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Interview With Jack Hanna

Aired December 25, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Jack's back with his menagerie of amazing animals. We'll kiss and tell with wallabies, warthogs, and Jack Hanna from the Columbus Zoo. So sit back, get ready, and you never know what's going to happen when we get wild.

KING: Go, you heard your cue. Now go.



Around the holidays, it's an annual visit with Jack Hanna, one of my favorite people. Director-emeritus of the Columbus Zoo. Host of "Jack Hanna's Into the Wild." The author who put together three new books, one for every member of the family. "Passport into the Wild", "Jungle Jack, My Wild Life" and "Romp, Stomp, Waddle Home."

"Jungle Jack" is the autobiography. Recently celebrated his 30th anniversary at the Columbus Zoo. We were part of that celebration. How'd that go?

JACK HANNA, "DIRECTOR EMERITUS" OF THE COLUMBUS ZOO: It was good. It was a total surprise for me and a lot of folks like yourself and just a lot of shows I've done over the years, Charlie Gibson, Letterman, a bunch of people, it was nice to see that all you guys have brought the animal world to everyone over the years.

KING: Before we start meeting the animals, give me the current status because it's gotten a lot of attention, of the polar bear.

HANNA: Well, the polar bear right now at the Columbus Zoo, we're building a $19 million polar bear habitat that opens next summer. And out of that 19 million we'll probably donate half a million to the polar bear research up toward the North Pole. I feel (ph) the polar bear out there, mainly, when the big males come out, it actually was before the ice froze. There is no doubt that obviously without the ice, the polar bear is doomed.

KING: As always with Jack Hanna, let's meet some animals. We'll start with the serval.

HANNA: This is the serval. We'll bring him right up here right now.

KING: Uh-huh.

HANNA: Here we go.

This one here is a serval, Larry. A serval cat is from East Africa. Look at this. What's wrong with him?

KING: Hey, hey, hey, hey.

HANNA: That was stupid, wasn't it? The serval cat, Larry, is an animal that dates back to the Egyptians. If you look at the mummies, the tombs of the pharaohs there you'll see the serval on the side of them, painted on the side. We know the animal lived there 5,000 years ago. The serval now doesn't exist anywhere basically north of equator. So we know the animal has gone into extinction in all that part of Africa. The animal's front legs and hind legs are different lengths. It can leap six to eight feet in the air. They're the only cat that can jump straight up in the air like this and catch a bird in free flight. That's pretty difficult to do.

You'll also notice on the back of the ears, you can see those spots on the back of the ears. See those spots? Those are called eye spots. What happens is a serval can be eating something like a mouse or a rat or something, let's say a leopard or something might come up behind a serval and say, oh, he's looking at me, the other animal thinks that's its eyes looking backwards. They also were killed for its coat and I'm sorry to say it took about 12 animals to make one coat. A lot of its diet, 60 percent of its diet is insects. It follows herds of zebras, the migration and it stays about a mile back and the animals are kicking up all the bugs and everything on the ground, the snakes, and these animals go right behind them and eat them.

KING: OK, thanks.

HANNA: That's from Moor Park College, by the way, Moor Park, California.

Thank you very much.

KING: Thank you, dear. Go. You've heard your cue, go. Go!

I'll make you more extinct, go. The savannah monitor.

HANNA: There serval is over here, bring the monitor over here because that could be -- In Africa, that wouldn't work.

KING: Good bye. OK. What do we mean by the savannah monitor? Is this from Georgia?

HANNA: No. This is from the savannahs in Africa. Put him up here. Put him over here. That's good.

This animal here, Larry, is an animal that likes to eat - obviously can live its entire life with basically no water. It gets the water from the animals it would eat, it might be again, ground rodents, birds, eggs, makes no difference. That tongue, see that tongue coming out there? That tongue is a heat sensor. Looking for something. He feels the heat of you and I around him and that's how he eats. See there. Some people think the lizard or snake or turtle -- they're dumb. People can say that. But what we're here showing right now, what she's doing with this thing here, it's -- what do you call this? Conditioning. Target practice.

See this? He knows when he sees this, he will eat. It's not that this animal by no means has a nice brain. It knows exactly what's going on. In the zoological world, we target this animal to learn how to eat and show that the people does have a brain to learn. Whoopsy daisy. Take this monitor there. They've got very, very sharp claws, as you can see there, and a very sharp tail. He doesn't have the ridges on his tail like an iguana would where it could really hurt you.

KING: Let's meet - because we have to move along to catch up - because we've got so many animals here tonight. The fox.

