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Interview With Jack Hanna

Aired December 30, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight it a zoo in here literally. The one, the only Jack Hanna is back with a truck load of amazing animals. Some we have never seen before. You never know what can happen when he stops by except guaranteed craziness. Jack Hanna and his furry, feathered friends for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
2003 is upon us indeed had you watch the Rose Bowl Parade. But the fifth year in a row Jack Hanna will be in that parade. On the rain bird float that float wins best float often. Jack Hanna is in the tenth season of hosting one of America's great syndicated shows "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures" it's the one syndicated animal show seen in 67 countries. And he, of course, is the director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo. And this is his ump-tenth appearance on LARRY KING LIVE.

Happy New Year and thank you very much for coming. Another array of animals.

Do you ever get tired of animals?

JACK HANNA, DIR. EMERITUS, COLUMBUS ZOO: No, I don't, Larry. People ask me that question quite a bit and I can't wait to get home and see my dogs or cats or whatever it might be.

KING: What is your fascination with those who do not communicate with you by voice?

HANNA: I just think mankind since time has been passed with animals, since the beginning of earth. I just find that animals give unconditional love, unforgiving love. They don't really ask much in return. The major thing is people say sometimes when the genocide happened in Rwanda, people say those people are like animals. I said, no, you're wrong. Animals don't kill their own kind. They don't waste food. They don't take of their mates or the old. So if you look at the animal world you can learn a lot from it.

KING: Mark Twain said if not for the animals, god should get rid of the earth. For animals, he should keep it.

HANNA: He was exactly right.

KING: Jack Hanna with us, he always brings in an array of animals and we always learn a lot when he does. And our first animal, up and coming, the ocelot.

HANNA: This animal is a unique animal. It really is from the stand point it's classify the as a small cat and the animal was literally almost hunted to extinction for its coat. Because one ocelot coat took about 15 to 20 of these animals. As you can imagine what happened to it. Now, the rule of thumb basically is every spotted cat in the world is just about on the endangered species list. Every spotted in cat, tigers, leopards, ocelots, jaguars. So I can go on and on. The lion doesn't have a spotted coat or for example the cougar. So they're not endangered. Some are threatened.

KING: How big does he get?

HANNA: This animal gets to be about 40 to 50 pounds. You can see the gorgeous coat. They live a lot of their life in trees. They hunt in trees, eat like monkeys and bird

KING: Do they bother humans?

HANNA: No, this animal never bothers human, what so ever. It got great teeth, the teeth are pretty sharp.

KING: Why put your hand so close to him?

HANNA: Because I trust the people that brought this animal, Steve and everybody. But the animal will eat monkey birds and birds and are mainly nocturnal so you would never see or hear this animal hunting. To film them -- we have a difficult time filming this animal in the wild. The last thing, this animal used to be a great deal of pet traded back in the '60s and '70s and it's now been outlawed. Because they almost took this animal out of the wild. They were selling this thing right and left in pet shops all over the country back in the '60s.

KING: Not a pet.

HANNA: No, they are not a pet. This animal -- if you have a baby in the house, you wouldn't want this animal in there.

KING: No way!

HANNA: This ocelot from Central and South America. A beautiful animal.

KING: Now what do we have arriving upside down?

HANNA: This is Anita Jackson is a -- what do you think that is? A sloth.

KING: A sloth in it sounds like you're lisping. Is that a sloth?

HANNA: It's a two-toed sloth. And what's neat, Larry, you get a two-toed sloth and a three-toed sloth. Now, there are a lot of neat facts about a sloth. No. 1 the sloth can live its entire life, I don't think we have ever had a sloth on the show before by the way, the sloth can live it's entire life in three or four trees. Never come down -- never leave those trees. The people say why are they so slow? Because they're like a koala, they eat leaves. Therefore there is not much nourishment. So, they're very slow.

KING: They live looking up?

HANNA: Yes, they do everything looking up. Breeding, whatever it may be, except going the bathroom it may be going down.

KING: Hey, sloth.

HANNA: They go down on the ground, Larry, once a week to go to the bathroom. Now you may say why is that. Because an animal to go to the bathroom in the tree tops, the predators like jaguars, harpy eagles...

KING: Would know they were there.

HANNA: Exactly so they sneak down...

KING: Once a week?

HANNA: Once a week, yes. So...

KING: Are there a lot of sloth?

HANNA: Well there are -- there are --

KING: Are there a lot of sloths?

HANNA: They're protected in many areas. This animal, again, when we're filming it in the wild it moves so slow that algae actually grows on it. So, it looks like a big blob of moss. Because algae just grows on it. They still kill this animal, Larry, for -- when we were in the Andes, they actually had sloth hats and sloth gloves, so they still kill the animal for it's fur and everything. But the animal...

KING: They live a long time?

HANNA: They can live, you know, 10, 15 years in the wild. And again there is a giant sloth that was prehistoric, weighed over 500 pounds. But only the two-toed and three-toed sloths are here today. And they like to go around at night time. But you can see how course that hair is...

KING: Great animal.

HANNA: Beautiful animal.

KING: Thank you, sloth. What do we have next? Is it the falcon?

HANNA: We have the falcon.

KING: Here he comes.

HANNA: Is this the peregrine. This is the peregrine. What you're seeing here, we have never had one of these before. And what you are doing here, Larry, is the fastest bird -- sorry, the fastest animal in the world.

KING: It's an animal?

HANNA: Yes, an animal. Yes a obviously of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. Out of all the animals in the world this is the fastest. Two hundred and twenty miles an hour. Two hundred and twenty miles per hour.

KING: Wins the Indianapolis.

HANNA: Exactly. That's what people need to think of the cars and how fast this bird can actually go. Now if you look the bird's wings, there, it's almost like stealth bombers. We designed are bombers and planes after birds, just like it.

KING: But, is he -- aren't you treating him poorly after keeping him in captivity? Doesn't he want to fly away?

