Quirky Jack Hanna
of Pax TV's Animal Adventures
is so dedicated to his wild creatures that he once tried to talk his wife into breast-feeding a finicky baby chimp!
The animal handler came up with the wacky plan several years ago during a particularly frustrating bottle-feeding session with the difficult chimp. Hanna remembers looking across the room at his wife, Sue, who was breast-feeding their daughter at the time. "Well, you know, my brain just clicked in," he tells the TV Guide Channel.
"I said, 'Hey Sue, would you come over here?' " he recalls. "Before I even finished she goes, 'No way, Jack!' because she thought I'd tell everybody. Well, she didn't do it and I'm tellin' everybody anyway. The chimp lived, to make a long story short."
Hanna actually credits his wife and kids for playing an important part in helping to raise the many wild animals in his menagerie. "We've had camels in our kitchen," he says. "We've had five lion cubs raised with my first daughter."
But it's not always one big happy family for Hanna. He once got a nasty bite from a beaver during an apperance on NBC's Late Night With David Letterman and he had his share of close calls while working on the 1960s TV nature show Wild Kingdom.
"I almost lost my finger to a 19-foot anaconda," he says. "The whole finger was in his mouth and it was there for about 20 minutes. I had to have a lot of shots and it hurt."
Believe it or not, the brave animal handler finds his toughest nemeses these days are little ol' pussycats; he developed an allergy to the furry felines just a few years ago. "I just get itchy and sneeze and get sick, and go on with my work."