Carolina Wildlife Posts

by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Dream a little dream

February 28th, 2014

Have you ever wondered if animals dream?  There’s no doubt in my mind they do and a while ago MIT did research and found out that animals do indeed dream. Here is the article.

Often I wonder what our animals could be dreaming of. Below is a guess of mine:

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

New Songbirds

February 13th, 2014

We’ve got some new birds that will be heading to the Aviary in Carolina Wildlife soon. All the birds were found injured in Tennessee and could not be released to the wild with their injuries. They arrived at the Museum in January and have been behind the scenes in quarantine. None of them can fly, so look low in the Aviary in the next few weeks to see our new residents.

 

2 of our new mourning doves

the killdeer, and one of the mourning doves

 

our newest Robin has a red band on its leg.

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Super Bowl XLVIII

February 1st, 2014

The Super Bowl is coming up and happens to be on Ground Hog Day. We’ve done several posts on Ground Hog day because of  Henry. Previously, we did Super Bowl predictions a few times. Henry managed to make his choice again for 2014, when the Denver Broncos will be playing Seattle Seahawks.

YouTube Preview Image

If Henry happens to guess wrong, I know a few people who will be VERY disappointed!

 

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  1. Henry has been wrong for 3 or 4 years in a row so for all you gamblers out there I recommend for next year you pick the opposite of what Henry picks!!!

    Posted by Katy

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Big Word of the Month: Prehensile

January 21st, 2014

If you’ve been to a Meet the Keeper program at Lemurs, you may have heard someone ask if the Red Ruffed Lemurs have “thumbs” or “fingers” on the ends of their tails. The answer is “no”; the little bit of naked tail that sticks out in varying lengths from the normally furry tails of our lemurs is a by-product of over grooming. The Red Ruffed lemurs will occasionally groom their tail tips by licking, chewing or rubbing at them with their fingers and subsequently, have removed tufts of fur from the ends. The naked bit of tail can bend and curl just like the rest of their tails, but it isn’t prehensile.

So what exactly is “prehensile”?

It’s defined as an appendage or organ found on a vertebrate animal that has the ability to grasp or hold.

Though the definition seems simple enough,  it’s not always so black and white. Think about the tail of a Virginia Opossum or the lips on a rhino or donkey. They have the ability to grasp or manipulate objects, but can’t really hang on tightly. In those cases, the appendage is considered “semi-prehensile.”

 

Here are some examples of prehensile appendages in the animal world: new world monkey tail (like Spider Monkeys), octopus arms, chameleon feet, prehensile-tailed porcupine tails, Giraffe tongues, primates with a thumb have prehensile hands and sygnathidae tails.

Photo Credit: ARKive.org
Photo Credit (Prehensile tailed porcupine): The Creature Teachers, Littleton, Mass.
Lycus the Lemur is our photo.

Here are a few more “semi-prehensile” appendages: elephant trunk tip, camel lips and snake tails.

Photo Credit (elephant): ARKive.org
Photo Credit (camel): ImageShack user “poojambasaurus”
The grumpy baby Northern pinesnake is our photo

 

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  1. On the other hand, nobody is sure if these v3 diet pills that are being advertised through v3 diet pills online work well for the obese patients. Fen-phen was a combination of the v3 diet drugs fenfluramine and phentermine.

    Posted by Judson

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.

Why You Should Always Carry A Camera: Reason 1

December 28th, 2013

Every morning Henry, the woodchuck, gets an Efa Capsule to keep his skin and coat looking good. Usually he takes his medicine very well especially if you put it on banana, a piece of bread or if he is really lucky on a Henry sized peanut butter sandwich. This morning when I opened Henry’s door to give him his medication I was greeted by him sitting in his bed, staring at me, patiently waiting for his medicine. Upon closer inspection I noticed he had a walnut shell placed just perfect over the tip of his nose, just like Rudolph, but instead of a red nose he had a walnut nose! No words can explain how adorable this was and how bummed I was to know I wasn’t carrying a camera! So instead of that adorable picture of Henry I leave you with these.

Henry

Henry making his bed.

Henry checking out Barred Owls.

Henry checking out my jacket.

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  1. awwwwwww!!!

    Posted by Jill
  2. He’s the greatest!

    Posted by Shawntel

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Christmas 2013

December 25th, 2013

thanks for the sweet potatoes Donna

Twas the night before Christmas and left at my house, a bag of sweet potatoes for the Museum Bears.  (If I were Sarah, I am sure I could have come up with some great rhyme… in fact she probably could write my entire Christmas post to the Poem Twas the night before Christmas- check out her previous poems here and here).