HANNA: See a lot of birds are trained to fly, this bird was injured. One his wings are broken. A lot of these birds can't fly. Now, a friend of mine has these birds and clears the runways of fighter jets and a lot of air strips in this country from like geese. They take these birds and actually go out there and these birds will keep all those birds off the runways.

KING: He also very appears intent and...

HANNA: This bird is adapted very well to our environment. This bird is nesting in downtown Chicago, New York City, Columbus, Ohio, L.A. this bird is nesting in all -- by the a protected species, by the way.

KING: You couldn't see it, could you going by at 220?

HANNA: No, you won't believe what happened to me. I was in Florida. The bird -- he actually had the bird fly between my leg at 220 miles an hour. Now you open up you legs someday and have bird fly between them at 220 miles an hour.

KING: Good luck to you, Charlie. I'm Jewish are you out of your mind. I'm up on the roof looking down at you doing this.

HANNA: Never again will I do it. It was like a bullet going between my legs. Of course I held you know what so nothing would happen. I'll tell you that. It's unbelievable.

KING: This show has taken a new turn. We now meet my favorite, the lemur.

HANNA: This is the lemur.

KING: This is not Larry though?

HANNA: No, this is not Larry.

KING: Where is Larry the lemur. The one (UNINTELLIGIBLE). (CROSSTALK)

HANNA: This is -- this is -- exactly this black and white rough lemur. What you had was a ring-tailed lemur.

KING: That's Larry, he is in Columbus, right?

HANNA: This is Larry II. Call this Larry II.

KING: Larry II.

HANNA: This is a white rough lemur. Now remember, Larry, these are only from Madagascar -- the island of Madagascar off the coast of East Africa. And this animal if you look at the hands, it is a pre- simian. This animal is pre-monkey.

KING: What does that mean?

HANNA; It is pre-monkey and pre-ape. Meaning that this older than monkeys or apes. Been around for millions of years. The lemur, Larry is protected...

KING: Oh, feels nice.

This lemur is protected endangered. There is 30 of species lemur left. There used to be many more than that. They predict by the next 15 or 20 years, 15 of those 30 lemurs will be gone forever. So we really have to do something about it.

KING: Okay, Larry II, live long and well. There he goes, Larry II.

HANNA: That tail they use for locating their mates in the wild.

KING: We'll going to close out this segment with oh, my, good gracious. Oh, sure. Oh, yes.

HANNA: I think I going to just let him...

KING: I think we let him do whatever he wants.

HANNA: You come over here next to me. Hold...

KING: He goes where he -- I don't want to touch him.

HANNA: I know you did an interview with the crocodile hunter once. I know that.

KING: He's wild.

HANNA: But I'm not crazy. This is an alligator here. The alligator is an animal, one of the most prehistoric that the Jacksons raised. Now this animal -- different the crocodile. The crocodile usually opens two jaws, has a much narrow snout, and much more aggressive. I wouldn't be putting a crocodile up here right now. This animal also... KING: Where are they found?

HANNA: Good question. Now they're found all over North America and the even caiman alligator in South America. But remember something the alligator was also on the verge of extinction in the 1960s, they were on the endangered species list, almost gone forever. And now it's come back so well, there are tens of thousands of them so the endangered species act does work. And now they actually hunt the alligator for food and as well as for its leather.

KING: Do they make a sound?

HANNA: They go -- hear that? That's a mating sound. If you ever hear that, go around it. Because you'll get eaten.

KING: Eaten?

HANNA: Yes, because that is a breeding call

KING: Do they live in water?

HANNA: Yes, they live in the water.

KING: What is it like up here for him on the desk?

HANNA: He doesn't like -- they live on to. No.

KING: What do you think he's thinking about?

HANNA: Well, I'm just watching him because when he moves, Larry, it is like lightning.

KING: Well, thanks. OK, we're going break now and we'll come back with more of Jack Hanna and -- oh, you got a baby too.

HANNA: You can hold this one.

KING: No, I'm ain't going hold him because he'll be mad at somebody holding that baby.

HANNA: That's a good point.

KING: If he sees me holding it and over we go. And it is Jack Hanna live.

We'll be back with more. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with my man Jack Hanna. One of America's most beloved naturalist. The host the TV series "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures," now in it's 10 season. No. 1 animal show, 67 counties. He'll be in the Rose Bowl parade as we approach the new year. We hope the kids are enjoying this as well. And we start segment two with the spider monkey. Is it a spider or a monkey? It's a monkey. HANNA: No. No. This is kind of like -- they call it a spider monkey because you see the long -- like the spider. The story about this animal. The Jacksons found this -- someone found this animal in the dumpster. They actually had it as a pet and put it in the dumpster. It was almost gone and the Jacksons took it and now look at him. Gets to go see school kids and be educated an animal, Larry...


KING: Is this the one I practiced on? Hey. Hey. Hey.

HANNA: But this Larry -- this animal -- people think all the time, they ask me, boy, in the Jacksons, would this animal make a good pet and the answer is, no you don't have a monkey's pet. The answer is no, you don't ever have a monkey as pet. No. 1 they can tear your place apart. No. 2 they bite and No. 3 they can carry diseases. So you leave that to professional people that know what they're doing.

But this animal -- his legs are deformed and stuff because the animal was left to die in the dumpster. It is a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) monkey. See the tail there, Larry, that's like a fifth arm or a fifth leg. They spend their entire life -- I raise these in Tennessee for the zoological park in Knoxville.

And we had one named Jockomo (ph) and he just -- just lived on the farm outside everything else, and we didn't have him inside what so ever. But they're an animal that lives in troops, they don't live just by themselves. There is a golden spider monkey, the black spider monkey and they're an animal that is intelligent wise -- they are very intelligent as well. They're fruit eaters, by the way. They eat insects and bugs and those types of things.

KING: They like to eat.

HANNA: Yes, they have a good home now in the zoo thanks to you. I'll tell you that.

KING: Thank you, spider monkey.

