The turnstiles ratcheted and clicked as each of the kids passed through, excitedly reforming into their groups on the other side to begin looking at the animals.
As the group of four passed through, they were handed a pamphlet with a map of the campus, which Rini took. She unfolded the pamphlet, and turned to the others. “Where do we wanna start?” She asked.
”You want to see the wolves,” Ziggy-Zee pointed out.
”We can see them any time,” the rat said, dismissively, “where do you guys want to start?”
The two kids looked at each other, and shrugged.
”The Safari's probably best to start with,” Lyza remarked.
”Do they have... Oh, yeah, here it is,” Rini's finger tapped the map, causing the free end to wiggle. “African Safari. Bit of a walk, but I think it's a good idea to start there.”
”Glad you thought of it,” the rabbit mumbled.
”Hm?” Cheri looked up.
Lyza met the vixen's eye, and shrugged. “What?”
The fox's ears twitched. “Nothin'. Let's go, then! I wanna see some aminals already,” she urged.
”Rini has the map,” the rabbit commented.
”Umm...” The rat turned the map a bit, and looked up at the pathways. “This way,” she pointed down a path to their right.
They began trotting along over the stone path. There were other families at the zoo, pushing strollers and with toddlers that would start school in a year or two. But, the path was a thoroughfare wide enough for one of the larger groups to walk along comfortably without bothering the other visitors, let alone them.
They passed several branching paths that led to other exhibits that they would visit later.
There was a path that went into a claustrophobic, stone-enclosed exhibit where reptiles and snakes were on display.
A wooden catwalk went along and over a marshy, riverbed area, where some kinds of fish and other small, sylvan animals were.
There was another stone enclosure, less foreboding and more open, where some of the aquatic and polar animals could be marveled upon.
”Hey, what's that!” Pointed Ziggy-Zee, as a squat fowl waddled along in the grass and shrubs that bordered the riverbed section.
The bird was mostly brown upon its back. Its fat, broad thighs were a creamy white. Along its neck, the plumage was green, much like a mallard. Upon its small head was a Mohawk with long, reedy stalks. From its hind was a tail of long, straight feathers.
Rini studied the bird as it paused, its long neck straightening out as it peeked into a shrub. “Hm... Looks like... Maybe a peacock,” she thought.
”Really?” Asked Cheri. “It looks so... muddy. I thought peacocks were pretty.”
”It's a peahen,” said Lyza.
The raccoon and the vixen looked up to her.
“What's a peahen?” Questioned the raccoon.
The bird waddled along, and they followed it with interest.
”A peahen is a female peafowl.”
”Peafowl,” Cheri repeated. “Does look kinda dirty.”
”Not foul,” the rabbit clarified. “F-O-W-L, it's another word for birds.” She half-squatted, and crept closer to the peahen. “You can tell a peahen because they're brown, like this one.” She pointed at the plumage. “Peacocks—the males—are the ones that have the vibrant and decorative tail-feathers.”
The vixen giggled.
”What's so funny?” Lyza questioned, a little agitated.
Cheri dropped her expression for a second, as if caught while doing something naughty. “Uh... Nothing, it's just a silly lookin' birdy,” she said. Then, under her breath, she muttered with amusement, “peacock.”
They watched it waddle along for a few more moments. Rini went ahead of it, squatting down to get a few good pictures.
Before they went on their way, Ziggy-Zee let out a delighted giggle. “I think it just doo-dooed!” He announced.
Cheri stuck out her tongue and grimaced in disgust. “Ugh! Did not need to know that!” She told him. “Can you not be gross, for like, two seconds?”
”One-Missi-ssip-pi, Two-Missi-ssip-pi.” He counted. “There, happy?”
Rini righted up, lowering her camera, and caught the corner of the rabbit's muzzle twitching up a few times before settling back down. “Well, that was cool,” she said, returning to them. “I guess they just let peacocks walk around.”
”Peacocks are pretty docile,” the rabbit said, as they started off again. “These are probably used to people walking around and feeding them.”
In another few minutes, they had arrived at the Safari Zone. The way it looked on the map, it was pretty much a figure-eight, so they could loop around and wind up back where they started.
Ziggy-Zee picked to go right. Their first exhibit was just a few paces away, on the inner-hole of the figure-eight.