The day started with me very very tired, and unable to find my glasses. I’ve got about 10-15 pillows on my bed and even removing all of them still no glasses. I gave up, found my spare glasses, made a cup of coffee, and made my way to the Museum around 5:15

Here’s the rundown for the day so far:

I move all the logbooks in one space and check out my “to do” lists, and in a room that has light not on a timer so I can see easier.

 

 

Katy has set up the supplies I need for treatments, and Jill has left a note for Donald (click on the note to enlarge it if you want to read it).

all the syringes and bowls and medicines lined up so I can work more efficiently. (Thanks Katy)

Jill’s note to Donald. The last part is my favorite as I have lived through this happening and it is not a pretty sight.

the muskrat had gathered all this food in the 5-10 minutes or so it took me to get my camera and come back

Yesterday, we solved the mystery as to why the waterfall at wolves was not running, so I was able to cross that off my list. (The wolves- I assume the male wolf – ate the electrical wires. That will have to be a separate post at a later date). Concerns about the muskrat were top priority so I donned my headlamp to go check him out. I couldn’t really see him, but did see that he had eaten overnight so I sigh of relief for now.

I fumble around- not getting into any sort of groove.  I put all the diets on the kitchen counter to help me make a plan of attack. My plan of attack is quite chaotic. I start something, realize I can’t see too well in the dark, re group, start something else…things go on like this for a while and before I know it I’ve been here 90 minutes.

Katy warned me that the ferrets would be difficult to keep in their exhibit and would rush the door upon closing. I felt confident in my plan however: I knocked on their door to wake them up (wanting them to use the litter pans before cleaning). Came back in five minutes with a CRATE and put all four inside:

Katy said to put them all in the yellow ring (below) upon leaving and that gives you enough time to close the door.  However, what really gives you enough time to close the door is spilling furotone (oil supplement) on each ferret so that everyone is licking everyone else and not even concerned about the door!

 

It’s light enough so I go make sure I can see the remaining animals. Franklin is busy eating his food and everyone else seems fine.

Franklin eating his lettuce

Donald and his granddaughter Caroline arrive a few minutes before 8AM. Caroline looks tired (I feel her pain), but Donald gets her to pose for the camera. I’ve never seen Donald not smile. It’s really amazing if you think about it. We review the plan for the Farmyard, get Caroline some gloves, and head outside.

Donald reading the note from Jill.

 

 

It takes a little effort to get our vehicles started, but we prevail. I was so hot working inside that I forgot it was just over 30 degrees outside and my drive is more than quite chilly.

I drive through the Farmyard to check on the critters, and then move on to the Explore the Wild Critters.

The alpacas seem fine on this chilly morning

male on the bottom and female towards the top of the den.

I take a bit of a skid through the icy patch at the MIST entrance in Catch the Wind. I hit wolves first. Both the wolves are waiting at the den area. No issues at all here. Everything is fine so move quickly to the bear exhibit.

Mimi, as expected, is sleeping in the house. I wake her, she huffs at me, I feel badly, she huffs at me again, I toss out food, she goes and eats. Gus is snoozing in the cave (sorry about the bad photo): he lifts his head and then puts it back down.

Gus in the den

Lemurs is the next stop. Absolutely no problems here- it’s actually a bit confusing. No one yelled at me, no one peed on me. I did not step in anything I didn’t want to. I did not dump my poop bucket. No lemur exited their stall. I think this is a first on Christmas to not have even one small problem occur. (Although as I type I realize I left the dustpan in the disinfectant can… I’ll have to remember to get that tonight.

The last stop is the bear cliff to check things out and give Yona her meds. I thought this would be a bit difficult, but Virginia has made her way down into the yard, so Yona just needs to stretch, stare at me for a minute or two, and then wander over to me at the fence.

I was even prepared: I had no yogurt cup but grabbed an extra bowl from lemurs to give Yona her meds in.

Yona was easy: “blueberry preserves” worked really well.

I head back to the Farmyard, deal with the raptors, and then head to the building. Dishes goes much better than last year (I just did not wear my glasses).

It’s possibly been one of the easiest Christmas’ I’ve worked – and I’ve worked every Christmas since 1993! I know the afternoon is still coming, but so far, so good. Merry Christmas everyone.

(Click here to read about some of my past Christmas’ at the Museum).

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  1. Keeper Comment :

    ‘Twas the morning of Christmas, and left on her porch, a bag of potatoes from Donna next door!

    The bears won’t be hungry this Christmas day; not that they’ll eat them again until May.

    The day started rough with glasses amiss, pillows were tossed, the room searched forthwith!

    Resigning their fate to the bedroom elves, spare glasses were acquired and some coffee was quelled.

    The morning began a mile away in the dark and quiet of the museum’s early day.

    Logbooks were stacked to be ordered and checked as the morning went on, there’s no going back to bed!

    Treatments were finished, notes were read. “Don’t let the pigs find the pumpkins!” Jill’s note to Donald said.