HANNA: By the way, Larry, while we're talking, if you could mention, Zooto (ph) and Anita right here, several months ago, you remember, we had a tiger accident here in California. And it was found out later that the tiger, looks like it may not have bitten the kid, might have been a belt buckle that happened. So, I just wanted you to know that. Because the Jacksons are tremendous people and do a great job with their animal program.

KING: So it may have not been the tiger.

HANNA: Exactly. There was a little altercation -- so it looks like it's good.

KINGS: OK. What do we have here, a great horned owl.

HANNA: A great horned owl. Now this owl, Larry, the owl -- the owl was called the bird of silent flight. You must remember the owl species is on every continent in the world except Antarctica. The only bird in the world found on every continent in the world, the owl, except Antarctica. And they also -- that bird looks like he weighs five pounds, doesn't he?

KING: Yes.

HANNA: That bird doesn't even weigh a pound. The bird has got hollow bones and most feathers. They are very, very light.

KING: A pound?

HANNA: Exactly. Look at the talons. The talons are very, very sharp. That's why she wears a glove. If she didn't have a glove on this he would go right through her hand. So they can actually -- people think of an owl is good eyesight, which they have excellent eyesight. But their hearing, Larry -- actually they're hearing -- both their hearing is not level. One hearing hole is up here. The other down here like this. That way they can hear different areas. If there was a mouse in this room here, just a little mouse in this room here, this owl would find it in less than an hour with no sight whatsoever. They can hear that well. And of course the eyesight is incredible as well. But the owl is a bird that is protected in a lot of places and we must give the owl room...

KING: What is this, he's breathing?

HANNA: Just his breathing mechanisms.

KING: He can turn his head all the way around?

HANNA: No, someone ask me that question. He can go -- he wouldn't go all the way around because it would fall off but he can go pretty far around.

KING: So it would fall off.

HANNA: Yes. But they are beautiful animals, thanks you. I love the owl species.

KING: And now the wolf.

HANNA: The wolf.

KING: Is it the wolf?

HANNA: We'll bring the wolf on here if he'll come.

KING: You're bringing him up here?

HANNA: No, we'll put him back -- is he a nice wolf? Look at that. That's beautiful. Larry, the wolf is an animal, your friend Ted Turner in Montana and a lot of us that live in Montana this animal has come back well -- in Yellowstone for example, I think they started with 24 and now they have over 120 I understand. So, The wolf is coming back very -- I think the wolf represents what America is all about. It is what we had here, one of our great animals in the West. KING: Jack London. Could you tell me if the wolf the precursor of the dog?

HANNA: Yes. A canine. And -- but some people, again, try and take a wolf and breed it to a German shepherd and say they have a wolf. Don't do it. Because a wolf is one of the most social animals in the world. These animals live in packs.

KING: Where do they get the bad rap?

HANNA: You know what's -- little red riding hood, you may not believe that...

KING: That caused it?

HANNA: Well, that caused it? I am saying this, Larry, there is no documentation case of a wolf killing a human, that I know of. The ranchers out West have problems. Hopefully they're paid for the cattle and sheep. I am not depending on what -- a lot of my friends are ranchers out West. But the wolf is a creature that when I see it in the wild, Larry, I just get so excited. It almost like me seeing a lion or elephant in Africa. When I see a wolf in the wild out West, it gives me chills because you're seeing something, Larry, that was almost extinct in our country. Now, In Canada -- in Southern Canada they have a lot. In Idaho, up in the Glacier Park, but now the ones in Yellowstone are doing very well.

KING: What do they feed on?

HANNA: They mainly feed on and this is one of the problems.

KING: Cattle.

HANNA: As well as elk. A lot elk hunters think they're taking a lot of elk. They're doing a study if the elk population in Yellowstone is going down because of the wolf. Remember wolves hunt in packs but the wolf will take care of the sick, feed the old first, they do all of that. They're one of the most social animals, Larry, in the world. A beautiful animal. Thank you.

KING: This is an animal that never harmed a human. Before we go to break, the next one may have harmed one or two.

HANNA: There was a guy in Pittsburgh that had one of these in his basement.

KING: This is a python, a large python getting rather close to the host.

HANNA: These ladies from Moorpark College.

KING: Hey.

HANNA: Want to take his head?

KING: Where he goes I'm not. HANNA: These young ladies from Moorpark College, which is a teaching zoo there. They do a tremendous job. They're learning about the snake now. Hear him blowing, Larry.

KING: Yes, I do. I hear him.

HANNA: This is a large python, 220 teeth shaped like fish hooks.

KING: If he bit me, I don't pull away from the bite because what would happen.

HANNA: You would lose whatever he has a hold of, because he can't let go, Larry. Mother nature gave him a fish hook teeth. He has to relax his jaw muscles and then once he relaxes -- I was bitten twice, all right. It is so hard to keep your hand inside there. It is so hard to do that because -- the next time you're in the jungle and if you're bitten, remember, don't take your hand out.

KING: Are these python dangerous?

HANNA: No, in Asia, Larry...

KING: Well, he bit you twice.

HANNA: No, that's because I -- in the wild there...

KING: You blame yourself.

HANNA: Right. Most of the time I'm bitten it is my fault. In the wild, these animals have never hurt anything. They sit there for six months to eight months without eating, Larry, without every eating. They sit there and wait for the sick animal to come along, grab him, squeeze him. Every time they take a breath, he squeezes. If you take a breath like this -- they squeeze their prey and swallow him whole.

KING: OK, On that note, we'll take a break. Have your meal for the month? With that we will take a break. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Happy New Year as we approach New Year's Eve AND THE START OF 2003. Our get together with Jack Hanna usually on twice a year, always a lot of fun for adults and children. We always learn a lot, the kids have a lot of fun watching it. And the host is dreading for his life.

We -- Jack Hanna, one of America's most beloved naturalists. We now segment three, the pig-tailed what?

HANNA: Macaque.

KING: Now this is funny. I don't know why he's funny.

HANNA: A macaque in a bucket. KING: This is a monkey.

