The San Francisco 49ers go head to head with the Baltimore Ravens, so who is our woodchuck and opossum rooting for?
I have done several posts before on our opossum Galileo.
Recently, he had an agenda of redecorating his bed
Here is a picture of Galileo opossum. You can see he has a keen eye for design by picking out paint swatches when he visited some museum employees.
He arrived with his brother, Einstein in September of 2011. He and his brother came to us from a rehabber that found them after their mother was killed by a car. They were too used to people and too young to be released. The two later were put into Sonny’s old exhibit in Carolina Wildlife. Sonny was then moved into our EHR and lives in a big playpen. In the beginning the brothers did well living together, but later had to be separated and one moved into the EHR because they started to quarrel too much. Now Einstein and Galileo switch places when the exhibit is super cleaned so you never know who you may see in the exhibit.
Thus far, we are able to find out that Galileo loves to walk around the halls like our old opossum Beaker used to. He also loves to do a clicking noise and is more concerned with scenting and sliming things then he is with trying to find things to eat.
*NOTE* This blog was scheduled for the 28th of January, but it kept getting moved!!! Pretend its January 28th.
What does this animal blog have to do with Jackson Pollock? For starters, its his birthday today and for those of you who have never heard of him, he is well known for “drip” style painting.
Personally, I am not much of a fan of abstract art. I tend to like the more traditional Baroque style like Rembrandt.
Then I was reminded that we have some famous artists in our midst around the department who are the more abstract art type and would appreciate Pollocks birthday.
I have to say I would rather have a Franklin adorn my walls at home than a Pollock.
It is with a heavy heart that I report the loss of our opossum Galileo. Recently he started to show signs of heavy labored breathing and his appetite had decreased greatly. We took him to the vet for x-rays on Tuesday October 15, 2013 and found that he had fluid in his chest cavity that was preventing him from breathing properly. It was determined that he needed to be euthanized. The final results of the necropsy are still pending, but the gross necropsy showed fluid around his heart leading to cardiomyopathy. For the first time since I started working here at the museum we will be without an opossum. I don’t know what I will do without one of these amazing animals to greet me every morning during AM treatments. He will be greatly missed. Below are some pictures of Galileo hanging out in the department.
Galileo has been the subject of several previous blog posts too.
Annie was terrified when she found Galileo in the ball so the ball now looks like this
But, since the opossum got out of the ball just fine, Katy and I think the ball should not be labeled “not for opossum use” but rather “not for Annie use”
It’s noon and here’s my report so far.
What I learned on Christmas: 1) The Blue Jay does not like head lamps; 2) Lycus may wander, but he comes back; 3) Yona doesn’t like grapes; 4) when you have no donkey treats in the Farmyard and you need the donkey to take his meds, even if you try every single kind of dried fruit known to humankind, you still have to go back to the building to get donkey treats for this stubborn old ass.
What I already knew, but was reminded of during the day: 1) Donald is awesome; 2) Mimi doesn’t like to be awoken while snoozing in the bear house 3) your glasses fog a lot while doing dishes; 4) when you have no donkey treats in the Farmyard and you need the donkey to take his meds, even if you try every single kind of dried fruit known to humankind, you still have to go back to the building to get donkey treats for this stubborn old ass.
The worst things to happen today: 1) I lost my keys around 6:30 AM ; 2) I let Lycus into the Keeper aisle and 3) I dropped the almost empty lemur food containers on the floor and spattered applesauce and muck everywhere.
So, the day goes like so:
I arrived later than desired; around 5:40 this morning (I was up at 3:38 AM and thought it was too early to go to work. I fell back asleep and my alarm woke me at 5:30. I live around the corner from the Museum so I was on grounds quickly). I check in with the Security Guard, give him his Christmas present (he tells me his kids are probably already up since it’s Christmas). Stop in my office, where I found this nice note and cookies. (Thanks Kimberly).
It’s dark and some of the lights are on timers. Thank goodness there was a leak under the aviary yesterday and my head lamp is still sitting on my desk. This is the only somewhat positive thing I can think about my crawling under the muskrat and aviary exhibits drying up puddles, searching for the leak while trying not to get my hair stuck or crawl through smushed roaches as I am lying down scooting on my belly. I put the head lamp on and begin.
I move all four logbooks into the vet room and make my plan of attack. I get my treatments ready and read the notes that Sarah, Kimberly, and Katy left for me. Katy has my medicines all organized and labeled and ready to go so it’s pretty easy to start. I prepare the medicine for the ferrets and head on in to the dark Education animal holding room. No worries though, since I have my head lamp on. However, the Blue Jay apparently thinks this is the worst thing EVER, and SCREAMS. Loudly, constantly- it’s really impressive- he could hold his own with the red ruffed lemurs alarm calling. I cannot turn off the light so get the ferrets their medicine and leave the room. Things quiet at this point (thank goodness).
I decide not to try to find every animal immediately since it is just too dark. (I had issues last year finding everyone in the dark) so I head into the kitchen and set up all the indoor animals’ food:
Things are fine in Carolina Wildlife. Galileo opossum seems to be the only animal up and moving around. He’s finished all of his food from yesterday and greets me at his door when I open it up. Things move quickly in here. I head upstairs to give Shelly Turtle his meds. I stare at the elevator long and hard, deciding whether or not to risk getting in the elevator when no one is around in case I should get stuck. (Guess what I did?). Shelly swims under rocks trying to avoid my hand, but I win and his meds are on and I am heading back downstairs.
