Odd jobs

Looking at an LA Times story, I was struck by some of the oddest sentences I’ve read recently. But that’s nothing compared to my perplexity when considering the mechanics of needing “a keeper’s guiding hand to get their groove on.” Other than that, the story seems nearly human.

Sumatran rhinos also need long, regular wallows in gooey mud unsullied by their own waste to feel good, a pleasure they don’t often get at zoos, Riyanto said. Most of those locked up for captive breeding live close to each other, “separated only by bars.”

“And they don’t like it,” he said. “They don’t like to see each other. They get bored. They don’t even have any desire to reproduce, no sex drive.”

TO be in shape to mate, a male rhino also needs satisfying meals, something more to his taste than bales of zoo hay. Even with the right diet, young males often need a keeper’s guiding hand to get their groove on. The odds of a successful union improve if the female doesn’t inflict serious wounds with her long, razor-sharp canines, Riyanto said.

In the forest, a Sumatran male rhino goes looking for a female when he senses she is in heat, which occurs roughly every three weeks. Zoo rhinos often suffered serious injuries until experts figured out when it was safe to nudge them toward mating, Riyanto said.

“If the timing is bad, they fight when they meet. They might even kill each other,” said Riyanto, who has seen a female chomp a deep gash 8 inches long in a pushy male. “Even if the timing is right, they still have rituals. The female is always looking for a good male. She will persuade the male to fight. If the male is strong enough, he will chase her.” And only then does she give in to his advances.