HANNA: This is a fennec fox. This animal is called the fennec fox and it's the smallest fox in the world. You've hard of the red fox, the gray fox, the arctic fox. All sorts of foxes around the world. This is the fennec fox. It lives in Sahara desert in Northern Africa. This animal lives at very high temperatures and some people think of the big ears, you see the big ears here, that those big ears are for hearing.

Well, it is for hearing, but mainly it's for to control his temperature, like an elephant. If you notice an elephant, like when we took your daughter Kaya (ph) to Africa, she'll tell you she saw the elephants flapping their ears, 120 degrees, whatever, 120, a lot of blood levels keeps it cool. This animal has a lot of blood levels. You can barely see them inside that ear here. It helps keep him cool. He loves to eat scorpions. Those big old black scorpions That's his main diet are the scorpions. And this animal can go his entire life without drinking water. Gets the water it needs from the little creatures it eats.

KING: Whoa, that's amazing.

HANNA: I've never seen one of these -- well, maybe in Africa I have. Look at this creature. They call it a mouse bird because it spends all of its time on the ground, because of the long tail, people say it looks like a mouse.

KING: It doesn't fly?

HANNA: It won't fly right now. But it does fly. But right now, again, it spends a lot of its time on the ground. Not many people see one of these. Look at that. Isn't that a beautiful creature? It just shows you, an animal on this show or any show or in nature doesn't have to be some big old animal to be intriguing. I think this is -- Look at the camera work of your guy. This is like "National Geographic." This is unbelievable camera work, I'm telling you. Look at this animal eating a banana. You see the long tail, a mouse bird, and the little feet like a mouse. Isn't that something? Isn't that a beautiful tail it has. KING: Beautiful.

HANNA: That's outstanding.

KING: Where do they live?

HANNA: In Africa too. An African mouse bird.

KING: The African porcupine.

HANNA: Right. Every time I see this, Larry, I'm still intrigued by the African porcupine.

KING: Just stay away! Just stay away. He cuts.

HANNA: Look at this, Larry. I didn't know we had both of these. We've never done this before. This is a youngster, here, this one here is not even full grown yet. I've only seen this one time and that was in Zimbabwe about 10 years ago. Look at those teeth on this animal.

KING: I'm looking at them.

HANNA: This animal, see this right here, Larry? Look how he flares up. See that. That's when a lion or something approaches him. If the camera can look -- I've never seen this, by the way, you can see those quills are attached to the skin down in there. It's amazing to see the pink skin down in there.

KING: This is what, a baby?

HANNA: That's a baby. What happens, though, Larry, is if a lion or hyena approaches this porcupine, he'll rattle those quills like a rattle snake, I don't know if you hear it or not, you see that, and that tells you to stay away. If that quill pops in him, that quill comes out of his mouth and a lot of times a lion or hyena will die from infection. These quills are used for like spears, knitting needles, all sorts of things in that part of the world.

KING: They are sharp.

HANNA: In a minute I'm going to have the North American porcupine on which is obviously much smaller and the quills have a barb on them. This quill does not have a barb on it.

KING: I've got to take a break. He enjoys this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Want to touch the baby?

KING: Do I want to touch the baby?

HANNA: Is it sticky (ph)?


HANNA: Let him touch him. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just have to go head to tail.

HANNA: Don't go backwards, Larry, you'll get stuck.

KING: I know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sticky situation.

KING: we'll be right back, folks. If I'm not here, you'll know why.


KING: We're back with Jack Hanna and the animals. This, we've never had this.

HANNA: No, no.

KING: A sea lion.

HANNA: This is from Moorpark College in Moorpark, California. It's a teaching zoo, Larry. A lot of these people you are seeing today are people who are second-year students there, they're going to graduate and going to work in zoos. This is a California sea lion, Larry. You've seen these in the ocean here.

KING: Seen them up near San Francisco.

HANNA: Right. Exactly. Look at those whiskers on this animal. Some people don't understand, this animal can go down up to 1,000 feet. People don't realize how deep they can go. Those whiskers are used in total darkness to hunt for their food and that type of thing. They're an animal, also. You would probably say, what's the difference between a sea lion and a seal? A sea lion as you can see has little ears there, also can move its neck and walk on its flippers there. Would you like to be kissed by a sea lion?

Have you ever been kissed by a sea lion?

KING: No, I've never been kissed by a sea lion, well a couple -- never mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give him a kiss. Kiss.

KING: Whoa!

HANNA: It smells, sorry.

KING: It didn't bother me.

HANNA: But the sea lion eats fish. What you are seeing is the same type of behavior some of these animals have in the wild. A lot of people have never seen a sea lion this up close. Just a beautiful creature, isn't it?

