Posts Tagged ‘Explore the Wild’

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.

Animal Department Boys

June 15th, 2014

A quick shout-out to our two father’s in the animal department today. The two of them, especially together, provide quite a bit of entertainment. Some photos of Kent and Aaron are below.

one of my favorite photos of the “human boys”

modeling sun hats.

modeling sun hats.

 

4 males: Kent with Misha and Aaron with Christopher

4 males: Kent with Misha and Aaron with Christopher

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?

 

Join the conversation:

  1. 5.10.15

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  2. oh wait I forgot about the fish….so maybe add another 7 to the unknown category. I feel like unknown is a high number in Carolina Wildlife. oh and the Education animals too. hmmm. Maybe my answer should be too many (for a non animal keeper) to count.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  3. Keeper Comment :

    I’m at 21.14.45 for the indoors, but I put a lot of animals that I use specific gender pronouns with under “unknown”. If only they were all sexually dimorphic.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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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.

Can Snakes Swim?

May 28th, 2014

YES!

All snakes can swim. It’s not just specialized snakes, like Sea Kraits, that can swim and dive. Water Snakes, Copperheads, Water Moccasins, Garter snakes, Anacondas, Ribbon snakes, Rat snakes, and many more are often found near bodies of water. Even the arboreal snakes of the world like Green Tree Pythons and Mangrove snakes are competent swimmers.

The museum grounds are home to a number of resident snake species; including the only venomous snake species in Durham, the Copperhead. While I didn’t see a copperhead on this occasion, I did see the Northern Water Snake below who  just happened to be swimming by when I was on the boardwalk.

 

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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

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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.

A Keeper’s Point of View, Part 1

June 18th, 2013

Each morning as an Explore the Wild Keeper, after I’ve read over yesterday’s logs, gotten my food and enrichment together for the day and grabbed any additional items I might need (i.e. snacks) I head out to begin my day. The first thing I do is check the bear fence. This also involves checking the bears. I took several photos in a row of what that looks like from my point of view.

 

This is Gus, kind of adorable!

Attempting to roll out of the hole he’s been sleeping in

Yawn

Stretching

Yona photobomb

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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.

Animal Programs

January 28th, 2013

The Animal Department does several programs a week.

We have a daily 2pm Explore the Wild Keeper Talk, which changes between Bears, Wolves, and Lemurs each week. At these programs we talk to visitors about our animals, wild animals, what kind of food they eat, or any other specifics you’d like to know.

We also have a Farm Yard Program at 4:30pm all days but Thursday. At these programs we close the Farm Yard which includes feeding the animals and shutting down the barns, here you can ask Keepers questions and even help feed hay to a couple animals.

And a special Reptile Program on Thursday’s at 4pm in Carolina Wildlife. At this program we talk about our exhibit reptiles or any you have questions about and we feed our snakes and alligators.

Keeper Kent doing the 4pm Thurs Reptile Program

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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.

Tiny visitor

September 22nd, 2012

This little snake slithered up the drains in the bear house one day while I was cleaning.

So I moved it outside so we could both continue on with our days.

 

Keeper Kent says this is a common brown snake and won’t get much larger. 

 

 There are lots of little visitors on grounds:

This is one of many tree frogs we find in Explore the Wild-

 

And this is just pretty-

 And some recently hatched spiderlings- (which is know a lot of people think is gross, but I think they are super cool)

 

 

 

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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.

Bear Hugs

April 8th, 2012

 

One Sunday morning while checking on all the Explore the Wild animals I couldn’t tell if there was one or two bears sleeping in the bear cave. So I used our visitor camera at overlook and zoomed in to check it out. Then I saw the cutest thing- Mimi was spooning Gus! Super cute and it brought a great big smile to my face first thing in the morning.

 

Here are a couple photos of bears having fun.

Gus and Yona playing, Gus is standing

 

Gus playing with his feet- classic

 

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  1. Mimi is so sweet to Gus! Very very cute!!!

    Posted by Katy
  2. love the pictures Thank you for posting

    Posted by Betty Linkenhoker

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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.

You are now free to Explore the Wild

January 8th, 2011

This past Wednesday was my scheduled day to be checked off by Sherry in Explore the Wild.  Last week Marilyn (my trainer) checked me off but before I can work alone in the Lemur, Wolf, and Bear exhibits- I have to spend a day working with Sherry out there.  Now my very lovely co-workers like to get me anxious and nervous before things like getting checked off in an area, my first day alone in an area, and my first emergency training.  This time I decided not to give into their teasing!  Staying calm and confident worked because I got checked off.

whoo hoo!!!!!

Afterward, I went to train the Ring Tail Lemurs but their belly’s were full so I took a couple picture instead to share with everyone.

Here's Lycus very comfy in his hanging basket

Cassandra looking very sleepy

Here's her super huge yawn

And finally, Satyrus getting a nice stretch in

Join the conversation:

  1. Yay! Congrats, Kimberly, you Wild Thing!

    Posted by Karyn
  2. Keeper Comment :

    Great job Kimberly!! I really enjoyed training you and I’m glad you got checked off!:)

    Posted by Marilyn Johnson
  3. Way to go Kimberly!

    Posted by Leslie

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by , Keeper
Although a native tarheel, I came to the museum from Texas, where I taught Biology courses at a small college. In graduate school I studied the behavior and ecology of marine organisms (mostly crabs, lobsters and sea turtles).
You can find me in the Animal Department Monday-Thursday. Fridays I work for the Department of Innovation and Learning all day.

Big Word of the Month: Cyanobacteria

June 16th, 2010

The warmer temperatures of summer stimulate the growth of an ancient life form in our local waters. Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, have been pumping oxygen into the environment for billions of years. Their buried remains contributed to the formation of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. Cyanobacteria live in almost every ecosystem in the world as well as living in symbiotic relationships with fungi to form lichens. You can find them in the ocean, in salty lakes, in freshwater lakes and stream, and even living on the fur of sloths!

Filaments of cyanobacteria in the bear pool.

Here at the museum we are beginning to some blue-green algae in some of our aquatic ecosystems. The picture at right shows some filaments of algae in the bear pool just below the waterfall. If you click on the picture to get a larger view, you might be able to see  some tadpoles. The lower pool or moat nearest the viewing area doesn’t receive sunlight so it rarely has much algae of any type.

In areas with excessive nutrient pollution (like streams near golf courses or hog farms), blue-green algae can grow rapidly in “blooms” and cause environmental problems. Biologists and health department staff usually monitor streams and lakes in the summer to check for algal blooms that might lead to unsafe drinking water or swimming conditions.

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by , Keeper
Although a native tarheel, I came to the museum from Texas, where I taught Biology courses at a small college. In graduate school I studied the behavior and ecology of marine organisms (mostly crabs, lobsters and sea turtles).
You can find me in the Animal Department Monday-Thursday. Fridays I work for the Department of Innovation and Learning all day.

Big Word of the Month: Amplexus

April 2nd, 2010

We have had several recent posts about the explosion of life around the wetlands this spring. If you have been in Explore the Wild recently you no doubt have heard many frogs and toads calling. Earlier this week I found that some of our resident amphibians were busy making new amphibians at the edge of the bear pool.

How many toads do you see in the photo? (click on picture to see larger version)

toad amplexus

Toads in amplexus for breeding

This clump is one female American toad, Bufo americanus, with three males attached to her. This type of aggregation is called amplexus, which come from the Latin word meaning “to embrace”.  Males seek out females that are close to egg laying and then grab on to her and wait to fertilize the eggs as they are extruded.

toad egg mass

Extruded egg mass of toad

These toads had not picked the best spot to procreate. All their efforts were being sucked into the filtration system for the bear pool but they will have time to try again later!

Many more details and much better pics over at Ranger Greg’s Blog

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  1. EWW

    Posted by Kelsey

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