The habitat was sunken down several feet, such that they were really overlooking it. Inside was a mostly-dirt ground, with several shrubs and tufts of grass, and a couple of trees. There was a pond toward the back, and several large rocks dotted around.
There were three rhinoceroses: two adult, and one young. One of the adults was near the water. The other adult, and the young, were walking along the wall, where the adult settled down while the young slowly plodded along.
Cheri pinched her nose. “Stinky,” she declared.
It took Rini a few seconds to get used to the smell that wafted up from the enclosure as well, but she tried not to be as overt about it. “That one's taking a bath,” she said, as the one near the water squatted into the pond.
”Or pooping,” Ziggy-Zee added.
”What is it with you and poop?” Cheri growled.
”It's probably just cooling off,” the rabbit suggested. “Imagine if you weighed two-thousand pounds, had a thick hide, and couldn't sweat.”
”They don't sweat?” Cheri asked, watching the younger rhino rub against the tree.
”Says it right here,” Rini pointed to one of the placards that was on the brim of the wall, with information on the animal within the enclosure. “'Like pigs, Rhinoceros do not sweat, and use mud to keep them cool, and fend off insects and parasites,'” she read.
”I figured it would be so they could look like the ground and sneak up on their prey before stabbing them with their horns,” Ziggy-Zee remarked.
”Rhinos are herbivores,” Lyza told him.
”What's a herbivore?” The raccoon asked.
”It means they eat plants, dummy,” Cheri answered him.
”Cheri, be nice,” Rini admonished.
”We just went over it, though,” the vixen grumbled. “He was pickin' his nose and not listening.”
”Well I'm listening now.” He stated. “So, what's their horn for, then, Liz?” He asked the rabbit.
Rini saw a sort of relaxation happening in her groupmate, when the raccoon looked up to her and asked her his question.
”For defense,” Lyza replied. “Even though they're the second-largest land-mammal, big cats, like lions, will try to hunt them.”
”They're slow,” Cheri observed. “Must be easy to catch one.”
”They can charge,” the rabbit said. “But, they'd rather try to run away than fight back, I think. Their hide is like armor, and has a lattice-pattern to keep claws and teeth from getting past it.”
”What's a lattice?” Cheri asked.
”It's when they criss-cross, dummy,” Ziggy-Zee answered, in a mocking and condescending tone.
”Zig,” was all Rini said in warning.
”Yeah, Za-cha-ry,” the vixen chimed in. “I was asking Liz, not you.”
The rabbit gestured to the raccoon. “He's right, though.”
”Ha!” Ziggy-Zee folded his arms triumphantly. “I helped mom make an apple-lattice pie over the weekend. S'how I know what it means.”
The vixen's tail swished. “I bet you wear a frilly, pink apron while you help your mommy bake pies,” she jibed.
”Nuh-uh,” he rejected. “I wore one'a my dad's old shirts.”
”Guys,” Rini huffed. “C'mon, if you keep bickering like this we won't get to see very many animals. Plus, you're bothering other people,” she pointed to some other families that were looking at the rhinos with them, a few feet away.
”What else do you know about rhinos, Liz?” Asked the vixen.
Lyza shrugged. “There's not much else. They have small brains, and these are called white rhinos, even though they're gray.”
”What about the fireman thing?” Rini asked, raising her camera.
The rabbit's brows flattened. “What fireman thing?”
The rat took a picture of the young rhino heading toward the water. “When a rhino sees a fire, they stomp it out by instinct.”
”Wow, that's really cool,” Ziggy-Zee said, excitedly.
”No they don't.” Lyza replied.
After taking a picture, the rat looked to the rabbit. “I... I think they do,” she said, gently insisting. “I saw it in a documentary, once. At least, I think it was a documentary...” She thought for a second.
”I'm pretty sure that's a load of BS,” the rabbit stated.
The younger kids exchanged glances at the vulgar acronym.
”Does it say that on the thingy?” Ziggy-Zee asked, standing on his tip-toes to get better vantage at the placard.
Rini held her hand over it to shield the glare of the sun reflecting off the metallic parts, and spent a few quickly glossing over the words. “No... Just says everything that... Liz... said.” She straightened up, putting her camera back in her purse. “Guess I'm an idiot, then,” she said, softly enough that the kids couldn't hear, but she knew the rabbit's ears could pick it up as if she had shouted it.
”Well these rhinos are kinda boring,” Cheri observed. “I wanna see what's next.”
