Since Keeper Jessi and I work the same schedule it means that someone has to cover ETW when we are on our weekend. Most recently, this person is Keeper Kent. In the bear house, we have large troughs which hold the bear’s water. You can only fill these troughs up so high or else they will be WAY to heavy to empty. On several occasions, Kent has filled these troughs up to the very top. So I have to assume that he thinks Jessi and I have become lady hulks.
I had to bail the water out as if I were on a sinking ship. You never know what you are going to find when someone else is covering your area!
Let’s take a look back at some of the goings on in the Animal Department. Some of these critters have moved on to further their careers and education, some of them have retired, some of them have passed away and some of them are still with us in the Animal Department, just older and wiser now! I have 10 years worth of memories and pictures of all the happenings in the Department… here are a few of my favorites! Keep your eyes peeled for many more to come!!!
In the Animal Department most of the keepers share an office. It is crazy to think, but we cram 6 keepers into 1 office! Sherry has her own office, but she has a window and her office opens into the Keeper office so she is always around much activity. Aaron has his own office, but it also has a window. For me I get to spend my time in the lonely Vet room without a window and without companionship so whenever an animal is ill and has to spend time in the Vet room I get a little too excited to have the company. Usually when an animal has to spend time in the Vet room it is for a very long period of time. We had a chicken (PPAL or Princess Poops A Lot) who spent over a year in the Vet room and there was Nimbus Rabbit who spent many months in the Vet room and now it is Zoe Turtle’s turn to hang out in the Vet room and I couldn’t be happier! I never in my life thought I would get so excited to have the companionship of a turtle but the days that Zoe gets to hang out with me are the best days of the week! I know he gets bored, but I enjoy his company greatly! Zoe is a water turtle and is recovering from a shell wound so he must be out of the water for a certain period of time to give the medication time to work. I’ve been trying to give him stuff to do while he “dry docks” (stays out of the water) but my ideas don’t seem to impress him, but today I put out a hide log and this is what he did with it!
On Friday May 23, 2014 I had a very special visitor to the Vet room and I was super excited! Many people don’t know but we have a Red-tailed Hawk who lives off exhibit behind-the-scenes and on Friday we had some electrician’s working in Misha’s area so Misha got to come hang out with me in the Vet room! It was the best day, I had Zoe and Misha to keep me company!
The alpacas found themselves with quite a number of visitors in their yard one evening last week. I was in the farmyard with Jill and Kent when they called over to me to come see the frog eggs in the alpaca pool.
I rescued as many eggs as I could and moved them to a 5 gallon bucket. I say rescued only because we drain and scrub the pool daily and these eggs were soon to be “thrown out with the bathwater.” Generally, wild animals are very rarely in any need of actual rescuing and human intervention often causes more problems for the animals than it remedies.
After our newly laid egg masses were removed from the pool and settled into their new home, Jill called Ranger Greg to help us answer my “what now?” question. He assured us that there’s nothing more we can do for the eggs but wait and once they hatch, they should be just fine eating the algae in the water for at least a little while. One source I looked at said the eggs will hatch into teeny, tiny tadpoles in anywhere from 4 to 14 days.
So now we wait. I am terrible at waiting -really, I’ve checked on the bucket at least a dozen times today, just to make sure they’re okay-.
In the meantime, do you have any ideas as to what kind of frogs these will grow up to be?
In the time it took to write the first blog post, our little eggs have hatched! In 3 days, many of the eggs became tiny tadpoles, each a maximum of 1/4 inch long.
We’re skewed female in the department: Seven human females to two human males. In “zoo lingo” animal department staff sexes would be written as 2.7 (actually, to be technical, it would be 2.7.0. the first number is males, then next is females, and the last is unknown). Our volunteer team is skewed even more so: 5.19.0. The critters in the Farmyard and Explore the Wild are also skewed female. 9 of the 14 animals in the Farmyard are females and 8 of the 11 animals in Explore the Wild are females.
I’ll run the numbers for the indoor animals too: any guesses as to which way we skew there?
Autumn’s post about the bears and watermelon reminded me that watermelon season is upon us. (And by the way, welcome Autumn to joining our blog writing team!). We have so much fun with watermelons that we have a whole day at the Museum dedicated to celebrating watermelons- Watermelon Day 2014. Last year we had a great time and got about 40 watermelons donated on Watermelon Day. We take watermelon donations all summer- drop them off at the Admission Desk or at Gate # 1. 2011 was our best year yet as almost 200 watermelons were donated.
Of the over 1,100 posts we’ve published, some of my favorites have to do with watermelons:
and of course, Watermelon poop (take a look, it’s kind of cool… and not so gross)
For Memorial Day, six watermelons were donated for our bears to celebrate the holiday. Below are a few pictures of them enjoying their tasty treat!
The biggest barn in the Farmyard is used to house our tools, bedding and hay. Loading hay into the Hay Barn generally takes a few people, mostly because we get a little competitive and stack as quickly as possible (7 minutes and change was our best time to load 70 bales into the barn!). This needs to happen every 6 to 8 weeks depending on how many bales we order (or how many our local farm has to offer us), the speed we go through them, and the size and quality of the bales.
Hay bales change size and weight throughout the year depending on how the grass is growing. Early to mid Spring can be a bit of a challenge for us since the bales tend to be at their smallest and Max is eating a whole bale on his own. The smaller, Spring bales don’t fit in our stacking system quite as easily as the larger bales we have during the rest of the year. The last hay delivery was not attended by Kent or myself. Apparently, when the people who typically help load the barn are on their weekend breaks, those who get involved in loading the hay barn decide to get a little bit creative with their stacking.
Sometimes the animal department gets a lot of items donated to us and sometimes people will usually ask us if there is anything we are in need of. Keeping track of these things can get difficult, so I decided to make an Amazon wish list for the department. This way, everything is on the list with prices (big and small), quantities needed and our information is all filled out for us to receive it.
Below are some pics I quickly found of our animals using some enrichment items that have been purchased in the past.