Big Cats with Big Teeth

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, August 25, 2006

I've always loved big cats, lions and tigers in particular, so the chance to get close enough to smell the cat food with the latter was a chance I could not pass up.

The so called Tiger Temple or Wat Pa Luangta Maha Bua Yannasampanno Forest Monastery (we'll stick with Tiger Temple) is about a 45 minute drive outside of Kanchanaburi where the temple here contains 17 resident tigers which were either born here or brought by local people after their mothers were killed by poachers. Since the tigers have been raised from a young age or from birth by the monks the tigers are very tame and will let people stroke them and even let the monk put his fingers inside their mouths.

Despite such tameness there is a sign at the temple which states that no bright/warm colors should be worn when with the tigers as I looked down at my bright orange t-shirt. Borrowing a white shirt from the friendly sangtaew driver who brought me here I was soon face to face with the big moggys.

At first people were nervous around them but soon relaxed with more time but as soon as one of them growled or yawned and showed their huge teeth people were soon alert again no matter how tame they are.

The tiger's fur is much rougher than I thought not the silky smooth of most domestic cats even though they often act like them wanting their heads rubbed by the monk and other helpers and lying on their backs enjoying the sun, although I'm sure none of them around answer to the name tiddles.

With the tigers only out in a quarry like area during the afternoon we got to walk them back which is a great feeling walking beside a huge tiger as it plods along although one guy got an extra souvenir when one of the tigers stopped for a leak over his flip flops.
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