HANNA: A macaque. Right.

KING: What does he like? Pineapple. A little pineapple, macaque-y man. Hey there, baby!

HANNA: They're from Asia, Larry. This is the one that likes the cold weather. I think these are the macaques?

These are the ones you see in Asia and Japan that part of the world, Larry. And macaque is an animal that really has done -- been in a lot of research in this country. A lot of animals used in research are given to places like the Jacksons or the Columbus Zoo, whatever it might be and are treated very, very nicely.

This is one animal that was in research, I don't know what kind of research. But he's a macaque. And a lot of these macaques don't just eat fruit. They eat a lot of insects. They control a lot of insect population.

KING: They eat a lot?


KING: Is he a lefty? I guess he's lefty.

HANNA: What he's doing right now, Larry, if you notice, he's not -- he's got big pouches on each either side of his mouth there. He's storing all that food back in here. Look at his -- he's not swallowing anything, he's saving it up in there. He'll chew it up later.

KING: For what?

HANNA: Have you ever eaten something...

KING: Where do we put it?

HANNA: You put yours in your stomach. He stores his in pouches. Maybe fifteen minutes from now he's going to swallow something.

KING: I like him. I like him.

HANNA: This is an animal, here, also by the way, these things love swim. A lot of apes and monkeys and stuff they'll hate water. This animal here can swim like a fish. I had 12 of them get loose on me at the Columbia Zoo once.

KING: I like him. You see the way he is it's hard to deny evolution.

A bearded dragon? I didn't know there was such thing -- I thought dragon was fiction?

HANNA: Go off that way, if you have to. There's a girl. KING: Go ahead. Score, score!

HANNA: See the red bottom? That's a female. That means she's in heat. That's what it means. That's how the male sometimes will locate him.

This is the bearded dragon. You can put him on the table if you want to.

KING: Dragon!

HANNA: This is a bearded dragon.

KING: A bearded dragon looks like an iguana.

HANNA: Is this the one from Asia? I think it's the one from Asia, this bearded dragon. Isn't it? Australia, sorry.

KING: Are they friends, these two, the bearded dragon and the macky? Because the macky ain't leaving.


KING: Tell me about the bearded dragon.

HANNA: The bearded dragon's an animal that also eats insects, Larry. This is the cold-blooded animal meaning the fact when i say cold-blooded, this animal's temperature is the same as the outside temperature. People don't understand what cold-blooded snake, cold- blooded animal. Lizards are cold-blooded.

And you say bearded dragon only because you see the little thing under his -- looks like a little beard there. You see his defense mechanism, how he puffs out with quills. So therefore if another animal comes up and bite him or something, they don't throw them like a porcupine, but he's very, very sharp so you're not going approach him or anything. They don't have really teeth or anything, they have real powerful jaws. So that's helping them chew.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like a beard look.

HANNA: Exactly, the bearded dragon. And it's again from Australia. What's neat, Larry, is in the desert, we've been to Australia, it's very difficult to spot these animals. You can see why.

If you're walking -- look at this table here. Perfect example. If this was sand and you're out there looking for one of these you're not going to hardly ever find him. In the daylight they get in the sun, to get all warmed up and everything. But we never had one of these...

KING: Never saw one. A bearded dragon, a lot of new animals tonight.

HANNA: Yes. KING: Now we move to one of our favorites of the staff, the macaw.

HANNA: The macaw parrot. now a lot of people saw the macaw parrots. If you've been to Busch Gardens in Tampa and a lot of these parks, they have a lot of these beautiful birds.

Actually, Larry, what we're doing right now, we're doing a great job at zoological parks throughout the country and throughout the world, really, breeding these animals in a situation where we don't go back in the wild and take the animals ever anymore.

I don't know of any birds that have been sent to zoos out of the wild in the last ten years because this animal does very well. What happens is, though, Larry, the second largest smuggling we have in this country right now is the smuggling of birds, birds like this.

KING: For what purpose?

HANNA: Pets. The pet trade. Remember something, for every ten birds that come in, ten to 15 die.

KING: What do they sell for?

HANNA: These birds can sell for anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. Some of them $15,000.

KING: Do they talk?

HANNA: Yes, there's one bird in Texas that has four different languages and about 300 words. This bird has about five words and three of them are bad. So we're going to let...

KING: I don't care if he says it. It's cable.

HANNA: Right, it's cable. I hope he doesn't.

But what's -- Larry, these bird lives in the rainforest of Central and South America. And, again, no one should buy birds as a pet unless they're bred domestically.

KING: What'd you say?

HANNA: Hello.

KING: Hello?

HANNA: He's not saying much now.

Beautiful colors. You see them in South America, Larry, Central America. You need to go with me to the jungle sometime, really. I'll take you out. Get a tent.

KING: I'm a jungle kind of guy.

HANNA: You're not, but I could get you a good tent with a shower.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Good luck to you, Jack.

HANNA: Well so much for that.

KING: OK. Why don't we do a special. I go to the jungle with you and we film me in the jungle?

HANNA: Exactly.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a two-minute special. There's the jungle, good-bye, Larry.

HANNA: No, we could find guerrillas. Those guerrilla guys that head up all the guerrilla troops and so forth.

KING: But would there be laughs?

This is the slow loris.

HANNA: This is the one from Asia.

KING: Is there a fast loris?

HANNA: No, this is a slow loris.

KING: OK, just asking. It's my job.

HANNA: They're very slow. It is one of the poisonous mammals in the world.

KING: Why do you do this? OK, he's poisonous?

HANNA: Yes, he's poisonous...

KING: Meaning?

HANNA: Can she pick up the microphone here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have to actually lick their armpit before they become poisonous and then when they bite you, their bite is toxic.

HANNA: Lick their armpit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's exactly -- I've only seen him do it once.

KING: Sounds like a girl I used to know, Zelda. Also was poison.

HANNA: If he licks his armpit...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in trouble.

HANNA: Let's not do that. He also eats other little mammals, Larry. Bring him in here. Look at this. They're called the slow loris because of the way they move.

