Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Zoo Days

I usually only volunteer at Turtle Back Zoo on every other Saturday, but I went for the whole weekend. I had a great time. For both days the weather was beautiful and walking around the zoo was really nice. The humidity was not high so the animals were active.

On Saturday, I watched the prairie dogs run around and play with each other. They make you laugh. Two were sliding down the hill and then would crouch down as a cat does, then go after each other.

Every time I am there I can't wait to visit Bogart the elk. I have to see how much more his antlers have grown. You know they fall off every year and he grows new ones. They are not like horns that stay with the animal their whole life. It is so fascinating to watch the process from a little stump, to a bigger stump with fuzz, to a full blown beautiful rack. And they grow a little bigger every year - amazing.

I took a few pictures of the animals to post to show you who is there at the zoo.

This crow is my favorite, besides the snakes. He says hello. It is so cute. I know most people don't know that crows can be trained to talk. When I figure out how to attach a video, I will let you hear him.

My favorite crow

Red Panda

Usually, the bats are sleeping since they are nocturnal animals, meaning that they sleep in the day time and come out at night. But this fellow decided to walk around and make him known to the visitors. It was so neat to watch him walk upside down across the ceiling grid. A rat with wings but they are so cute.


Peaches the Alligator

This is one of the Wallaby's and she has a Joey (baby) sticking out of her pouch. I waited and waited until the baby wanted to stick his head out. You know you must have patience with animals. First he stuck the top of his head out and then he turned around in the pouch and stuck out his tail. But then, after patiently waiting, he stuck his head out enough to take a picture. Look carefully because he blends right in with the mother. I'll show some updates once he comes fully out of the pouch. They are so cute.

Wallaby with Joey

My main reason for becoming a docent was to spread how we should have respect for animals and what we could learn from them. Even if you are not a true fan of animals, you can still respect them. That's why I am so glad to be an animal handler at the zoo. No I do not handle the lions and tigers and bears. Oh, we don't have lions and tigers. But we do have black bears. They look so cuddly - from a far of course. But we have presentations on the small animals.

My favorites are the reptiles. I love, love, love snakes. I can't feed them, but I love to hold them. I love to compare their different skin tones, patterns and size. I think it is so interesting to look at the different patterns and know that where they come from they use that for camouflaging. They can just blend in.

On Sunday, I handled the ball python and the box turtle. Because it was so sunny we took them outside instead of staying in the classroom. They are cold blooded so they need the heat from the sun to keep their temperature up to warm their bodies.

Now the box turtle is very interesting because you can at least know if you have a girl or a boy turtle by the color of their eyes. The male has red eyes and the female has brown eyes. So simple, which I like. And they are called a box turtle because they have like a hinge on the bottom of their shell, which if they are threatened or scared they can stick their head and legs in and shut their shell as if they were shutting a door - remarkable.

I've learned a lot since I have volunteered at the zoo. And there is so much more to learn. That's why I keep volunteering because I am eager to learn more. Enjoy the pictures.

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