”If everyone''s done then we'll move on. You guys done?” Rini asked the raccoon and rabbit.
Ziggy-Zee took one last look at the rhinos, before nodding. As they parted from the wall to go to the outside of the figure-eight, he caught a glint amidst the stones. “Oo!” He said, his voice carrying a punch, and bent down.
The others looked back. “What'd you find this time?” Rini asked him.
He picked up the coin. “Quarter!” He announced, blowing on it before putting it in his pocket, jingling it with the dime he had found earlier. “I got thirty-five cents,” he added.
”That's stealing,” Cheri stated, as they continued on.
”Nuh-uh. Finders, keepers; losers, weepers,” he changed.
They waited just a moment for a family to move on before stepping up to the stone wall of the next exhibit; Zebras: four old and three brown young.
Two of the young ones were trotting about, while the third was shyly standing near the adults. The fourth adult was lying in the shade cast by the wall of the enclosure, just beneath them.
The adults' tails whipped and swatted, while the younger one tamped its hoof upon the ground, looking about for some stray food. The other two had begun tussling, butting their heads and necks together, letting out grunts.
”I didn't know there were brown zebras,” said Cheri with adoration. “I thought they were all black and white.”
”The brown ones are young,” Lyza said, watching as the two scuffling stared each other down for a moment. “Some time after about a year, the brown stripes turn to white.”
”Like how Bambis have spots that go away when they get older,” added Rini.
Cheri let out a coo at the bickering little brown zebras.
”Stripe-butt!” Ziggy-Zee said, pointing at one of the adults that had turned away from them. Just then, it looked back at him, and swished its tail. The raccoon giggled, “he's like, 'who said that?'”
”Bambis,” Lyza muttered.
”I always wondered,” the rat said, lifting her camera to take a picture. “Are they white horses with black stripes, or black horses with white stripes?”
”Well of course—” Cheri started;
”Obviously—” Ziggy-Zee declared;
”They're white horses with black stripes—”
The two third-graders said their opposing statements at the same time, and exchanged glances.
”You're so wrong,” the vixen told the raccoon.
”Nuh-uh, count the stripes, there's more black than white.”
”No, there's the same number of both!”
”What about the change from brown to white?” The raccoon folded his arms. “If they're white horses, how come they start off brown?”
Cheri's let out a strained squeak from her closed muzzle, but she was unwilling to admit he might at all have a point. “Lizzy knows!” She stated. “Horses are her favorite animal, right?” She looked up to the rabbit.
”Um... horses and zebras... aren't really that similar,” she replied. “Zebras aren't as easily domesticated, like horses are.” She looked to the enclosure, watching as the young moved toward the adults, and the adults started to groom the young.
”But, what color are they, and what color are the stripes?” Ziggy-Zee asked.
”A tiger's stripes are black,” remarked Rini. “A cheetah's spots are black... So... I'm with Cheri on this one. I think they're white horses with black stripes.”
”Ha! Yeah! That's right!” The vixen said, glad that her mentor could combat her annoying friend's logic with her own, better logic.
”But...” Lyza said, looking into the enclosure. “Zebras have black skin underneath the white stripes,”
The vixen's triumphant expression faded. “So... what does that mean?” She asked.
”It means they're black horses with white stripes,” said the raccoon, raising his hand to his muzzle and coughing to finish his statement.
Cheri folded her arms and rested her chin on the stone wall, a puff of dissatisfaction coming from her muzzle. “Dumb zebras, why are they even so weird, anyway?”
”When they flee from a predator,” the rabbit replied, “the stripes help them blend together, so the predator can't distinguish one zebra from another.”
The shy zebra wandered away, heading to the zebra just below them, who also appeared to be shy when it got up and wandered away when the young one approached too near.
”Fine,” the vixen grumbled. “Maybe they're not dumb. But I still think the stripes are black, like Rini said.”
The rabbit shrugged.
”Well,” Rini said, looking down at the placard. “Yeah, it says here exactly what Lyz—um, what Liz said,” the rat told them, swapping to the rabbit's sudden name of preference. “I got nice pictures of the two playing,” she said, looking at the reviews on her camera.
Ziggy-Zee peeked over, seeing the picture of the two staring each other down.
”So can we move on?” Asked Lyza.
”I'm ready.” Said the vixen.
”Yup,” Ziggy-Zee nodded.