By the way, Larry, they're nocturnal. You see from those eyes that the animal comes out at nighttime. This is something like the incredible hands -- see the little hands, like suction cups. See that.

KING: Wow, he gets around.

HANNA: These animals come out at nighttime. When we're filming at night, you see all the little eye balls there, it looks like a bush baby for example in Africa. That's about the closest thing that this looks like. A bush baby.

Now is this a marsupial?


HANNA: A primate. Isn't that something? Never had one of these on.

KING: And now, a kookaburra.

HANNA: A kookaburra. And this also, Larry...

KING: What? Never had one of these?

HANNA: No. Never. This is from Australia.

Remember when you were young, you had Tarzan movies and you hear the jungle calls.

Go ahead.

HANNA: You remember that call?

KING: Yes.

HANNA: OK. That's what you had in the old Tarzan movie.

KING: That's his call?

HANNA: Go ahead, try one more time.

HANNA: Anyway, who cares?

KING: Coo, coo, coo, coo.

HANNA: This is the kookaburra from Australia. Now we film these -- they look, when they get all long -- they eat snakes. They love to eat snakes and things like that.

When you hear them in the wild, it makes your skin crawl. It's just like really eerie and stuff. It's really a neat bird.

KING: Some animals have peculiar habits, right?


KING: Why do you think he likes to eat snakes?

HANNA: I don't know. Probably likes to swallow them. Who knows? he just likes to eat snakes. It a good thing. Some birds eat snakes.

KING: Better if a lot more did. A joke.

We'll be back. Still to come, the chinchilla, the kinjaju (ph), the California desert tortoise, the Harris hawk and more on our trek through the wild with Jack Hanna. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Jack Hanna, one of America's most beloved naturalists.

It's approaching New Year's Eve for -- say good bye to 2002 and as we head toward 2003, he's going to be in the Rose Bowl Parade. His TV series now in its 10th season, seen around the world, 67 countries. The most popular animal show in syndication. Always good to have him with us.

We bring out the tegu.

HANNA: The tegu is not like a komodo -- it kind of looks like a komodo dragon. You ever seen one of those?

KING: Yes.

HANNA: Right.

KING: Seen one on the commercials for the insurance company.

HANNA: Right. Right. Right. They look like that, but the tegu is an animal that again, lives a lot of its life looking for eggs and birds.

Now, they love to eat eggs. It's what their main diet consists of. And you see the tongue there. That tongue is looking for something that's warm. Now he feels your heat over there. Just let him come toward you. He knows you're sitting there.

KING: Has he got a little blue color in him?

HANNA: Yes, exactly.

KING: Yes, there is blue.

HANNA: See there.

KING: What's he looking for, the pen or me?

HANNA: No, he's looking at you. See, he's looking up there now because he feels your heat. He can leap two feet. No, he can't. He can't leap two feet. I'm just kidding. But he does have claws, Larry. So they can go up trees pretty good. Pretty fast.

Actually, this animal can run real fast. He's just being real slow right now because it's being careful.

KING: I like the way he moves. I like his actions.

HANNA: No. I'm going to bring him back over here.

KING: Don't -- close enough.

HANNA: We'll bring him back over here, just in case.

KING: And now, the fennec fox.

HANNA: Right. Now the fennec fox -- you hold the fennec fox. This is the smallest fox in the world, Larry the fennec fox is. And they're from the Sahara Desert in the Africa. The fennec fox -- you see the big ears? People think of hearing -- yes, it does have unbelievable hearing because of the ears. But the ears are like an elephant. If you watch an elephant in Africa, they're always flapping their ears. If you go to your local zoo, you'll see the elephant. And there are a lot blood vessels behind the elephants' ear.

Just like in this animal here. When the heat of the day gets -- those blood vessels, Larry, keep the animal cool. And that's why he's got big ears, because he's a desert animal. And those -- it's like a radiator you have in your car. And that's how this animal stays cool with those big ears. But also for hearing little insects.

This animal -- nighttime hunts and looks for little insects and he hears them real well.

KING: Beautiful little animal.

HANNA: They really are. And this is full grown by the way. This is not a baby fox. A lot of people think they're just a miniature fox. It's not. There are a lot of fox species, but this is the smallest fox in the world.

KING: And now those of you who love "The Honeymooners" know the raccoon club.

HANNA: Right. And we're going..

KING: Whooo Whooo (ph), Jackie and Ed.

HANNA: The raccoon...

KING: Was a raccoon.

HANNA: The raccoon, Larry, is a unique animal from the standpoint that a lot of people -- this is from North America. And the raccoon, again, is still hunted for its coats. But they're a very mischievous animal. They're a very bright, intelligent animal from the standpoint of knowing how to get in your house. The key to everyone at home right now, especially wintertime is to make sure you don't leave your cat food out. Like a lot of people feed their cats in the garage and outside the house. If you do that, you're asking for trouble.

People call me all the time -- how do I get the raccoons out of my attic, out of my basement.

KING: Wait a minute. Where do they come from? You mean the raccoons like in New York City?

HANNA: Yes. Or right here in California. Raccoons are all over this country, everywhere.

KING: I didn't know that. You know, there's a raccoon that could come to Beverly Hills?

HANNA: You got raccoons in your house probably. Not right now, maybe, but -- if you put cat food out at your house, I bet you...

KING: I don't have a cat.

HANNA: I know, but -- well, put it out there any way. Try and find one.

KING: And then raccoons would come.

HANNA: They would, yes. And so -- I'm urge you if they don't leave the food outside -- No. 2, if you have a raccoon in your attic, use mothballs. Put mothballs up there with like rock music and a little radio.

KING: Why are they bad? Suppose...

HANNA: They make racket up there. They can tear your insulation out. I don't say they're bad. I love raccoons.

But raccoons, also Larry, are one of the animals that can carry rabies and not show it. So you got to be very careful. You do not want to have a raccoon as a pet and keep your kids away from them in the springtime. Don't go out and collect baby raccoons.

KING: But they have a beautiful face.

HANNA: Aren't they? Don't they? Look at that face.


HANNA: See it's a bandit. See it's a bandit face.

KING: The Lone Ranger!

HANNA: And they wash their food. They set up and wash their little food like this. You ever see them with a crayfish and things -- when they're eating their (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they wash their food like this. KING: That is a pretty animal.

HANNA: I love the raccoons.

KING: And now, one of our all-time favorites, the return of the toucan.

HANNA: Yes. The toucan. Here, you can toss it.

KING: Yes, I know how to do this. Hey, Touc?

HANNA: Wow, that was a good toss.

KING: Under hand toss, he got it.

Hey touc!

HANNA: You're better than me. I can't believe it.

KING: He's still got in his mouth. What's he playing tricks?

Touc? One more and he'd make the outfield for the Devil Rays.

There you go, Toucy baby, three out of three.

HANNA: Three out of three. They're a beautiful animal too, Larry. Again....

KING: Green eyes and yellow beak.

HANNA: Yes, isn't that gorgeous color? This animal, Central and South America. And they're a salt beak -- that beak, Larry, doesn't even weigh an ounce. It is so light.

KING: Looks like it can cut right through you though.

HANNA: Yes, but it doesn't at all. But they're a fruit-eater mainly. Again, Central and South America. Those grapes, by the way, when that goes in it'll come out in a half an hour. Just (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's not a seed eater. So, what I'm saying is it just squirts right out the back.

KING: So are they pets too?

HANNA: Well, some people try. But that's a very, very difficult bird to raise. I would suggest a parrot if you're going to have a pet at all -- a bird pet, you want one. Go to your local breeder..

KING: Why -- we don't know because we've never interviewed one, why is he holding that grape like that?

HANNA: I think he's just -- he's waiting to swallow -- he's got to digest -- not, digest, but swallow the ones he has there right now. He's just kind of feeling it out.

You know, a lot of times he'll squish it, Larry, to get the juice out of it first.

KING: You dropped one, Toucy.

HANNA: Here, toucy. That's pretty good. First catch.

KING: Thank you, toucan. Loved him tonight.

HANNA: Oh yes.

KING: And now, in this segment, we close it out with the red- tailed boa.

HANNA: Red-tailed boa.

KING: Is boa short for boa constrictor?

HANNA: And boa Derek. Yes.

KING: And boa -- no, no, no, let's go to constrictor.

HANNA: Right.

KING: Because we were raised that the boa constrictor kills.

HANNA: Well, no, they don't kill. Remember the python. This is a constrictor. You got the python, Larry, the anaconda and the boa constrictor. They're all constrictors.

KING: "Anaconda" was a movie.

HANNA: Exactly. You're right.

And they're found in South America. They're in the water all the time. This animal here is not in the water. The boa constrictor we find a lot in South America.

KING: Where do they get the bad rap?

HANNA; Well, because -- who knows? Because, I guess, just they live in the water and, you know, just grab out of the water.

Don't let him next to your hand.

KING: Why Jack?

HANNA: See the red tailed boa, he's got more of a red tail back, more of a red color in the back.

KING: Why are you saying not to let him near my hand?

HANNA: Because I just wouldn't let him near your hand. Because he smell the heat on you.

KING: He's a boa constrictor. He's harmless. But just don't let him near your hand. HANNA: They can get up, Larry, to about eight feet long is how long they can be. About eight feet. They're not like the python. They can get real large. A lot of kids try and have these as pets. One way you know, Larry, if someone doesn't know what they're doing what they doing with snakes -- a lot of kids will be real cool, they'll pick up a snake like this. You never, ever pick up a snake with one hand.

KING: Why on Earth would anyone have a boa constrictor as a pet?

HANNA: Well, some people do. And you always handle a snack with two hands so you don't break his back. Always remember that. If you have a pet snake, when you ever get one, just pick him up with two hands.

KING: Funny you should bring it up, I was going to get one.

OK. We're going to leave you now.

No. We'll be back and when we return, you are going to meet a ten wreck, a red tail hork, a blue-tailed skink, bugs, like scorpions, spiders and cockaroaches. Don't go away as we are doing at the present.


KING: We're back with Jack Hanna, one of our favorite folk, and we begin this segment with the chinchilla.

HANNA: Chinchilla.

KING: Why do ladies love this?

HANNA: Well, because -- we'll let you feel him here. Is he pretty good?

KING: Whoa. Look at this. Wow.

HANNA: Feel that, Larry. Just feel that. Isn't that amazing?


HANNA: The soft -- the word soft doesn't even do it justice.

KING: Chinchilla is softer than mink.

HANNA: It's the softest animal in the world, as far as this fur.

KING: Why does he keep doing that? What's he doing that? Like a helicopter prop.

HANNA: No. No. He's just sniffing. But the animal takes dust baths, Larry. They don't -- they take a dust bath. That's how they keep their coat so soft and everything. This is a chinchilla, they're an animal also that can go with very little water, Larry, these chinchillas again. KING: Are you against chinchilla furs?

HANNA: Well, you know, I think now with a lot of synthetic things we can all go to that instead of the animals, but you know, everybody has their own beliefs in what they want to do.

KING: Are they fast too?

HANNA: They're pretty fast. By the way, the chinchilla is almost extinct in the wild. We have thousands of them in captivity.

KING: And following the chinchilla, our perennial, kinkajou.

HANNA: Right, David Jackson (ph) has -- from Zoo to You, has a beautiful kinkajou.

KING: Zoo to You is what?

HANNA: Zoo to You is a place -- this organization in California, goes to all the schools throughout this state almost, teaching people about animals that used to be around. They do a great job.

KING: This is the kinkajou.

HANNA: The kinkajou or honey bear, Larry. And you can see why it's called the honey bear. Look at the honey coat there. From Central and South America.

KING: Beautiful.