KING: Beautiful. HANNA: One that gets caught in a lot of nets, I see a lot of these animals in fishing lines. If you're fishing, please get rid of your line. Because if not, they'll get around these animals necks and flippers and they die of infection. Terrible.

KING: We've got a bald eagle.

HANNA: Right, this is our American bald eagle, Larry, right here. This is animal, this is from Alaska. I can tell already how big it is. The American bald eagle is coming back very well as you know. Taken off the endangered species list. This animal, you see why that's our national bird now.

Of course, a lot of these birds are injured. If you look at those talons on her arm, if this was a bird that didn't know her, those talons, if this bird didn't know her, those talons would go through to her bone and break her thin arm there, would break her arm in a split second. This bird can see, who knows, two miles away when it's soaring up there.

A bald eagle, some people think just eats live food. A bald eagle would just as soon eat something dead than alive. Unlike some birds of prey we'll show you a little later.

The white head and tail develops at three to four years of age. In Montana where I live, every morning it's like clockwork. About 8:00, the bald eagles, both a pair -- mate for life, by the way - they are monogamous birds, which means they mate for life. And every time I see a bald eagle, I get chills. I don't care if it's wild ...

KING: What's their life span?

HANNA: Lifespan can be anywhere from like 30 to 40 years.

KING: We salute you. You are America. You are our symbol to the world.


HANNA: This is the golden eagle. What's that called on his head?


HANNA: A hood.

KING: He has a hood. Looks like he's in the army.

HANNA: No. The hood is so the lights don't bother him here. But this animal here, Larry, is even bigger than the bald eagle. This is not a full grown. I've seen golden eagles, Larry, that are twice this big. The wingspan on some golden eagles are seven to eight feet wide. The wingspan of these birds. Look at the talons. Those talons on her arm are bigger than the bald eagle. Now a lot of people have never seen - what we've seen folks, you've seen a bald eagle and now you're looking at the golden eagle. Montana, Wyoming, those states, that's where you find the beautiful golden eagle up into British Columbia, that's where you'll find the golden eagle. Look at the beak there, used for tearing, used for tearing meat. That's what that beak is for.

KING: What a head.

HANNA: Larry, when you see a full grown one, it is absolutely fantastic, gorgeous. It's called a golden eagle - I'm not saying it's -- its feathers are a little rough, but gets a beautiful golden color when you see these in the sunlight out in the wild, the golden eagle.

KING: Beautiful.

HANNA: Gorgeous.

KING: Next we have, whatever this is, a warthog.

HANNA: This animal here, Larry, this is a warthog.

KING: This is a strange-looking animal.

HANNA: Yeah, this is a strange-looking animal, all right.

This animal here, Larry, look at this, you won't believe this, Larry. In Africa when I go film over there, we see the warthog, this is from Zoo to You (ph), by the way, this is the Jacksons who work with me a lot on all our educational shows. He'll get down on his knees, Larry and spends most of his life on his knees, Larry, the warthog, all his life. He kneels down and eats like that. The warthog raises his tail like this if he's alarmed, land he goes like 30 miles an hour, he raises it like this, like a little antenna, like that. And in zoological world, this is probably the only two warthogs in the world that are used for education. And the Jacksons have both of them.

KING: Why'd he get that name? Warthog?

HANNA: See right here, the warts. The warts.

KING: Oh, I see.

HANNA: And right here, those tusks will tear you apart when they're full grown. Tear you apart. And they have little babies. A lot of times the warthogs, the hyenas will come and go in the warthog hole sometimes and stay. And by the way, in the zoological world, these animals sell anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000. Can you believe that? A warthog.

In Africa, they eat them like it's a worm or something.

KING: They're food.

HANNA: For lions, leopards, all of those.

KING: We've got to take a break. We'll be right back. In front of the wall. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Jack Hanna and the red kangaroo.

HANNA: This is a red kangaroo over here. Right. The big red kangaroo over here, Larry, these things, I've seen them about seven, eight feet tall. He's kind of walking around your studio here. The kangaroo is a marsupial, which means a baby develops in the pouch. That tail was used for balance, as you can see. He's going to take over your studio, what are you going to do? This is a little female here. I don't know if we can do this or not. It's hard to hold this little animal. Let me show you something, Larry. Don't know if you can get the camera in here. It's hard to do this.

Come here buddy, come here.

KING: Apparently, she's pregnant.

HANNA: There's the pouch. I want to show people the pouch. I'll leave her alone. That's the pouch in there where the baby develops inside the pouch. You can see, even hopping all around your place here, you can see, again, the red kangaroo on that back foot, I don't know if you can focus with the lens, I know he's hopping all over, but the back foot of the kangaroo is used as a weapon as a last mean of defense. See that big claw on the back foot?