”Sure,” Rini agreed, snapping the dangling cap over the stumpy lens. “What's next?”
”The Jay-Raffs!” The raccoon announced, pointing to the other side. The exhibit was ground-level, and two giraffes were pacing about: a baby, and a mother.
”Jurr-Aff,” Cheri corrected, trotting behind the boy.
”Naw issa Jay-Raff,” he said, continuing with his goofy voice, “Look't da Jay-Raff.”
”He's just bein' silly,” the rat told the vixen, before she tried to antagonize him about it more. “We all know they're called giraffes.”
”Or camelopards,” the rabbit stated.
”Camelopards!?” Ziggy-Zee squinted an eye. “Who in the hey calls it a camelopard?”
”Who in the hey calls it a jay-raff,” Cheri interjected.
”That is what it's called,” the raccoon replied.
”It's not jayra, it's jura,” she sounded out, leaving off the finishing fs.
”Yeah, well, jura—nnoying! Ohhhhh!” He held the diss out with his open-mouthed expression.
Lyza snickered, not able to conceal the grin that smacked her on the face.
Ziggy-Zee started giggling.”
Rini's ears flared back in frustration. “That was not nice,” the rat admonished. “Liz, don't laugh,” she requested in a lower tone, as one talks to another to keep on the same page.
Lyza's expression transitioned so quickly it was like she snapped from one to other.
”I may be annoying,” the vixen said, her cheeks a bit redder and her brows much narrower, “but at least I'm not dumb.”
The mother giraffe looked down at them from her perspective, high above.
”You tryin' to call me dumb?” The raccoon questioned.
”Well one of us doesn't know how to say giraffe.”
Ziggy-Zee threw his hands up. “I know hattah say it! Shee-yeesh!”
The mother giraffe huffed, and the baby startled from the outburst.
”Guys, c'mon. Look you're scaring the little baby,” Rini gestured, as the young giraffe settled in place, lowering its head and raising it back up again.
”Good goin' dumpster-breath,” the vixen grumbled.
”Said cut it out,” Rini was quick to say. “This is only the third animal we've seen. Do we need to go back to Mrs. Standlord and tell her you two can't make it past here?”
The two looked away from each other. “No.” They replied in unison.
”Okay.” The rat let out a breath. “So, let's simmer down a little bit, and listen to what Liz has to say about giraffes,” she gestured to the rabbit.
Lyza folded her arms and gave a quizzical look. “What makes you think I have something to say?” She questioned.
Rini blinked, her lips parting in confusion, like a cold wind had stalled her. “Well... I thought you were gonna say stuff about giraffes.”
There was a few seconds of silence as Lyza maintained her expression.
”...L-Like you did for the rhinos and the zebras,” Rini added. “You were... saying something about camels and leopards?”
The two younger cubs exchanged glances, Ziggy-Zee managing to stifle a snicker.
”I have no clue what you're talking about,” the rabbit finally said, dropping her folded arms. “I don't know anything about giraffes; dunno what gave you that impression.”
”O—Okay...” Rini looked about, confused. “But, I could have sworn you said something about camels and leopards... So, did you at least have a thought or something you wanna finish?”
”I didn't say anything,” Lyza replied, flatly. “Musta heard some other group in the wind, or something.”
Rini glanced around, and didn't see any other groups or families close by. “Okay... well... I guess... Should we just read the thing?” She pointed to the placard.
The rabbit shrugged. “You're the boss.”
Rini passed her camera from one hand to the other, and stepped over to the placard on the fence-line surrounding the giraffe's enclosure. The others followed her, and the mother giraffe walked by, shielding them from the sun in her shadow.
The rat cleared her throat.
”The Giraffe is the tallest terrestrial mammal,” she read, her finger tracing over the words. “Its long legs and neck help it to eat the leaves and fruits of trees at heights that most other animals cannot reach.”
Cheri's tail swished as she saw the baby giraffe's tail do so, and it waddled toward the little pool of water to drink.
”Their habitat is primarily within the savannahs and woodlands of Africa,” Rini continued. “Giraffes live in groups o—”
”What's a savannah?” Asked Ziggy-Zee.
There were a few seconds of silence, and Lyza stared at the pattern on the mother giraffe's side as she started to walk again, wincing when the sun came out from behind her.