HANNA: Prehensile tail. Live their entire life in trees. They have about a seven-inch tongue where they go and they get honey and nectar out of a lot of beehives if they have to, or they're even a pollinator, Larry. They actually will pollinate -- if they eat some fruit over here, they might go half a mile down the road and defecate down here, and so they pollinate, just like bees and other animals.

KING: Kind of boring living in the tree, though, isn't it? When you get up in the morning, what are you going to do all day? You live in a tree, right?

HANNA: I do a lot of these -- you have good questions. I never think about it that way.

KING: No, I'm thinking, if you're living in a -- let's say you're a coyote, you are in Wyoming, you get up in the morning. Let's say you even sleep late. You get up at 7:30, now what?

HANNA: Well, if you're a coyote, you can go wherever you want to. But the kinkajou, he can move around in his trees. He can go from tree to tree, but I guess you're right, never thought about (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: I like him.

HANNA: This is our kinkajou, our honey bear, from Central, South America. They're nocturnal as well, Larry, and a prehensile tail. They spend their entire life, like you pointed out, in a tree.

KING: And now, the California desert tortoise.


KING: Wow, nice color.

HANNA: Larry, beautiful. This animal here can get a lot bigger than this. They also are protected, I think, am I right, David, in a lot of parts of California, the desert tortoise. And this animal goes without any water at all, basically. They can get all their water from -- this is his home. Everybody knows a tortoise, a turtle. What is the difference between a tortoise and turtle? A turtle lives in the water, a tortoise lives on land. This animal (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: That's the only difference?

HANNA: Well, basically, yes.

KING: Are they friendly? Could you breed a turtle to a tortoise?

HANNA: Yes, now, good point about breeding.

KING: That's why I asked.

HANNA: Look under here. This is probably here a female. I'm not sure. But the way you would know it, Larry, the male usually has a concave bottom so he can mount the female like this, you follow what I'm saying? And once...


HANNA: Shell, like this.

KING: So, but the question was, could a male tortoise make it with a female turtle?

HANNA: Oh, I see what you're saying. I don't know. I don't think so.

KING: They're saying no, but it looks like they get alone.

HANNA: You know, I've done shows for 31 years, and tonight you've asked me some questions I don't know (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: But I mean, could you picture him saying, "want to come see my shell, baby?"

HANNA: Either you've been reading a lot or I've been...

KING: No, I'm just curious.

HANNA: I know, I know, that's a good question. Anyway, I had some more points, but I forgot what I was going to say now.

KING: Now we have a Harris' Hawk. I don't see.

HANNA: Right. He's right here.

KING: Where?

HANNA: Right here. Bring the Harris' Hawk out. Watch this, Larry. We'll fly this hawk.

Oh, I'm sorry. Anyway, just sit there. Don't move. He's right above you. Just...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one wants this.

HANNA: This one wants to meet. Just -- here -- I'm sorry.

KING: Where is the other one?

HANNA: Wait, hold it there.

KING: No, no, don't do that.

HANNA: So he's fine. He's fine. We got him now. We got him.

KING: You got him? You sure you got him?

HANNA: I got him.

KING: Because I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my head until you tell me you got him.

HANNA: I got him right here.

KING: Now the other animals are getting mad.

HANNA: We're fine. We're fine. Let's talk about this one here. See, this one here, Larry, this is the Harris' hawk. This is the Harris' hawk right here. Larry, this is the Harris' hawk here.

KING: Get out the contract. I want to see where it says that I could -- the host is in danger. The Harris' hawk.

HANNA: No, no, Larry. No, no, the Harris' hawk hunts in packs.

KING: It was fast, too.

HANNA: Yes, it's about 120 miles an hour. But they hunt in packs. Look at this. They hunt together. It is one of the rarest -- no other hawk hunt together like this, a bird of prey.

KING: You mean two of them get together?

HANNA: Two or four, five of them.


HANNA: Well, they might say that. But they all hunt together to go out for their prey. And they're from Texas and the Southwestern United States, called the Harris' hawk. You see how it looks like the peregrine falcon, the beautiful wings, the beak there made for tearing meat. There are an animal -- there are quite a few of these, they are not endangered or anything, but they are protected in some states.

KING: I like them.

HANNA: Thank you so much.

KING: And to close out this segment, the large chameleon.

HANNA: Well, this is from Australia, isn't it? This -- Madagascar. Oh, this is from Madagascar, yes. What is it called? A bail chameleon. Oh, look at this thing.

KING: They turn into things?

HANNA: Larry, I've never seen one of these myself until just now. This is beautiful, isn't it?

KING: Beautiful. They turn into things?

HANNA: Now, Larry, look at his eyes, Larry. Get us closer. Look at his eyes. Look at how he moves. The whole eyeball.

KING: Wow.

HANNA: You see it?

KING: Yes, the whole eyeball, everything, it's going around. He sees me now. I know you see me, baby.

HANNA: So you can look -- think about what he sees, Larry. You're looking straight ahead, right? This animal -- think about that -- what if you had an eye over here and an eye over here. Think about that. You can see what -- you see what I'm talking about?

KING: That would be a lot of things happenings.

HANNA: Yes, you couldn't see straight ahead. But he has to move his - see how he moves those?

KING: We term the chameleon someone who comes into -- who takes other poses, right?

HANNA: Right, well, he'll change colors.

KING: That's what I mean.

HANNA: When he is being threatened, this animal will change colors. There are chameleons in Africa, our country, Australia, but this is one from Australia. It is gorgeous.


HANNA: God, it's gorgeous. Beautiful camera work. That is one of my favorite animals.

KING: You got a good crew. Congratulations to the crew on this one.

HANNA: Yes. And their tongue, Larry, shoots right out and grabs a fly in midair.

KING: We have one segment left, and in that segment we're going to meet the tenrec, the red-tailed hawk, who I hope will not fly into my head, and the scorpions and the spiders and bugs. Back with Jack Hanna after this. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. We only lost two -- only lost two crew members but we'll -- all right, we want to thank the Saving Wildlife International, the Zoo To You Group and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Jack Hanna, the host of "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures". He'll be in the float, Rose Bowl Parade coming up. What do we have here?