KING: Yeah.

HANNA: There is a big claw there on the back foot. So if you corner a kangaroo, a couple guy were killed in Australia last year. That was there fault. They were cornering him. The main means of getting away is their speed, 40 miles per hour. Again, the kangaroo can have three babies at one time. One jumping out of the pouch at six months, one going into the pouch, it looks like a little worm, Larry, it's born and it makes it way outside the stomach, goes in the pouch, and she can breed at the same time. Can you imagine that? Three different stages of life at one time.

KING: And the little one has a baby in there, huh?

HANNA: Yeah, the smaller one is a female and she has a little baby in there. If I can show the pouch here. Here is the pouch here. See this thing right here, Larry. Look at this real quickly, bring the camera.

KING: There's the pouch.

HANNA: Bring a camera ....

KING: We've got it. Right on it.

HANNA: There's a little baby attached to a little teat. Barely looks bigger than a worm, it's a kangaroo.

KING: We'll be right back on this amazing edition of LARRY KING LIVE with Jack Hanna and the animals. When we get Jack's book we'll tell you more about it.


KING: We're back with Jack Hanna. Don't forget Jack's new book, "Jungle Jack: My Wild Life." And we're meeting new animals. And in this one we begin with the North American porcupine. We had an African porcupine before.

HANNA: Exactly. I want to show you the North American porcupine here.

KING: Similar.

HANNA: Similar, but obviously not as big, Larry. And it doesn't even look like it has quills, does it. Now, I don't know if I want to do this because I might get stuck by this one.

Underneath here, everybody, these are quills underneath there, Larry, and those quills have a barb that even your camera cannot see. The naked eye cannot even see it. There's a barb on the end of that.

You barely touch this thing and those quills shooting you, and I want to tell you something, you cannot even pull it out. I had a friend of mine get three quills in his kneecap and we had to take him to the hospital and an hour later they got them out.

KING: That's a defense mechanism?

HANNA: Right. It's a defense mechanism. When a dog or a cougar or whatever, a coyote attacks them, they try to run around and get them dizzy, then you try to eat them underneath them. It's very soft underneath them. When a porcupine is born, obviously he is born, the quills are very soft again, and in two or three days, they get real hard like this. This animal has also the odor on it to keep its prey away. There we go. There's a much better shot of -- there's a much better -- see all those quills. See that. They have a barb and they hurt. They hurt real bad. I don't want him to fall off the desk there.

KING: Next we meet a turkey vulture. I gather this is Thanksgiving stuff.

HANNA: No. This is a turkey vulture. Turkey vultures, Larry, are found all over North America. In Hinckley, Ohio, the Hinckley buzzards come back.

KING: Look at that face.

HANNA: It's pretty (inaudible).

The one unique thing, if you can show the head real close, the head is bald. Some people say, why don't they have feathers on their head? Turn your head around here, pal. Why don't you have any feathers up there?

The reason is, Larry, when he goes in a cavity of a dead animal, you can imagine the gook that gets all over his face and his head. Like you have hair here. The bacteria would grow in your hair. Mother Nature gave him the ability to not have feathers up there so the bacteria couldn't grow.

They also defecate all over their legs, they defecate on their legs, that keeps him cool. That defecation keeps the bird cool. It's also is so smelly, that no one wants to come after this bird to eat it. Nobody.

And they can soar, Larry, this vulture could soar for days and never flap his wings. Gets up in the thermals and just soars, looking for something dead down there. It's very important to nature, because this animal controls all the dead things.

KING: Whoa. The red-tailed hawk.

HANNA: The red-tailed hawk is a bird, obviously, a bird. Where is it? Oh they're going to fly it.


HANNA: You all right?

KING: Yeah. I'm fine. I like this.

HANNA: I'm sorry. Hit you in the head?

KING: No. I'm fine. Are you kidding?

HANNA: I don't want to kill Larry King with a bird. That could be bad. I didn't know we were going to do that. That was pretty good.

KING: Felt nice.

HANNA: Bring him up here a second.

KING: This is a strange-looking bird.

HANNA: This is the red-tailed hawk. It's found all over North America. This is a young one here. But look at the tail here, Larry. Look around the tail. See the red tail? Gets the name, red-tailed hawk. A lot of people don't realize this, hawks, owls, animals like this are all protected species. They're not endangered, but protected. You can't go out and shoot them and think you can get away with it. Most states they're all protected.

It's a bird of prey, again, about 160 miles per hour makes a dive to go get an animal. They're a bird you see quite a bit of in most all the states in this country, the red-tailed hawk. Much smaller than the eagle.

KING: I like the entrance, too.

