Not The Touching Animal Story You Were Expecting

, , , , , , | Right | May 27, 2019

(I enter the butterfly house at the zoo with my husband, toddler, and baby. There are only a few groups of people inside, so it is quite quiet. Near the entrance is a mother talking to her son, who is about five years old. He has apparently just touched a butterfly.)

Mother: “You can’t touch them. It’s going to die now.”

Boy: *no reaction*

Mother: “Don’t touch the butterflies.”

(They slowly go through the exhibit with another woman and small girl, and we follow slowly behind. Near the exit, the mother and other woman are chatting with each other while looking at their phones. The zookeeper is facing the other way, talking to another visitor. The children are squatting next to a garden bed. The boy picks up a stick and, holding it like a baseball bat, takes a swipe at a butterfly. Thankfully, he misses. The mother takes no notice, and the keeper hasn’t seen it. I stand a few meters away, staring at the boy, waiting for him to do it again. A couple of butterflies pass near him and he starts thrashing the stick around.)

Me: “HEY! DON’T HIT THE BUTTERFLIES WITH A STICK!”

(Everyone turned to look and the mother hustled her son out, looking annoyed. I guess violently attacking butterflies is okay so long as you don’t touch them.)

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