Posts Tagged ‘ice’

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.

Crazy Weather

April 28th, 2014

So far, Spring has provided us with some very crazy weather.  One day it is 70 degrees with a nice breeze then a cold and rainy day the next.  Mid-march brought us some icy conditions  then recently we had a hail storm pass through.

ICY ETW

We make sure that we are constantly looking at the weather so that we can make sure to prepare the animal areas for whatever weather that is coming our way.  Which includes keeping heat lamps up at lemurs for the extra cold nights to providing the bears with ice treats when it gets really hot.

Sunny ETW

But when it is really nice, the bears take advantage of the situation by finding a nice spot to sun.

VA sunning

 

Join the conversation:

  1. I especially love that bear picture!

    Posted by Wendy

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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.

It’s HOT out there.

July 15th, 2012
We all know it’s been a hot summer. We talk about it every morning before we start our day. Animals, just like people can succumb to heat related issues. However, we never want it to get that far with the Museum’s animals. We prepare every year for the temperatures to rise and how to best take care of ourselves and our animals. 

 

Mimi, in the water as she often is in the summer, with her fancy nut-ice block

We make sure that there is plenty of shade and water for our bears, wolves, and lemurs in our Explore the Wild exhibits. Any catching up of the animals is done early in the morning before temperatures rise, usually before 7 a.m. Summer enrichment includes lots of frozen fruit, fruity or nutty ice cubes, mousicles (any guesses what a mousicle is?), or even ice blocks the size of buckets or large garbage cans.

You would think that being native to Madagascar makes it a breeze for our lemurs during the summer. However, it gets much hotter in North Carolina than it would in the treetops of the Malagasy jungle, so we have air conditioning for the indoor areas- keeping the temperatures around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

shade for the lemurs from their shelter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keepers watch the Farmyard animals closely too. Some of the exhibit areas have big shady trees, for others we add umbrellas that the animals can stand under. Shade cloth is added to the top of our hawk and owl cages. Fans go up in every window. We check water levels at least three times each day, adding “water balloon ice cubes” to keep the water cool. Rabbits, the ones most susceptible to heat issues, get frozen water bottles to lean up against.

 

Lightning, Rocky and Patches hang in the shade.

 So be safe and try to stay cool.

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Yona on ice

December 31st, 2010

With the cold weather we’ve been having recently (especially in the evenings), the moat in our bear exhibit has frozen over sooner than usual. We always expect freezing of the moat to occur in late January and through February, but this winter it has happened in December! Even with temperatures now getting warmer during the day and typically melting any ice or snow on the ground, the warmer weather doesn’t necessarily thaw the ice in the moat because it doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Well, the ice in the moat finally became thick enough that the bears could walk on it. Yesterday, Kimberly and I watched Yona and Gus venture out on the ice to come greet us while we were breaking up the ice with long poles from the bear viewing area.  Although Yona and Gus did some playing on the ice that we didn’t capture on video, I still got some footage of Yona investigating her newly frozen ice rink. You might notice the large sheets of ice that are frozen into the new ice that had formed overnight. Those sheets of ice are from Sherry breaking up the moat the day before, and then the water re-freezing with the broken sheets inside of it!

YouTube Preview Image

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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.

QuikPost: Preparing for bad weather

January 29th, 2010

Today the Keepers (Cassidy, Erin, Jill, and Kristen) are preparing for the impending precipitation. Who knows what will happen, but we’re preparing for much snow/sleet.
Here’s a photo of one of the documents we use to help make sure we are dealing with everything that needs to be dealt with.
Any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments appreciated.
If time/conditions permit over the weekend, we’ll get photos to share with you.

(remember the post about power outage? Some of the prep is the same).

Join the conversation:

  1. cool! I like this post!

    Posted by Anonymous
  2. My plan for bad weather is to be out of town!! Just kidding, I'll be walking in for some farmyard fun I bet.

    Posted by Larry
  3. Someone on Twitter asked me why we don't feed the bears on bad weather days. Any non-keeper want to try to guess before I tell you?

    Posted by Erin Brown
  4. RE: not feeding the bears on bad weather daysSo that they will come into the bear house when you need them to (being hungry and lured in by whatever goodies you have inside)?

    Posted by ktraphagen
  5. Oops, sorry it took so long for me to reply. Yes, you got it! Although this time of year they aren't much tempted by food. It's still a good precaution.

    Posted by Erin Brown

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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.

Bear Pool Icing Follow-up

January 7th, 2010

Your comments were great regarding the issues with the waterfall/pools freezing:
no water for the bears to drink, concerns ice would fall on bears or staff, ice might pull rock down as well, pump burning out because of lack of circulation of water, pipes bursting do to frozen water, bears slipping on the ice or falling through.

The other thing we did was lower the water level in the moat by a couple feet- do you know why?

Join the conversation:

  1. Two thoughts come to mind. One, to prevent the bears from walking out onto the moat and getting out, and two, to allow for the expansion of the water as it cools and forms ice.

    Posted by Bob
  2. So that the bears can't walk across the ice and out of their enclosure.

    Posted by Te Araroa
  3. you got it.- we don't want our bears leaving.

    Posted by Sherry

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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.

QuikPost: Icing of the Bear Pool

January 5th, 2010

It’s been so cold that the waterfall in the bear exhibit has been freezing over. You can see all the ice building up. It’s beautiful, but it can cause issues.Do you know what two issues we are worried about when this happens? Leave me your ideas in the comment section.
Also, look closely at the second picture. Gus is standing on the middle pool which is already iced over.

Join the conversation:

  1. The freezing and melting might loosen some rock and cause it to fall?

    Posted by eb
  2. Personal injury to both keepers and bears from falling icicles?

    Posted by Beck
  3. Ice breaking and bear getting caught in it?

    Posted by Anonymous
  4. Falling ice hurting staff/animals and water pump burning out 'cause water is frozen and not circulating through.

    Posted by john
  5. No water for the bear to drink if it is frozen. And injury from slipping, falling.

    Posted by Melanie
  6. Skating off the edge and ice harpoons?

    Posted by Tonya

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

EnrichBits: It’s hot!

June 18th, 2008

EnrichBits: A monthly look at animal enrichment

As you probably already know by now if you are a regular reader, enrichment is all about giving our captive animals the opporunities to exhibit their natural behaviors.

Well, on a 95 degree afternoon, the natural behavior for a lot of our outdoor animals is to find a cool shady spot and sleep. These are afternoons where there is no interest in new scents, none of the animals seem to want to explore or play with new toys, dig through mulch or forage for food. Basically, they just want the same thing you and I do– to stay cool.

Exhibit design becomes a really important part of giving animals choices on these hot days. All the farmyard animals can choose to stay in their shady, fan filled stalls. The bears have the options of cooling off under the waterfall or in their pool, or sleeping along the shaded back rock wall of their exhibit. The lemurs often will choose to tuck themselves away under the cooler boulders in their yard, or under their shade structure.

During the summer our use of ice as enrichment really increases. We freeze water in buckets, in ice cube trays, and in large trash cans and balloons to create many shapes and sizes and even flavors of ice.

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