HANNA: I like that entrance as well.

KING: Now we meet a peregrine falcon.

HANNA: We've got some great birds. I've never had all of these birds on one show ever. Remember, we went from the bald eagle to the red-tailed hawk to now a smaller bird. Larry ...

KING: He's like, what's going on? Look at that look? What's happening?

HANNA: If you're ever asked on a game show what's the fastest animal in the world. The fastest animal in the world, the cheetah is the fastest land mammal. This is the fastest animal in the world. Clocked at 220 to 245 miles per hour. And you know how I know that. In 1973 -- They fly these birds. As a matter of fact, Osama bin Laden, according to what I have read, maybe the closest we ever came to capturing him was because he loves these birds and over there these birds cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, $30,000 a piece. They fly, it's a sport as you know.

KING: There was a movie about that.

HANNA: But this is a bird that's adapting to our environment. This animal is nesting in skyscrapers in Chicago, California, New York City, because it's adapting to our environment. But a guy flew one of these between my legs at 200 miles an hour. You don't think I was scared? Try flying something between your legs at 200 miles an hour.

KING: Forget it.

HANNA: You don't want to lose ...

KING: The toucan.

HANNA: Toucan, toucan -- You've heard the Fruit Loops bird, right? Here, Tookie, Tookie.

KING: This is the Fruit Loops bird.

HANNA: See there? You got a grape for him to throw?


KING: Does he speak?

HANNA: No, they don't speak. Toucans don't speak. Oh, good toss.

Look at the colors. Can you see the colors? Look at that camera work. This beak, Larry, doesn't even weigh a gram. That beak is nothing but air. It weighs nothing and they eat fruit and that grape that just came in will come out the back end in about 20 minutes. That fast. This is not a bird for a pet, by the way. You just don't to that. They live in the rainforest, they are pollinators which means they pollinate those seeds in the rain forest. But he's one of the prettiest birds, I think, in the world. And they have different colored toucans. KING: Before we go to break, I want to ask you one quick question of Governor Palin of Alaska. Does it bother you that she hunts and kills wolves?

HANNA: I don't know what she kills.

KING: The wolves.

HANNA: But no matter what party you're in the point is that hunting is a necessity because what man as done. The answer to your question is I don't hunt and some of my best friends are hunters and some of the best conservationists in the world are hunters. How do we control what we've messed up, how do you control deer populations? How do you control wolf populations? Because of our ecosystem ...

KING: So you've got no objections?


KING: I just was asking.

HANNA: If it's done according to what the state regulations are by the Game and Fish Commission. Each state has a different Game and Fish Commission.

KING: Jack Hanna is the guest.

Don't forget Jack Hanna - by the way, he's just celebrated a major anniversary. Thirty years at the Columbus Zoo. Don't go away.



KING: We're back with Jack Hanna and the next animal, up on the stage, is the Ocelot.

HANNA: See if you can get him up here, Larry. This is a beautiful creature. The Ocelot -- look at the coat on this animal, Larry. Isn't that gorgeous?

KING: Gorgeous.

HANNA: We've never had an Ocelot on your show. Back in the 1960s, this animal was used a great deal in the pet trade, sorry to say. That's now against the law. It's a threatened species in some parts of central and South America, where it's from. Also, it's an endangered species in some parts. Look at that coat, Larry. That coat was used -- many, many Ocelots were killed for their coats, because the animal was quite prevalent.

It almost looks like a miniature Leopard or something, doesn't it? It's a cat from central and South America. You have the Jaguar, the largest. Then, of course, you have the Ocelot, the Jagurundi, different types of small cats in South America. This animal has one of the most magnificent coats of any cat in the world, the Ocelot does. It's an animal that is nocturnal, basically. It's a solitary cat, Larry. It's a cat that will eat a lot of birds, monkeys, even like little snakes, rodents, frogs, anything it can find. It is classified as a small cat.

KING: Just gorgeous.

HANNA: Isn't it something else? I can't get over --

KING: Beautiful.

HANNA: This cat, Larry, can walk within one foot of you and you'll never hear it.

KING: I like the name, Ocelot.

HANNA: Look at the eyes and ears. It's got eye spots on the back of his ears here. Eye spots again, just like that other cat did.

KING: Thank you, ocelot.

HANNA: Beautiful cat, everyone. Gorgeous.

KING: Now we meet the Woodrail.

HANNA: We have to remove this animal first before we meet the Woodrail, because this animal would love to have the Woodrail.

KING: You mean this animal would eat the Woodrail?


KING: No doubt about it.

HANNA: No doubt about it.

KING: The Woodrail would be in peril?