    In Explore the Wild, a present was left. “A gift from the wolves” the unwanted tag read. A gasket was shredded, the pumps’ plug was chewed off. “We’re saving you energy! A gift you didn’t think of!”

    As the morning wound down, all the animals were checked. Nothing went horribly wrong this year, how ’bout that?

    So thankful we are for this day of the year, when our boss comes in so we can stay here.

    “Here” might be close or miles away, but it matters greatly to us to be home Christmas Day.

    This year went well, and with a new one in sight,
    “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  2. Sarah for the win!

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Sam and Sam

December 18th, 2013

This is Sam, our newest snake. It is a baby black rat snake. S/he only weighs 11 grams. (Put two nickles in your hand and that’s about how much this snake weighs). Black rat snakes start life with this blotched pattern seen, but once they reach 18 inches or so they exhibit the more typical black-on-top, white-on-bottom pattern that people recognize for this species of snake.

This snake is named after a former volunteer of ours who passed away right before Thanksgiving. Volunteer Sam worked just about every Thursday morning for 15 years. He spent most of the first half of his time with us in the Farmyard, but by the last few years he was hanging out with the Education animals.  The amount of bending and squatting and scrubbing and raking and wiping he did for us is more than I can even count. There was a large black rat snake we used for education programs that Sam would take care of so we thought it would be fitting to name our newest arrival after him.

one of my favorite photos: Sam with opossum (I think this is Donut)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the photo below because it not only has Sam in it all dressed up for an awards luncheon, but also former “family” members: Thea was a keeper at the time of this photo, but you know here as one of the veterinarians we’ve worked with. Cassidy was a youth volunteer and then worked for us for a few years as a Keeper.

Sam Wheeler will be missed and remembered by me and many others.

Thea, Sam, Cassidy, and Karen

 

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  1. Sam was a great volunteer and he will be greatly missed. He was always so quiet, but once you got him talking he had some amazing stories to tell!

    Posted by Katy

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Thanksgiving Week.

November 28th, 2013

Aaron with Tim, Harvey, Vicky, and Pheobe

On Monday I drove to South Carolina to swap our alligators for smaller ones. Aaron and I arrived at the Museum around 5 AM to catch-up our current alligators. We use under-the-bed storage containers for transport. Our alligators are all less than 4 feet in length:  Drilling air holes and duct taping the container works great for transporting our alligators.

Our Alligators are on loan to us from Alligator Adventure. When ours get too big for their exhibit or holding tank, we exchange them for smaller ones.

This year, we got hatchlings. We like to start with little ones since our exhibit is on the small side. Travis and his crew unpacked our foursome and loaded me up with these little ones. I should have brought them a tiny travel container to share but I forgot, so I loaded the four up into one container for the ride home.

Travis with our newbies

Monday was FREEZING if you recall, and I was worried about these little guys in the back of the van not getting enough heat… So I wedged the container in the seat next to me, turned the air vents toward them, and blasted the heat. I in turn, took off my sweatshirt, sneakers, and socks, and leaned my left arm the on cold window trying to stay cool. I shut the heat off every time I felt like passing out (not really, but emotionally that’s how it felt) and then turned it on again when I felt better. This went on and on for the ride home, and worked fairly well with only one minor incident. At one point, the tub leaned against the window button and the window started down. While confused, I quickly jostled the tub and used my button to close it up. (I did enjoy the burst of cold air though!)

my travel companions wedged into the passenger seat for the ride home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I returned to the Museum it was time for the canebrake rattlesnake to get his/her shot. S/he has a recurring infection of the heat pit and every few years we need to “deal”. Click here to see how we safely do this.

And this is why I am posting today, on Thanksgiving. Jessi and Sarah have the honor of working Thanksgiving, Katy is in so we can give this snake the needed antibiotics. Katy will be gone by 9 AM, and Jessi and Sarah should be out around noon. They’ll leave me a list of what I need to do at closing.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone!

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.

Another Sad Day in the Animal Department

November 4th, 2013

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 with his Thundershirt.

Galileo with his socks on.

Galileo in shredded paper.

Galileo using his tail.

Galileo has been the subject of several previous blog posts too.

Galileo walking in Loblolly Park

Galileo and Annie

Galileo Super Bowl Prediction 2013

Galileo and his paper

Galileo Super Bowl 2012

 

 

 

 

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  1. So sorry about that little ‘possum. I know he was a favorite with many.

    Posted by Wendy
  2. So very sorry to hear of your loss. He was a cutie!

    Posted by Sue Cripe

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by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

QuikPic: Henry

September 24th, 2013

Peanut Butter and Cone Enrichment

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  1. This is a hilarious picture. Thanks for the laugh.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  2. This is my new favorite picture of Henry!

    Posted by Shawntel

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