Barnum’s brood: in search of the Petite Lap Giraffe

“Okay, I’m on the waitlist!” said my husband matter-of-factly.

I looked up from my computer hesitantly. “Waitlist for what?” I dared to ask.

“A petite laptop giraffe.”

“Oh, good.” (Can you hear my eyes roll?)

For two days, my husband had been jokingly claiming he wanted one (this, as we were about to put a deposit down on a puppy—of the canine variety) in reaction to a television commercial featuring a Russian tycoon who apparently has everything a man could possibly desire—including a miniature giraffe. It’s an odd decision for a symbol of ultimate frivolity, but perhaps it is that very peculiarity that makes the hoax nearly believable.

Sokolovsky Farms purports to sell miniature giraffes spawned from a single nineteenth-century circus animal. (Courtesy Sokolvsky Farms)

The Sokoblovsky Farms website (where my husband was able to get on the waitlist for the year 2518) presents an array of photographs, videos, and information that enchants the reader into believing it breeds two-foot-tall “Petite Lap Giraffes.” “It all started when Great Grandfather Nicolas escaped circus with best friend Alex, the giraffe,” the site explains, accompanied by two sepia photographs of Nicolas with his diminutive pet. The delicate creatures, we are told, must be fed a diet of distilled water and bonsai leaves, and require extraordinary care, including weekly bubble baths and douses of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral suites.

While I might have believed some well-spun tale about an eccentric Russian circus-animal breeder, it was those latter details that gave the hoax away. Still, I appreciate the Barnum-esque promotion which had me wondering if such a creature could exist. Elsewhere online, Petite Lap Giraffes have spawned a brief, but interesting debate about the possibility of their existence. Aside from those who chime in only to call near-believers idiotic, the overwhelming reaction is: “I wish it was real.” (See Ian Dennis Miller’s blog for photographic disproof and a slew of such comments.)

But why? Does this reflect a desire for the exotic? A Noah’s Ark impulse to nurture and protect? Or simply a space for the imagination to play? Are we so desperate to believe in something that we will believe anything—if its marketed well? Barnum, at least, would be pleased.

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Post navigation

3 thoughts on “Barnum’s brood: in search of the Petite Lap Giraffe

  1. Nice post – I like your style. I actually think it wouldn’t be impossible to breed a petite lap giraffe, but I don’t think it would look quite so dainty as the lap giraffes, as they are depicted on the Sokoblovsky website.

    …but I think you’re onto something with your speculation as to our motives regarding the unbelievable. A friend of mine recalled the iconic X-Files “I want to believe” posters, and I think that is pretty close… Personally, I wanted to believe, and it a genuinely hilarious feeling of wonderment for about 10 minutes. I’m actually pretty grateful to the Grey Group for pulling off a really fun stunt!

  2. Pingback: Waaaaaaaaaant!! - Top Hat Reviews Forums

  3. its really or not? i still don’t believe it, giraffe mini is funny and I like it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: