Posts Tagged ‘Lightning’

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: Last name of animals?

April 8th, 2014

I recently refilled Lightning’s, our donkey’s,  prescription. I forgot the donkey had a last name!

What should the last name(s) of the Museum’s animals be?

Join the conversation:

  1. I think “Samuels” works, as you are the godmother of the Museum animals!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. I like “Samuels”. Another contender could be “Murray” for the street that the Museum is located on.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  3. Of course, you could name by species (could be an assist to any new keeper unfamiliar with the animal names, if that is ever a challenge). Lightning Donkey, Henry Woodchuck, Gus Bear, etc.

    Posted by Wendy

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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.

Early Morning Walk

March 27th, 2014

Lightning and I don’t always have enough time first thing in the morning to make the long walk out to Explore the Wild, but when we do, it’s always worth the trek.

Lightning and I walk on a service path behind the train tracks and meet the moss cattle and deer that inhabit the train pasture

Next, we walk down the paths in Explore the Wild and say, “Good Morning” to the wolves.

 

Then, we stop in at the Bear House and check on Jessi and Autumn…we might have stolen some of Jessi’s breakfast…

 

Lightning goes for a walk every day, as do most of our farmyard animals. Even the pigs and Max! So next time you’re here, if you come by the farmyard and don’t see your favorite furry (or feathered) critter it’s probably a good thing, they’re likely out enjoying the sunshine in the company of a keeper.

Join the conversation:

  1. Love it!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. This could be the start of a good children’s book–”A Donkey’s Day”…Lightning certainly gets into mischief (stealing radios, snitching food…)

    Posted by CVdB
  3. I had no idea the animals went for regular walks…thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Libby
  4. Keeper Comment :

    Absolutely, Libby!

    Walks are an important way for animals to get exercise, explore new places, sights and sounds, and to spend some time bonding with their keepers.

    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.

Goat Coats

March 15th, 2014

Polar Vortex 2014 brought bitter cold air and lots of snow and ice to Durham. Most of our outdoor animals were snug and warm inside their holding areas or tucked into huge piles of hay to wait out the winter weather, but some of the farmyard residents were still just plain cold. We added a big heat lamp in the goat stall and would lock them inside but it still wasn’t enough to keep our two older boys toasty when it was 10 degrees out.  Even Lightning, the donkey, was shivering on the coldest of days.

How else do you keep a tiny herd of African animals warm?

GOAT COATS!!

 

and a donkey coat, too.

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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.

Who Weighs More?

November 19th, 2013

Which animal do you think weighs more?

Gus, the black bear

or

Lightning, the donkey

Post your guesses in the comment section!

Join the conversation:

  1. Director Comment :

    I’ll wait for others to chime in, but I have two answers!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. I’m going to say that currently it is Gus, but at any other time of the year it’s lightn’n.
    Am I close?

    Posted by Ranger Greg
  3. I would guess that Lightning is around 400 pounds and Gus is around 380, maybe?

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  4. Keeper Comment :

    This time of year, Gus outweighs Lightning by about 10Kg, making him the heavier of the pair.

    Lightning’s about 385 Lbs and Gus is about 410 Lbs.

    Lightning’s weight doesn’t change much throughout the year like the bears’ weights do. We’ll have to see what this spring brings, but typically, Lightning is the heavier of the pair after the bears have slept off their Fall sweet potatoes.

    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.

A Little Farmyard Fun

October 15th, 2013

When I first started working here at the museum, I was told a very useful piece of advice from Kristen: “if you ever fall into the muskrat pool, toss your radio somewhere dry as you fall…radios are really expensive.” The last person I know of that fell into the pool was Larry and I have no idea if he saved his radio; it was before my time. While I’m sure you’d all love to laugh at me for falling into our muskrat pool, you’ll have to wait for another day. This adventure was strictly for my radio:

 

YouTube Preview Image

 

Lightning loves to grab tools and toys from keepers and play games with them. His antics caused of death of my first radio, so I’ve made a huge effort to keep my communication devices away from his prehensile lips ever since. This time, my radio made it through without even a tooth mark on the antenna. Needless to say, I was quite thankful.

Join the conversation:

  1. haha- I’m glad Lightning was gentle! more good pool advice: if your sprayer falls in the wolf pool, don’t let it go down the drain. Blocking up the Explore the Wild sewers–also expensive…

    Posted by Kristen
  2. I’m sad to report that my radio did not survive. Also a small guest was heard to remark “why is that man scaring the muskrats.” Finally, don’t expect Jill to help in that kind of situation, she will just pass out laughing.

    Posted by Larry

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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.

A Veterinary Visit

March 3rd, 2013

This past Thursday our Farmyard veterinarians were here to check on the critters. Dr. Cannedy and Dr. Mozzachio arrived early on the chilly Thursday morning.  Full physicals will occur in April, but Lightning needed some blood taken to see how his Cushing’s disease is progressing. While here, our old goat Chummix got checked out and so were the pigs. Miss Piggy looks great according to Dr. Mozzachio, but she took photos so she could compare body condition in a month or so. Chummix had blood drawn as well as he continues to lose weight and his eating habits have become pickier and picker.

Dr. Cannedy, dressed for the chilly weather

 

 

Dr. Mozzachio photographing the pigs

 

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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.

It’s Sonny out again…

August 23rd, 2012

In February, I posted about our opossum Sonny going for a walk.  In March, Sonny went for another stroll and this time he made it all the way up to the farmyard.