”Um...” Rini bit her lip. “I think... it's like... kinda grassy, kinda like a field, but hotter,” she answered. Then, she continued where she left off. “Giraffes live in groups of mothers and children, and the males live in groups on their own, until it's time to mate. Male hairyachery is determined by—”
”Hairachery? Whassat?” The vixen asked, tilting her head.
”Oh, um,” the rat looked up at the giraffe, as if asking for help. “Well, it's sort of like uh... y'know, who's the boss, then who's next in line, and on-and-on, y'know?”
”Hmm...” Cheri rested her chin on the railing, watching the baby trot over to its mother and bump its head against her leg. She smiled.
”...Is determined by necking,” the rat read on, “where they use their necks as weapons in a friendly duel. Giraffes are very friendly and peaceful. They spend nearly all of their lives standing up—even during sleep.”
As she read on, Ziggy-Zee also rested his chin on his arm, and let out a sigh.
Rini heard, and glanced to her left. “You guys... okay?” She asked. “...Did I kill your buzz threatening to go to the teacher?” She probed, sensing she had maybe bothered them.
”Nah,” the raccoon replied.
”This is just... kinda boring,” the vixen finished, lifting up and stretching. “Reading is boring... We do it all day.” She mumbled, turning about and leaning against the low stone wall. “Hey, Rini, I kinda gotta go tinkle.”
The rat nodded. “Okay... Why don't we take a quick potty-break, and then I think the hippos are next.”
They wandered away from the giraffes, Ziggy-Zee giving a weary-sounding bid farewell to the baby. There was a set of bathrooms not far, and Cheri trotted ahead of the group when they neared, into the ladies' side .
”Why don't you go, too?” Rini suggested to Ziggy-Zee.
”I don't gotta.” The raccoon replied.
”Try.” The rat urged. “We don't wanna have to stop too many times, otherwise we won't see as many animals,” she reasoned.
The raccoon rolled his eyes, and pushed into the door.
After a few seconds' pause, Rini turned toward the rabbit. “So...” She took in a breath.
”I know what you're doing.” Lyza stated, calmly but bluntly.
The rat held her breath for a second, and then let it sneak out. “Then you're one step ahead of me.” She said, shrugging and flashing a smile. She watched as the rabbit's white cheeks took on a tinge of red—and not from embarrassment.
”You don't get to play dumb,” she growled, folding her arms.
”Then... I'll be honest,” Rini swayed her hands a little as she spoke. “You're coming at me saying I'm doing something that you think is on purposes... But, I'm not doing anything that I'm aware of, and I don't know what it is you think I'm doing.”
”Bullshit,” the rabbit said in a low tone, narrowing her brows. “You got Ms. Hupp to put you in a group with me and two other kids that you know, and you told them to ask me a bunch of questions to try and make me look like an idiot for not being able to answer them.”
Rini's expression and shoulders went limp, her lips parting as she took in the rabbit's accusations.
”You told Ms. Hupp about how I had to give you a free lesson after you barged in on my flute practice,” she continued, connecting the dots. “And to top it all off, just now, you screwed up pronouncing the word hierarchy to try and goad me into making fun of you.”
The door to the boys' room squeaked as it was opened.
Rini's demeanor tightened up just enough for her to look at the raccoon. “Wash hands?” She asked, before he took more than one step out of the door.
He paused, and then stepped backwards back into the room, the door shutting with a squeak.
Rini looked back at the rabbit.
”It's just like how you signed me up for that stupid fucking spelling bee,” Lyza continued, as if nothing had interrupted them, “to make me look like a dipshit on stage in front of the whole fucking school, cuz you know goddamn well I have a hard time with vocabulary.”
Rini looked down, swallowing.
”Joke's on you, bitch,” Lyza added with a smirk. “I came here over the weekend. Read all the signs, and memorized everything I could. So you can try, but I'll be damned if I make it easy for you.”
Rini brought the back of her wrist to her eye, rubbing it. “I'm sorry, I—”
The door squeaked again. “Washed,” the raccoon announced, showing his hands. “You can still smell the soap.” He sniffed his fingers. “See?”
”Zigg, no,” the rat said, weakly, lifting her hand up and turning her chin away. “I'm not gonna smell your fingers,. That's weird.”
The raccoon giggled, then looked at the door to the girls' room. “Is she still in there?” He questioned. “Ugh, why's it take girls so long to pee?” He scuffed the ground with the bottom of his shoe.
