Attacked by a Vulture on Conan Show
It's National Wildlife Week, the annual celebration of wild animals hosted by the National Wildlife Federation. As part of the week's activities, I did an appearance on The Conan O'Brien Show with some extraordinary wildlife.
I had a baby brown bear (adorable!), a juvenile alligator (cool!) and a 14-foot albino Burmese python that got a little too close for comfort with Conan. But the real show-stealer was Benson, the Cape vulture.
When you watch the clip below, you'll see how chaotic the segment got when the vulture was released! Yes, he did bite me twice during the segment, in his eageness to get more raw meat. Let me tell you, getting bitten by a hungry vulture is not fun (but comes with the territory of being an animal handler).
Here's a little more information about these amazing animals.
--Historically found in Europe, Asia and N. America but wiped out of much of its former range.
--Grizzly bear is the N. American subspecies found in Alaska, Canada and parts of the American West.
--Protected as a Threatened Species.
--Feeds on salmon, deer, moose but also fruit, grasses and insects.
--Sleep away winter in a torpor (not a real hibernator because they periodically wake up).
EXTRAORDINARY FACT: Grizzlies are largest land carnivore in U.S. Males can get to be 600 lbs (females about half that) and can live for 25 years.
--Large reptile native to American south, found only in U.S.
--Can grow to 13-14 feet long.
--Feeds on fish, turtles, snakes, birds and mammals.
--Mothers protect the nest and babies.
--Powerful bite force – 2000 lbs, the equivalent of a pickup truck.
EXTRAORDINARY FACT: Alligators are an Endangered Species success story – once almost completely wiped out, now very common because of strong protection laws.
BURMESE PYTHON (ALBINO)
--Large snake native to Southeast Asia.
--This individual is albino – lacking pigmentation – and wouldn’t survive in the wild because they are too easy for predators to spot.
--Can grow to over 20 feet long and weigh 200 lbs.
--Kills prey by constriction and eat mammals and birds.
EXTRAORDINARY FACT: Escaped captive Burmese pythons have become established in Everglades as an invasive exotic species and have been known to eat alligators (or try to eat them then explode).
--Huge vulture native to southern Africa, can weigh 24 lbs (that’s massive for a bird).
--Listed as a Vulnerable Species – declining as predators decline, collision with power lines, poisoning by farmers, etc.
--Nest on cliffs in colonies and only has one chick per pair.
--Carrion eaters – feed on dead animals.
--Cape vultures can live to be over 30 years old.
EXTRAORDINRY FACT: Featherless heads stay cleaner when they are sticking them into rotting carcasses.