HANNA: The rain bird float. A lot of neat animals, too. This here is an animal called a tenrec. The tenrec is from Madagascar. You heard of a hedgehog. This there version of the hedgehog. He can actually go upside down. What's neat is, Larry, actually eat Madagascar hiss cockroaches. Hear him hiss? These are cockroaches. These are Madagascar cockroaches. Can you hear him hiss? Can you here hissing. Here just put him on your shirt.

KING: No! Put him on the microphone, not on the shirt.

HANNA: Sorry. There.

KING: What is that relation to the tenrec?

HANNA: They eat these. Whoops.

KING: What you doing?

HANNA: No, they eat cockroaches. So this the tenrec that most of it's life in trees. And they're a very neat little creature that only comes from the island of Madagascar.

KING: You can feed him one of these?

HANNA: I could but he eat it right here on the air. I don't think people won't want to watch that on TV.

KING: Yes, people love cockroaches.

HANNA: They do.

KING: I think most of America will be saying, get him.

HANNA: You read about this in Thailand. They outlawed these. They were using them as pets. They said no more.

KING: Red-tail hawk.

HANNA: This is a red-tailed hawk.

KING: Not a hawk.

HANNA: Now, this animal here, Larry, is found -- isn't it gorgeous? Look him right around here, that's why they call him a red- tailed hawk because of his beautiful red tail. See right there, perfect. A lot of animals have a lot of name but this is a perfect example of why we call an animal a certain name, a red tail hawk. You saw some -- great bird species tonight, Larry.

The red-tailed hawk, the eagle, the American bald eagle, the golden eagle which is the largest bid of pray in this country. Then of course you go on down to the red-tailed hawk. The talons are powerful if this animal could read a newspaper, it could read it at from 100 yards, a newspaper. That's how great their eyesight is. It's unbelievable.

KING: There he is the red-tailed hawk.

HANNA: I am not going to fly him between my legs. No, the red- tail hawk a gorgeous animal.

KING: And now the blue-tongued skink.

HANNA: This is from Australia.

KING: It has a blue tongue.

HANNA: Exactly, see there.

KING: What is a skink?

HANNA: A skink is again almost a prehistoric animal. Look at that. Wow. Look at the color.

KING: Is a skink like a would be legless snake.

HANNA: Exactly. That's very good. They have the legless lizard that looks like a snake but it is a lizard. You see the tongue?

KING: I saw it. It is blue. Nice color blue, too. Royal blue.

HANNA: Exactly. Look at that. A blue-tongued skink.

KING: Wow.

HANNA: Now that, Larry, I've had some blue-tongued skinks before. This is the one that...

KING: I think that in real life blue-tongue skink this. No. 1 blue-tongue skink.

Now we'll close things out as we approach the 3-o mark...

HANNA: Now, this is one here is -- what is it called. A pixie frog, an African bull frog.

KING: Not on my list.

HANNA: No. This is one we just added. This is good.

KING: Extra added attraction.

HANNA: Larry, this is the animal you hear about when they have droughts. They were all telling me that this -- this animal can -- when it dries up, goes into a borough build him self in what they call a snot bubble. It's like mucus, and surround themselves in this big bubble and they can live in that cave for up two years without ever eating anything. Just living down there inside there bubble, their mucous bubble.

KING: I like the way they walk.

HANNA: Isn't that a beautiful frog? That's not a toad. It is a frog. Just like a we got the turtle, the tortoises.

KING: What is a toad?

HANNA: A toad mainly lives on land.

KING: A frog lives in water.

HANNA: But just to answer you question for you, the toad doesn't breed to a frog.

KING: Wouldn't it be wild if a toad breed to a tortoise.

HANNA: That would be real live.

KING: I can seat off spring of that up with.

HANNA: A hopping turtle.

KING: Any left?

HANNA: I'm speechless right now probably.

KING: Come on, we're on a roll tonight.

HANNA: I have something left here. Take this thing. Make sure you wash your hands. Yes. Look at this, Larry.

KING: Highly deadly black tarantula.

HANNA: Can I put it on Larry's shirt. Can I put it on your shirt.


HANNA: That's not a tarantula. That's a scorpion. I can't believe you're holding that thing. I would never hold it. You're crazy. Look at that stinger there. KING: Jack...

HANNA: Some of them could kill you in less than 30 seconds.

KING: Jack, it is interesting that you would choose this for your final appearance on the program. So how touching that is.

HANNA: Isn't that beautiful?

KING: That is a scorpion. But they name submarines after these guys, airplanes. Go, go.

HANNA: A lot of animals eat these things.

KING: Eat them?

HANNA: Yes, a lot of animals will eat them. Come here, buddy. I don't want him to get loose.

KING: We have one minute to go. Is there anyone left.

HANNA: Holy macro what is that?

KING: What is this?


HANNA: What's neat about tarantulas, Larry, is the fact that these animals here...

KING: This is the tarantula.

HANNA: Yes, give me your arm a little bit.


HANNA: He won't see you through your shirt. Look at that. Isn't that neat.

KING: But there is skin over here.

HANNA: Yes, but don't worry he won't go over backwards. This, Larry, here has his little biters up in there. It's a pretty good sting, but a lot of people have these as pets and you really shouldn't do that. They also shed their entire outside. This thing could actually shed himself and you would think there were two spiders sitting here. It's amazing to see that.

KING: Hanna, we can't thank you enough.

Aaron Brown in New York is so envious now. Dying to be in my position to have a tarantula on his arm.

We want to thank again the Wildlife -- Saving Wildlife International, the Zoo To You, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and of course, Jack Hanna in his tenth season of "Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures," the sounds of the animals around us here in Los Angeles.

Happy New Year. We'll be back New Year's Eve, of course. You'll see him in the Rose Bowl parade. Highly deadly black tarantula. "NEWSNIGHT" is next.


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