HANNA: Yes, in peril. Excellent job. What is that? Looks like a miniature Ostrich.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you try to get a look at the blood red eyes, it will tell you it's a little different. This is a South American Woodrail. He's going to be very loud in a second. It's like a marsh bird. So it will have long legs and long toes for walking around in the marsh plants. And he's just under a year old.

HANNA: The Woodrail, where are they from?


KING: Does he fly?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can, which is why I'm holding him like this. I also want to let you see his legs, kind of one of the more interesting features.

HANNA: So this is the Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix?


HANNA: Beautiful zoo. See, Larry, it's almost like an Ibus. What would it be like over here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of like an Ibus or an American Coot.

KING: Never seen anything look like this.

HANNA: No. I love those eyes.

KING: Beautiful.

HANNA: Thank you so much.

KING: Thank you. The Woodrail. Now, another Porcupine, the South American Porcupine.

HANNA: This animal here --

KING: Looks like Brazil.

HANNA: This is the -- the Jacksons have this animal. Again, you've seen the African Porcupine -- I don't think we've ever done this, the African Porcupine, the North American Porcupine -- this way -- this is the South America Prehensile Tail Porcupine. Look at the tail, Larry, the Prehensile tail. See that tail back there she is holding. That means this animal lives basically its entire life in trees and uses that tail to hold on to trees with. These quills here, Larry, also do not have barbs on them like the North American Porcupine.

But they're a unique creature and the smell of this animal, Larry, is unbelievable. This animal has an odor -- if we ever film these in the rain forest of Central and South America, you can smell them five miles away.

KING: Like a skunk?

HANNA: Kind of like a skunk. Like a B.O. smell. Not good. He almost looks like -- some people call it -- I don't mean this, like Walter Mathou.

KING: He looks like Walter.

HANNA: I don't want Walter to be mad at me.

KING: Walter's gone now. But Walter was an old friend of mine and he looks like Walter. He definitely looks like Walter, that same look. It's looks like Walter. Now we have a Tegu.

HANNA: A Tegu lizard, right. This is from the Wild Life World Zoo, as well, outside of Phoenix. This Tegu lizard -- is a great Stafford, by the way. This Tegu lizard is a -- remember we talked about the Ocelot? This animal was sold by the thousands in pet shops in the 1960s. That's not a wise thing to do. The Tegu Lizard -- you open his mouth there. Come here, Larry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch your fingers.

HANNA: Don't want to get bit by him. They wouldn't let go, if he bit me. You see that tongue there, Larry. He also smells my hand, probably. That's why he wants my hand, the apple. I know what he's doing. Doesn't make a good pet at all, the Tegu Lizard. They love to eat eggs, birds, just about anything. Get up in trees, Larry -- see that tongue?

Thank you for bringing this.

KING: The Russian tortoise.

HANNA: I've never seen a Russian tortoise, myself. I guess it's from Russia, right?


HANNA: Now, what's about this animal here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's a great tortoise from Russia and that's about as big as they get. So they really do make great pets. It's one of the only tortoises we talk about that makes great pets.

HANNA: In Russia. You wouldn't want this in America?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can have them here in America.

HANNA: A Russian tortoise? I'll be darned. These animals, Larry -- again, a tortoise can live its entire lifetime without food. If someone ever has an animal like a tortoise as a pet, make sure they understand it's not an endangered animal, like a Gopher Tortoise. California is not allowed to have any of these. These tortoises, Larry, eat a lot of fruit, grasses, and that kind of thing. That's where they get their moisture from.

This is their home, too. They can live to be anywhere from 50 to 100 years old.

KING: All tortoises?

HANNA: Yes, all tortoises. They're not turtles.

KING: A Russian tortoise. We'll be right back.


KING: An extraordinary treat, as we begin this segment of LARRY KING LIVE with Jack Hanna, a pig-nosed turtle.

HANNA: Look at the nose on that. A very, very different nose than most turtles. If you look at that animal, it looks like a penguin, just from the face of it, in a way. Look at the flippers, Larry. It's like a sea turtle flippers. A lot of turtles, especially turtles in the water, don't have flippers like this. It must somewhere descend from the sea turtles.

KING: Unlike other turtles, it must be in the water?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. It spends almost its almost entire life in the water. It lives in brackish or fresh water in New Guinea or Australia.

HANNA: It almost feels like leather on its shell there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does have skin on its shell.

HANNA: It has skin? Feel that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks more like a sea turtle than an actual --

HANNA: Yes, I would think this would be a sea turtle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That nose of theirs can root around as a plow or a shovel and look for mollusks.

HANNA: Maybe it was a Leather Back Turtle way down the line.

KING: He needs water. Is he going to stay here?