Lightning and Sonny out for a stroll

The sheep are mesmerized

Inspecting a nice clean stall

Max and Sonny

 

Join the conversation:

  1. I love this!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Great Pictures!

    Posted by kimberly

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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: Symbiosis

August 21st, 2012

Many of the animals at the museum live with another animal of a different specie. They might live together because they seem to like each other or because they don’t bother one another and fit the exhibit well (large exhibits with 1 animal are pretty boring if that one animal doesn’t want to be in sight of guests). Some of the animals we have together are a donkey and dwarf goats, a steer and a boer goat, a pine snake and a greenish rat snake, a watersnake and a mud turtle, and a spotted turtle and a painted turtle. In the wild, different kinds of animals interact all the time. Those interactions are called symbiosis.

 

Symbiosis (pronounced: sym-BY-OH-sis or sym-BEE-OH-sis) can be defined as prolonged  interactions between different species of animals and/or plants which benefits or harms at least one of the individuals involved.

There are 4 different types of symbiosis: Mutualism, Commensalism, Parasitism and Amensalism.

++ Mutualism- An interaction is mutualistic when both species involved are benefiting from the relationship. As an example, my dog and I have a mutualistic relationship. He gets food, water, shelter, exercise and companionship from me and I get companionship, a jogging buddy, and a personal foot warmer in the winter, from him.

Rudy and Me

My dog, Rudy, and me.

+0 Commensalism- A relationship where one species benefits while the other is unaffected. An example could be Lightning, the donkey, and the Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Rocky and Patches. While, Lightning may get some amount of companionship from the two little goats, he generally seems unaffected when he is separated from them. It feels to me as though he has a fairly neutral attitude towards them. The little goats, however, are highly affected when apart from Lightning (screaming and bleating and acting very anxious). They likely have a herd leader and a protector in Lightning and are positively affected when he’s around.

Lightning and the Little Goats

Lightning guards his new toy

+- Parasitism- Parasites come in all forms! The easy ones are ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, and any other blood/skin sucking bug. However, other plants and animals can be considered parasites as well (Cowbirds, Cukoos, Mistletoe). So long as one species in the relationship is negatively affected while the other is positively affected, a parasitic relationship is at hand. Because ticks are one of Marilyn’s favorite animals, I’ll add this picture just for her:

hungry bug

Photo Credit: NewNaturalist.com

 

0- Amensalism- If commensalism is a neutral/positive (0+) relationship, its opposite is amensalism, a neutral/negative (0-) relationship. Of the 4 types of symbiosis, this is by far the rarest. Amensalism requires that one species be negatively impacted while another is not being impacted at all. The text book examples of this are Penicillin mold growing on stale bread and the Black Walnut tree. Ranger Greg was kind enough to look for some of these trees for me (a more pleasant option than waiting for some bread to mold), which he found just off the Dinosaur Trail. Black Walnut trees secrete a toxin into the soil as a natural part of their growth that inhibits or kills off plants that would otherwise grow near the tree. The smaller plants are negatively impacted, while the Black Walnut tree just keeps on growing.

Black Walnut Tree

Note the lack of undergrowth below the Black Walnut tree (left of center)

Many of the animals and plants on grounds have symbiotic relationships with other plants and animals nearby. Stop by the butterfly house and gardens to find some really cool relationships or find Ranger Greg and ask him about some of his favorites!

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Excellent post! Lots of interesting information.

    Posted by Carrie
  2. Thanks so much for thinking of me with that disgusting picture, Sarah. I especially love that the tick is embedded in the skin. Yippy!

    Posted by Marilyn
  3. thanks so much for all the info! i’d love to use your website as a citation in my project but i cant find the publishers company, editors, or what city it was published in! can you help me?

    Posted by Athena
  4. do you possibly know of a mutualism pair that live in the taiga??? i cant find one anywhere… if you dont know of one off the top of your head then its fine but if you do can you plz tell me???

    Posted by Alex
  5. Keeper Comment :

    Athena and Alex, you can both e-mail me at SarahV@ncmls.org and I can try to answer any questions you have.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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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.

Spotlight: Sarah Van de Berg

June 1st, 2012

This is Sarah. She’s been a keeper with us since July 2010. You’re going to learn more about her soon as she will start writing posts, although you can view her amazing writing skills by clicking here.

Sarah

Sarah is a Northerner and moved down here from Connecticut to work at the Museum. Her bachelor’s degree is from the University of Rhode Island in Wildlife Conservation Biology. She worked at science museums and sanctuaries in New England, taking care of many of the same animals she cares for here, and doing TONS of programs with kids. If you have a chance to attend a program Sarah leads please do so-she’s like a walking encyclopedia of animal facts.

She has recently began working with our manned hawk and owl. It’s no surprise that she took to it so quickly. She’s comfortable not only handling the birds but also managing the crowds and sharing a wealth of information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite random tidbits about Sarah are that she coached crew (although I am sure she will correct me on my terminology) and that she’s a phenomenal cello player (I’ve seen her and former keeper Erin Brown play a couple times together).

Probably her favorite thing to do is spend time with Lightning, our donkey. Sarah is a phenomenal trainer and has worked hard with Lightning. I think her stubbornness matches Lightning’s well.

Join the conversation:

  1. Yay Sarah! She’s awesome!

    Posted by leslie
  2. I think her stubbornness matches Lightning’s well.
    AhhhhhhHaaaaa

    Posted by jillb

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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.

QuikPic: Auggie and Lightning

January 19th, 2012

One of our Master Teachers shared this photo with me. Any thoughts on what the two might be conversing about? (Remember the photo of Lightning and Max?)

Join the conversation:

  1. Lightning: “You’re lookin’ mighty pig-culiar today, Auggie.”

    Auggie: “Been chasin’ any windmills lately, Mr. Don Key-ote?”

    Posted by Wendy

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