookeeper explained that he finds passion in what he does because he loves animals and enjoys working with them on a daily basis.
Despite many critics claiming otherwise, he reportedly finds zoos and animal educational facilities useful for future generations.
He said: “If we don’t have facilities like the one I work future generations won’t have these amazing animals to see unless in a book or on a computer.
“Until mankind can leave nature alone and stop poaching and destroying the environment and planet, zoos will be needed.”
Smith explained that gaining animals’ trust depends on the individual and how much time and patience a person is willing to dedicate to befriend them.
He reportedly finds birds the hardest animals to approach, along with servals and caracals.
He said: “As far as knowing, if an animal is going to attack or be comfortable around you, it’s all in the body language for the most part.
“As long as you know what to look for and what to keep an eye out for you should be good.
“But they are wild animals so there’s always that chance that things could go wrong and if you don’t think they can’t or won’t, you are in denial.”
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: William McGee, Agency: Newsflash
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