KING: In this segment, he'll be here as company. He's part of the show now. We meet a wallaby.

HANNA: You should have a turtle on your show at all the time. Keep people calm. This is a Wallaby. You saw the kangaroo, Larry. Some people say that the Wallaby is not a Kangaroo. If you talk to people in Australia, a Wallaby is a Kangaroo. It's just a different type of Kangaroo. It's much smaller. This Wallabee only gets to be about three feet tall, not like those big red Kangaroos you just saw. Now's a perfect time to see the foot, like I was talking about. You see the foot right there. You see that claw, I was trying to show you on the big Kangaroo. I don't know if they got that or not.

That's the claw I'm talking about. It's the last means of defense. If you get the big red Kangaroo cornered, they use that as a means to lash out, to protect themselves. Again, a marsupial. Now, I didn't get to say this the last time. A marsupial is an animal that develops in the pouch, not in the womb, like most mammals. They look like a little worm, as big as your finger nail. They come out of the birth canal, climb up on the outside of the fir -- the most amazing thing in nature. They go in the pouch, attach to the nipple there, where it swells around their mouth, and they live there for four to six months.

KING: There was a song about Wallabies. It was a big hit song.

HANNA: Tommy Kangaroo Down.

(SINGING) HANNA: We should do a theater.

KING: OK, now we have a blue-tongued skinks, with babies. Is that it?

HANNA: Look at this. Those are baby skinks?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are babies. They're about three months old now, and these are their parents.

KING: Who's the father? That's the father. That's the mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They actually had 11 babies? The mom, being a reptile, holds the eggs inside of her stomach and then they gives live birth -- and she had 11 babies.

KING: How old are they?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are about three months. When they were born, they were about just a bit bigger than the size of their head.

HANNA: Where are they from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are from Australia.

HANNA: Here's two more of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you want to hand those two me, you might be able to see, as they're walking around, why they're called blue- tongued skinks. Pretty obvious, because of the blue tongue.

HANNA: The eggs are inside the stomach and they hatch inside the stomach?



HANNA: How many animals do that?


HANNA: Do you think the boys would like a skink at home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a few. It's actually one of the animals that we do say makes pretty good pets, because this is about what they do. And this is as big as they get.

KING: Thank you very much. Wow. That's a first. Now we meet a Filled Lizard --

HANNA: Frilled Lizard. Larry, I've never had one of these on any show ever. I can't believe the Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix has this. You want to go, by the way -- live in that area, go by and see the zoo. It's gorgeous. Look at this, Larry. Some people, in that part of the world in Australia call -- am I right, the Jesus lizard?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've heard of that.

KING: Because?

HANNA: Because the animal can literally walk on water from the standpoint. The animal runs so fast, it can skirt across short distances of water, right on top of the water. Larry, if you see this animal in the wile -- They bring out that frill like this. It looks like something from a dinosaur era. It throws that frill out and makes themselves look a lot bigger, so other predators don't eat it.

KING: We've got to get in there the kookaburra.

KING: All right, since we're in Australia right now.


KING: OK, OK! He was here before and stole the show last time.

HANNA: I love these. One more time.

KING: We've got to go out with him.


HANNA: Eats snakes and lizards and all sorts of things.

KING: I'll bet. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Jack Hanna. We meet now a loris.

HANNA: This is a slow loris, Larry, one of the two poisonous mammals in the world. It's from Asia. We call it the slow loris. Obviously, it says that, because it's very, very slow. It has to lick its armpits, Larry, to get the secretion there. With the saliva in its mouth, that's what makes the poison. The babies -- they cover the babies in this gook or whatever the stuff is -- you would call it -- to keep the babies -- from something from eating the babies.

Look at those little hands. This animal dates back a long way too. They're nocturnal creatures. Look at those little hands.

KING: Here comes a Python.

HANNA: Thank you so much. This is a constrictor. The Albino Python, the last one found in the wild was in the 1984. All the ones you see today come from that one. There's never been seen one in the wild again. They lay the eggs like a chicken. They circle the eggs, a python does, and they twitch to heat the eggs up to where they hatch. They have 220 teeth shaped life fish hooks. How do I know that? I was bit by an anaconda, which is in the constrictor family. It was 19 feet long. I almost lost this part of my hand here. You can bite and let go, like your kids or a dog. This animal cannot do that. Once they bite, it takes about 30 minutes for them to relax their jaw muscles, Larry. He can no do it. And then he can then swallow the prey whole.

KING: Isn't an anaconda the most dangerous?

HANNA: Well, it can be dangerous. In the water, yes --


KING: And one more to meet in this segment, a water dragon. Look at this. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a Chinese Water Dragon. Emerald. He wears lipstick for you.