It’s light enough now so I can find every animal (only needed to search for two snakes that could not be seen through the window- any guesses which two?). I start cleaning the education animal room. I give the blue jay a peanut and make the mistake of trying to change his dirty newspaper with him in the cage. He, again, apparently doesn’t like this and takes off. He hops around the room and I let him into a playpen while I finish feeding, checking, and cleaning everyone. Jaybird forgives easily and he hops on my finger to head back to his home (peanut still in his mouth).
Donald arrives a bit before 8 AM so we gather our items for outside and begin. Chummix goat takes his meds really easily. Yay for Chummix. Both pigs took their meds easily, although I did got some poop on my hands while touching their snouts. Yuck.
As I am sure you’ve already figured out, Lightning was a bit more particular about his meds. I couldn’t find any donkey treats (“cookies”) but found a huge container of a dozen or so dried fruits. Lightning sniffed each item I tried and nothing. I’m sure Rocky and Patches were thrilled as each item the donkey sniffed and did not eat did not go back into the container but rather into a goat’s mouth.
So, back to the building to dig out a box of donkey treats from the freezer, and then back to the farmyard to give Lightning his meds- taken oh-so-easily between two donkey treats just as Sarah told me it would be.
After I set Donald up in the farmyard I moved on out to Explore the Wild. First stop, the bear cliff, where I find Virginia resting in her pile of hay.
I find Yona at the other end of the cliff and get her meds to her as well. Fairly uneventful, so I am off again. I wake Mimi up in the bear house. She huffs at me. I was ready and apologetic, but she would not take my peace offering of an apple slice. Gus was snoozing in the cave and didn’t budge. Only Virginia decided to make her way down the cliff as I was scattering food.
The wolves seemed fine- both high on their cliff – so it was off to the lemurs.
All 6 lemurs were indoors and all seemed fine. Kimberly left me another note in the lemur house explaining the enrichment. I decide to clean upstairs first, and feed the ring tailed lemurs. No real issues here, and no one has screamed at me. Historically, the red ruffed lemurs yell at me on Christmas and something gets knocked over somewhere, somehow, but not this year. I come downstairs and start to clean out the ring tailed lemur stall. I have no idea how it happened, but I turn around and step out and there is Lycus standing in the keeper aisle. I am not concerned, just confused. I go to try to shoe him back inside, but then Cassandra starts to head out the open door. Whoops. So I shift Cassandra and Satyrus over to the next stall. Lycus walks back on his own (really) and into the stall. Problem now is that Cassandra and Satyrus don’t want to leave stall 2. Oh well, so be it.
I move on to the red ruffed lemurs. I lock them out of 2 of their stalls. I clean and feed and hang the enrichment bags in there and then try to shift them over so I can clean the third stall without upsetting any lemur or losing any lemur. Only Jethys decides to move over though- that’s her with her head in the enrichment bag of Craisins. (MOM- if you are reading this post you should know that the lemur enrichment bags are the Valentines Day goody-bags from our family vacations in San Diego from previous years).
So, I head into the last stall to clean. Iris and Cynthia are calmly hanging out overhead while I clean the floor and spread out the food. When I am all done I stand up and then Iris pees. Literally, right where I had just cleaned. It was like karma ghosts of Christmas’ past aligned so that finally I would have something go right at lemurs. Thanks Iris for not peeing on me!!!
I finish up, head back to the Farmyard, check on Donald, and then back to the building where things continue to progress fairly easily.
It’s around noon. I am heading home and will be back at the end of the day to finish up. I hope everyone is having as lovely a Christmas morning as I have had. Until 2013…
Recently, a friend of the Animal Department donated some eggs to feed our animals. The animals that we usually feed eggs to are the bears,wolves,opossums and recently we gave one to the muskrats. In my opinion the opossums love them the most.They are real eager to eat them. Here is a little video I made of Galileo and Sonny Opossum devouring the gifted eggs.
Over the years we have shared numerous pictures of our opossums
We have Virginia Opossums here at the Museum. They are the only marsupial in North America! There are 80 other species of opossum that live in South America and Australia. Fossils from opossums have been found dating back 65 million years!!
The Virginia Opossum lives only 2-4 years. During this very short lifespan it is constantly on the move for food and doesn’t have a territory. With 50 teeth they eat everything from slugs to berries and cat food to roaches. They have an opposable thumb on their back feet as well as a prehensile tail- everything you need to be aboreal. They are also noctural, often nest in tree hollows and can play “dead” as a defense. Opossums are far more resistant to rabies than any other animal. Females give birth 13 days after mating- the tiny baby has to make its way from the birth canal to its mother’s pouch. There it stays for 2-3 months and then spends another 1-2 riding on mom’s back before it’s ready to be on its own. Females can give birth up to twice a year.
Here are just a few species from Australia and South America:
Brush Tailed Opossum can live up to 11 years and gives birth to one young at a time
Ring Tailed Opossums have a specialized digestive system and eat leaves- even eucalyptus leaves.
Pygmy Opossums are nectar and insect eaters and are even know to torpor
Fat Tailed Mouse Opossum who’s tail thickens seasonally due to the storage of fat
Brown Four Eyed Opossum is terrestrial and doesn’t have a pouch and get their name from a white spot that they have above each eye