”Cuz, we can't pee standing up,” Lyza replied.
The raccoon shook his head in surprise, looking up at the bunny. “Rully?”
”I... I gotta be right back,” Rini said in a hushed tone, pushing against the door to enter the restroom.
Ziggy sputtered his lips. “Now there's two of 'em in there. They'll take all day.”
”We don't take that long. Sheesh,” the rabbit chuckled.
”Well what'd you mean you can't stand up when ya pee?” The raccoon asked.
”I ain't sayin' any more,” Lyza replied. “I'm just sayin' we can't, and that's all you need to know.” She wagged her finger from side-to-side at each syllable.
He grumbled, but more in a way that he understood he probably shouldn't press the questions. “So... You know Rini?”
Lyza's expression fell a little. She shrugged. “We're in the same class.” She replied.
”Oh, I thought you were her friend. I was like, 'huh, I thought I knew all Rini's friends, but I never seen her before.'”
”Well, we do go back a little ways, I guess... We've been in the same class before, a couple times.”
”That's cool,” he remarked. “Me 'n' Cheri kinda go back a ways, too. Kinda. We've never been in the same class 'till this year, but we were in the same pre-school, and even the same day-care when we were really little.”
”You two coulda played with each other a lot and not even realize it.” The rabbit smiled.
”...Sounds like... you guys should be good friends, then, right?” Lyza said, with a hinting inflection.
Ziggy-Zee's tail twitched, and he folded his arms. “She's been kinda pickin' on me lately. And she gets all grumpy when I hang out with my friends... But I don't get mad at her when she ha—”
The door opened.
The vixen walked out, smoothing down her skirt as the door closed behind her. “Taking about moi?” She asked.
”talkin' about how you can't pee standing up,” he said.
”Gross. Why would you pee standing up? You'd get it all over your legs.”
”No ya don't,” he said, half-quizzically. “Giraffes pee standing up, I bet. Thing said they stand up almost all their lives.”
”Wait, no, now you're back on talking about potty stuff. Ugh,” the vixen stuck out her tongue. “Seriously?”
The door opened.
”Can't you just go five seconds without talking about peeing or pooping?”
”Can't you go three seconds without whining?”
”How about you both shut up.”
The door closed shut quietly, but the soft noise it made could be heard amongst the four.
”Well. Let's go,” the rat said, sternly, stepping ahead.
The other two followed closely, with the rabbit a few paces behind.
Cheri and Ziggy-Zee exchanged glances, keeping quiet with ears perked up and tails in-line as they made their way to the next enclosure.
There was a large pool in this one, with an equally large hippopotamus sitting within it. Though the hippo appeared to be motionless, the water rippled around it.
Rini stepped up to the placard.
”The hippopotamus, or hippo, is the third-largest land mammal, behind elephants and white rhinos,” she read, in a plain and even tone. “Much like pigs, they keep themselves cool by wading in rivers and swamps, but their closest relatives are wha—Is this still boring?” She questioned the kids, interrupting herself.
They tensed up.
”Cuz if it's boring, I dunno what to do to make it funner. So you tell me, what can I do, huh?”
Cheri swallowed, steeling herself. “Um... We... We liked just... kinda talking about the animals... asking questions and stuff.”
”You can ask if you want,” Rini said. “But I might not have any answers for you.”
The kids relaxed a little, hearing the rabbit speak up.
There was a moment of silence, as Lyza leaned on the railing against the stone wall of the enclosure, looking down at the hippo as the water trembled about it.
”It's... I think it's... Kinda funny, how such a big animal really only eats grass, like a cow, don't you think?”
Ziggy-Zee cracked a timid smile.
”Actually,” the rabbit raised up, her palms gripping the rail as she half-stretched on it. “Hippos are called cows and bulls, just like... well, cows and bulls. The babies are called calves, and groups are called herds.”
The raccoon chuckled. “Can you tip 'em like cows?” He asked.
”Um... I think cow-tipping is actually a myth,” the rabbit replied, “But... You probably don't want to try pestering a hippo. They may look lazy and oafish, but they're regarded as the most dangerous animal in Africa.”
”What?” The rat snapped.
Cheri flinched. “Um... I was just... gonna say... don't forget to take a picture or two.”
The rat blinked and her hand mindfully held the strap of her purse. “My battery's low,” she told the vixen. “I'm gonna save it for animals that are worth it.”