HANNA: That is gorgeous.

KING: Wearing lipstick.

HANNA: You can feel back here, these things are pretty sharp. Another means of defense. They blend in with the trees very, very well. Does he like water?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does, yes. They're actually able to almost run on the top of the water.

HANNA: Golly.

KING: When we come back, you're going to meet a pixy frog. I'm not kidding. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Jack Hanna, last segment. Here he is, the beaver.

HANNA: Bucky Beaver from Moorepark College. I love beavers. I don't know anybody else.

KING: I like them too.

HANNA: Have you ever touched a beaver? Touch this.

KING: I made him nervous. I made him nervous.


HANNA: Right, they're incredible creatures. Little beavers look like little toys. I know that beavers a hunted and that type of thing.

KING: They're smart.

HANNA: This animal, Larry, was -- way back when the pioneers came across our country, this was very a viable animal to our pioneers. This provided clothing, food, all sorts of things for those folks. The beaver nowadays -- today, he is doing very well out there. He's not a threatened species. Look at the tail of the beaver. It goes like this. It goes like this. Hear that? That's what he does in the water. If he gets alarmed, he'll flap the tail, get his babies, go down and hide. It warns other animals. It not just the beaver it takes care of. It warns other animals, birds, everything. It says, hey, something's coming. The beaver is a tremendous animal.

KING: And they build things.

HANNA: Yes, probably the best dam builders in the world. I mean, best builders of dams in the world.

KING: It works either way. Thank you, beaver. We meet a tarantella -- It's a tarantula. Hide the deadly black tarantula. That's from a --

HANNA: This is a tarantula. Deadly tarantula. I like that, Larry. It's good. That's not --


HANNA: What you are going to do, Larry, is make sure you wash your shirt when you go home. These hair follicles will make you itch a little. It's a defense, make you itch.

KING: What do I do for the rest of the night?

HANNA: I forgot about that. I will get a vacuum or something. This animal here can literally -- I want to show you something, Larry. This animal can crawl out of his shell, so to speak.

Here's another one. This animal here can literally, Larry, crawl and leave his skin and shell sitting there like he's another spider. You see the little fangs up there? You don't want to make him upset. They're a neat creature, aren't they? Look at that. And the tarantula is -- a lot of people have misconceptions about spiders. Here's another -- is this a baby one? Here's another -- huh?

Wow. Look at that. Look at these things. How many legs do they have?

KING: Ten.

HANNA: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. You're right. He has ten legs. I love spiders, don't you?

KING: Love them. OK. Yes, they're nice to look at.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have hooks on their feet so he's holding on to you.

HANNA: I had a big spider run across me while I was naked in Africa sleeping. It scared the fire out of me.

KING: No kidding.

HANNA: I get shivers.

KING: The Great Horned Owl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This time we're going to warn you that we're going to fly it in. Who wants to wear the helmet?

HANNA: Larry? Hold it right there. You ready? I got so many comments on this. We have to do it again. All right. You are a brave man.

KING: You've got to be kidding me.

HANNA: The Great Horn. You didn't hear it coming, did you?


HANNA: The bird of flight is the owl. The bird of silent flight. We'll do it one more time. Just one more time. Hold on. Hang on. Let him swallow. Larry, keep it on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Echo, echo? Come on.

HANNA: Echo, come on.

Oh, Larry -- we could do this all night long. Are you having fun?

KING: Yes, I suppose. I've never had that happen in my --

HANNA: That's a bird of silent flight.

KING: We wind it up, appropriately enough, with a skunk.

HANNA: I don't know how appropriate it is --

KING: For this show, it's appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The owl's favorite food.

HANNA: Skunk is black and white, Larry. It's amazing -- think of all the animals that are black and white. Do that with the boys someday. The dolphin, the killer whale, the penguin, the skunk, a dalmatian, a jersey cow.


HANNA: Right, Lemurs. Exactly. Black and white can be a camouflage for certain animals. For dogs and cats -- if they see a skunk, they'll run. Those that don't, they will spray. When they do spray, it's very ugly. You can not wash it off.

KING: I had a skunk get caught in a cellar or the basement of my house. The smell went through the whole house. Had to go down through the bottom like an excavation. HANNA: It will stay there for months. Who knows how long? Very quickly, everyone, don't ever pick up a baby skunk. People think they make good pets in the wild. They don't. Larry, they carry the rabies virus. You don't want to mess with them.

KING: Don't forget, Jack Hanna, the book, "Jungle Jack My Wild Life." Don't forget to check out our website, Email upcoming guests or download our podcast. You can even sign up for our newsletter or text alerts.