Education Posts

by , Keeper
I have been a keeper at the museum since May 2012, but I was an intern back in the spring of 2011. I am very passionate about animals and my favorites are native species with the exception of sloths. In my spare time, I am working on a Bachelor's degree with OSU online in environmental science. I have two dogs, a snake, and a cat.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and you will usually see me somewhere in Explore the Wild. I love giving keeper talks, so hope to see you at 2 pm for our meet the keeper programs in Explore the Wild.

Upcoming Birthday Celebration!

March 23rd, 2014

Cynthia, our oldest Red Ruffed Lemur, will be turning 33 years old on March 30th.  On March 27th, the Explore the Wild team (Autumn and myself) will be providing Cynthia and the other Red Ruffed Lemurs with different types of enrichment and food items so that we can celebrate this milestone.  This will provide the Red Ruffed Lemurs with great opportunities to interact with different food items and enrichment plus give the keepers a chance to take a lot of pictures!  So, this will be very enriching to the keepers.

 

My next post will show what we did for Cynthia on her big day plus how she and the other Red Ruffed Lemurs interacted with all the items.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    We’ve already had a couple bags of fruit and other goodies dropped off. Thanks Neighbor:

    http://blogs.lifeandscience.org/keepers/2013/03/24/spotlight-my-anonymous-neighbor/

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. Congratulations to Cynthia for being one of the oldest Red-ruffed lemurs in captivity in the world – You go girl!!! Get your party on!!!

    Posted by Katy
  3. Precisely what a beneficial post you will have. Thanks for this promote.Such a informative post you might have.

    Posted by Antonio Bigbee

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

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

 

Join the conversation:

  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

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

What is that?

December 31st, 2013

Photo

Photo

Don’t think this is a Photoshopped blog this time, even though it looks like a zebra-deer-giraffe….

Well, I’m not sure what else it looks like. But, it does exist and is called an OKAPI. I chose this animal because it is interesting to look at and  are recently declared  endangered.

Okapi (Okapia johnstoni) are more related to giraffes and they live in the forest. Science was not aware of these animals until the early 1900′s and a lot of information we know about them come from captive populations. In the wild, you would find them in the Republic of Congo munching on leaves, grass, fungi and fruits.The leopard is its natural enemy, but the reason for its endangered status is because of destruction of its habitat. Civil war in the area also poses complications for those working to save the species.

Quick Facts:

Their tongue is long enough to clean their own ears

Male okapis have horns

They have been known to live up to 30 years in captivity

 

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.
Tags: ,

Tales of tongues

November 22nd, 2013

The other day I was in the farmyard and talking with Max. Yes, I talk with the animals. They may not understand me when I tell them certain things, but they do recognize commands that are given and I know that they are not able to tell me they are tired of hearing the same stories. When I converse with our steer he tends to lick my arms, hands and anything else I might be holding. It is most likely he is not doing this because I am his awesome caretaker, but he wants to taste the salt that is on my skin. The most surprising thing that a lot of people don’t know is that the texture of Max’s tongue is rough like a cats, the reason for this is most likely grooming. The best part of Max’s tongue is that it has the ability to reach into his nostrils and lick out whatever may be lurking in there. Snot, dirt and boogers included.

The tongue of a giraffe is 18-20 inches! While researching many sources say that it is dark in color to prevent sunburning while it is used to pull leaves off trees

The blue whale possesses the largest tongue. It weighs 2.7 tons  and is rumored to be its predators (orca whales) most desired part to eat.

 

The anteater has a 2 foot tongue which has very sticky saliva so insects have little chance of escaping and it dines on them.

 

Snakes can smell by having  a forked tongue that collects particles in the air and brings them into the Jacobson’s organ which can then  detect what they are.

Photo

Kent would get mad if I didnt mention the Blue Tongued Skink who flashes his tongue to scare predators away

photo

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

by , Keeper
I have been a keeper at the museum since May 2012, but I was an intern back in the spring of 2011. I am very passionate about animals and my favorites are native species with the exception of sloths. In my spare time, I am working on a Bachelor's degree with OSU online in environmental science. I have two dogs, a snake, and a cat.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and you will usually see me somewhere in Explore the Wild. I love giving keeper talks, so hope to see you at 2 pm for our meet the keeper programs in Explore the Wild.

Caterpillars

November 8th, 2013

Did you know that you can be stung by caterpillars?

I was surprised when I got stung by one on the wolf cliff in Explore the Wild.  I didn’t know that it was a caterpillar at first but after describing what it felt like to the other keepers, they said it had to have been a caterpillar.  At that point, I was on a mission to find out what exactly stung me.  I needed to have a plan to properly complete my mission so that I could educate myself, other keepers and museum visitors.

First, I needed to remember where on the wolf cliff that I got stung.  Second, I needed to have a camera on me at all times to capture the creature.  Not a very complex plan but it turned out to be harder than I thought.  Could it have been a sting and run?

After about two weeks, I finally found the creature.  On a small plant, on top of the wolf cliff I found the caterpillar.

 

Any ideas on what kind of caterpillar?

Seeing caterpillars is not new here at the museum.  Keeper Sarah and Ranger Greg have made post on these interesting creatures.  In my next post, I will show you other caterpillars I have encountered while out in Explore the Wild.

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Think it may be a Saddleback Caterpillar.

    Posted by Hans
  2. Yes, that is definitely a Saddleback. I’ve been stung more times than I can remember. Unfortunately, it’s not picky about its food plant and can be found almost anywhere. It turns into a small brown moth.

    Posted by Richard
  3. Keeper Comment :

    Richard, thanks for the information. I was very curious on what exactly stung me.

    Posted by Jessi Culbertson

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

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.

Godzilla

October 24th, 2013

There have been many instances where the keepers go through difficult times. Unfortunately, we experienced the loss of our education bearded dragon, Godzilla.

Godzilla was with us for a long time. When he first came, I would tend to have him resting on me when I sat in the office where he chilled and just looked around.

We noticed Godzilla not acting his usual self and his appetite declined. He was taken off program usage and allowed to get rest and the vet care he needed. Godzilla never made a recovery and the best thing to do was euthanize him.

I felt very sad, but I knew Godzilla had  great care at the museum and he was a popular program animal.

 

 

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

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.

AAZK Conference for 2013

October 13th, 2013

Last year I was lucky enough to be able to attend the American Association of Zookeepers conference.

This year, a lot of us keepers were very lucky to be able to attend because it was held in North CarolinaKeeper Sarah and I were also lucky, because we were selected to present a paper this year. The topic was on enrichment and focused on inexpensive or free options. Even though I was presenting, it was said that Sarah was much more nervous then I, but all went well.

Special thanks goes out to Wendy for helping us with our professional looking power point! Luckily, Sherry signed me up for a course in this years conference that taught a lot about power point presentations and I think I finally have a good grasp of it.

 

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Wolf Awareness Week, October 13th-19th of 2013

October 10th, 2013

As in years passed, the museum is gearing up for Wolf Awareness Week. At 2pm starting October 13th,there is a Keeper talk located at wolf overlook all week long.

This year, our local  chapter of the  AAZK will be at wolf overlook on Saturday and Sunday to help guests make enrichment for our own red wolves.

Those days are Sunday, the 13th of October 1pm-4pm and Saturday the 19th of October 12pm-3pm.

Join the conversation:

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

The Fossa

September 20th, 2013

A fossa eating a meal

 

This is a fossa, it is the main predator of lemurs. As you can see it kinda looks like a cat, but actually,  it is related to the mongoose. They live in Madagascar and can grow up to 6 feet long but only weigh about 25 lbs. The fossa isn’t just a predator to lemurs, it’s the islands largest predator and a strict carnivore, so it feeds on just about anything it can. (although lemurs are their favorite meal)  Similar to a cat they do  have retractable claws,  large teeth and hunt ambush style. They are solitary animals that spend their time on the ground and in the trees, hunting both day and night. A very agile animal that can maneuver high up in the trees with ease and can travel up to 16 miles per day. They are considered adults at 4 years of age, females give birth to 2-4 pups a year, in a den she has made. After 4 months the pups leave the den, then stay with their mother for another 8 months. After about 2 years fossa pups move off on their own.

And sadly they are endangered, primarily due to habitat loss.

 

fossa pup

Join the conversation:

  1. “they’re always annoying us by trespassing, interrupting our parties, and ripping our limbs off”.

    -King Julien

    Awesome animal, misleading spelling of the name also as it is pronounced foo-sah

    Posted by mattS

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

If you have an account on any of the Museum's blogs, you can sign in with the same login to contribute to the discussion.

If you don't have an account, signing up is free and easy.

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.

Rabbit joy!

September 18th, 2013

The other day I was in the farmyard and observing our two rabbits, Betty and Jean.

Occasionally, I will give them access to run around inside the whole barn where they are kept so they can get some exploring time before guests arrive.

At this time, I see them hopping back and forth and sometimes they will jump in the air and twist. This behavior is associated with positivity and excitement. This behavior actually has a name and its called “binky.” Unfortunately, I dont have a video of our rabbits cutting a binky, but there are many on youtube!

YouTube Preview Image

 

Join the conversation:

  1. I would like to see video of keepers imitating cutting a binky instead of random unknown rabbits.

    Posted by Leslie

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *