Stewart, a juvenile Green who is non-releasable due to buoyancy issues.
Today I arrived at lunchtime for staff, as always, and did poop logs (and netted some out) and some laundry while they ate and chatted a little. I found that on the Fourth of July, we acquired a juvenile Green Sea Turtle and named Indy. She was found floating, so they’re still running diagnostics on her to figure out just what’s wrong since she otherwise appears fairly healthy. We also released Mama and Skip. And I think I somehow got confused in my last post, for the two testudines inside are both Gopher Tortoises, Derby and Buck.
After lunch,I was able to assist in Aquarium in a touch tank feeding. I tossed out or “broadcast” krill, clams, and pieces of fish and I think squid to the stingrays, fish, and crabs living in the pool. I also watched as Amanda hand fed some clams to the rays and then used a long pole to feed the guitarfish. And then I did dishes, hooray!
Then, one of the part-timers, Allie, and I went on a “Spring” cleaning rampage to get rid of a lot of the dust and then I headed down to Sea Turtle to help scrub tanks. I cleaned three of A System’s pools where Shakira, Indy, and Stewart are all housed (only I cleaned one of the empties while the other part-timer, Amanda, cleaned Stewart’s pool) and then D System’s pool where Caleb is housed. It’s a huge pool and took some time to clean and throughout, Caleb kept coming over to check on what I was doing. I’m not sure if he wanted it gone and was trying to be threatening - and failing to do so - or genuinely curious, but it was entertaining since the other turtles swim away or ignore it. Just after the others went inside and I was finishing up, I noticed Indy had pooped and reported it to Jackie, the second-in-command and my “boss” on my volunteer days. She was pleased to hear it since they’d been waiting for it. After she checked on it, seeing it to be huge, solid, and otherwise healthy in appearance, I was free to dispose of it, so I did.
I have a feeling I’ll be mentioning poop a lot on this blog, but in the animal world, poop is a good thing and nothing to bat your lashes at. As we say at the zoo, a pooping animal is one that is healthy. If one has never experienced an animal with colic, you don’t understand the joy of seeing an animal defecate! So, sorry if anyone is grossed out reading this. I’ll give you a hint - don’t get into the animal field or own an animal. Poop happens and it’s a good thing!
After cleaning, it was time to start picking up Gopher Tortoise food and I went down to help collect it and clean dishes, but Amanda asked me to watch Dakota who she was taking for a “walk.” When they go for walks, it’s sometimes more like a sit and babysit sort of deal. Dakota is housed indoors right now at all times, save for her walks, as her wound is too big and could risk infection if she’s outside all day. She also does not use her back legs, which makes it hard for her to move. They’re not certain if she’ll regain the use of them or not, which may weigh upon the choice they may have to make for her if she doesn’t. For a tortoise with no use of their back legs, the survival rate isn’t sufficient and they suffer with every movement. Most just sort of sit there or, in Dakota’s case, eat a little, then fall asleep in the sunshine.
Dakota the Gopher Tortoise napping!
Nueve is so energetic she tries to climb the walls sometimes like she’s Spider-nueve!
Either way, I watched her for, oh, an hour, since I wasn’t told otherwise. Somewhere in the midst of it, Amanda came up and asked me to hold Calzone, whom she had just taken in for bandaging, so he could get his fluid injection. He did well and for where the shot is given - at the crook of “shoulder” and neck on a tortoise, whatever it’s called. - I’m amazed they don’t squirm so much. Then I went back to watching Dakota. At the end of the hourish I was out there, Amanda popped her head out and was amazed I was still out there, feeling awful that she had abandoned me! So, I was told to put to put Dakota back inside and head into the air conditioning myself.
I cooled off and chugged a Gatorade while listening to the others talk, then wandered about cleaning more here and there before being asked to put the Gopher Tortoises away. For the first time! All by myself! So I brought Winkie, Vino, Calzone, and Nueve in while Lindsey cleaned the water dishes. Once they were all away, I was asked to give Stewart and Flurry a few more pieces of romaine since they’d eaten all theirs up already and both attacked them immediately. Upon returning, Jackie asked me to feed Toby, the Pine Snake.
I knew it would have to happen eventually, given the nature of the beast, but I had to handle dead mice. He is fed frozen-thawed mice, or mice that are pre-killed, frozen, and thawed out for an animal, just as you may buy frozen burgers or chicken at the grocery store. You’re welcome for that comparison. I’d always been a bit squeamish given what it is, but I just sucked it up today and went for it. Not so bad, surprisingly! After arranging them on a tray, I went in to feed Toby who definitely knew they were there, but didn’t eat them. Too many people in the area where he is housed stresses him out too much to eat. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of people and though he went within an inch of them, staring at them, and flicking his tongue like mad, he never actually ate them. The other downside of a bunch of people was that I got stuck talking for 10-15 minutes about Pine Snakes. It’s a good thing we have ours at the zoo, so I know my stuff about them. Still, Allie came to check on me and get Kringle, the Box turtle housed next to Toby, and I felt bad, even though I am sure they’d rather me not brush guests off. So I excused myself, finished my check list for the two animals and headed back into the office to finish up any miscellaneous little tasks.
Jackie came in to announce that, and I quote, “Caleb’s butt exploded” and I said I’d go clean it, so I did. Man, she wasn’t kidding! He’d made a mess and it was all over the majority of his pool. As he had earlier with the scrubbers, he was also either bothered or curious, and kept coming to check me and the net out. After I was done, everything was pretty much done and after chatting for a little while, the day was over. As Lindsey and I walked out together, we saw a dead bird on the ground and reported it. Weird way to end a day, but it was a pretty awesome one again and I already am looking forward to my next shift!