A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Month in Review

Can you believe its the end of May already? Let's recap the critter month...

Nigel - we left him for a long weekend this month - his first time without me. All in all he did well. He struggled with skin issues and had to take antibiotics for a week - he was very good about taking them for me and they seem to have worked. And - he has gotten somewhat used to getting his toes cut. Pretty busy month for this little guy.

Clooney found himself in all sorts of mischief - as I type this he is wrestling with Oliver making his little happy noise. They say that male ferrets get more and more affectionate as they get older. I think this is true - he loves to be held and petted more and more each day. Ferret owners are always happy to have a quiet ferret month! :)

Phoebe has continued in her naughty phase - pushing the boundaries as much as she can to see what the consequences will be. I should clarify that her levels of naughty are relative to her and don't hold a candle to some other boy kitty who shall remain nameless.

Oliver my ornery boy - he didn't let me down this month. He is my cute boy - lucky for him. Some days that is the only thing that saves him. That and the fact that he is so darn sweet. He is so affectionate. It was a pretty run of the mill month for the boy.

Emma - she had a busy month. She stayed with my parents while we were away. She had many play dates with my parents dog Quincy. She spent a good bit of time outdoors - which normally she hates - while I did yard work.

Zoey has pretty much spent the month doing what she does which is lounging about with occasional bursts of playtime. Not much to report here...

Agatha - she continues to want to interface with us more and more which we love. Pretty uneventful month for her as well.

When you have 7 critters - uneventful months are all good - we will take them!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Simon's Cat - Hot Spot

Not sure if this one reminds me more of Oliver of Phoebe??

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Who Knew?? Hedgehog fun facts

Came across this interesting list of Hedgehog fun facts - thought I would share:

  • Though originally native to Africa and often referred to as the "African Pygmy," the most commonly kept hedgehogs are probably a mix of different hedgehog species and descriptively named by breeders as opposed to being classified by a true species name.
  • Hedgehogs are considered to be insectivores, relying on insects for much of their dietary needs. They are, however, opportunistic feeders who will eat almost anything they find.
  • When threatened, hedgehogs roll into a tight ball, protecting their face, eyes, limbs, and bellies.
  • If necessary, a hedgehog can run over six feet per second. In fact, many hedgehogs will attempt to escape an attacker before they roll into a protective, spiny ball.
  • Hedgehogs have very sensitive senses of smell and hearing. They can even hear in the ultrasonic range.
  • Hedgehogs prefer to live apart from other members of their own species, however, can form a tight bond with their human counterparts.
  • Hedgehogs prefer controlled periods of light and darkness, as well as undisturbed periods of rest.
Sleepy Hedgie

Assume the defensive position...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Pet Peeves" third edition

Scratching - in a wide variety of forms is making me nutty.  We have Nigel - who scratches at is dry skin.  We have Clooney who scratches at any closed door - he scratches both the door and the floor in front - grrr.  We have kitties who scratch themselves as a part of the bathing ritual and who scratch me from time to time.  And then we have Emma - who scratches herself - which isn't that bad - BUT - she scratches at the carpet.  This makes me totally insane.  After doing some research it seems she may be doing this in an effort to create a comfortable bed for herself.  I have tried beds, blankets, pillows, etc.  Nothing seems to make her stop - well - hollering works.....

Sigh -

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Head Hoarder

My little weasel is a hoarder - they could have a show about that on TLC - ferrets who hoard.....

Nigel?  Are you in there?
He hoards live things - twice I have caught him dragging Nigel's fleece bag - with Nigel inside - heading for the master bedroom closet.
He hoards big things - he is super strong - he moves things like the plunger, laundry basket, water bowl.
He hoards medium sized things - baseball caps, a bag of corks, straps that hook on laptop bags.
He hoards small things - toys, craft supplies like pencils, erasers, pieces of foam, chalk, clay.
He hoards shiny things - candy, granola bars, anything wrapped in foil.
He hoards things that make noise - cell phones, keys, hand held video games, even a musical birthday card once.

He stashes these things in a variety of places - the closet, under the couch, anywhere he thinks is safe.  

Oh - and lets not forget the famous cow....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Levels of Tame

I am happy to report that we have a new level of tame with my littlest man Nigel.  His evolution into our family has been slow but steady.  We went from a critter that was afraid of noises and of me to one that is pretty tolerant of being picked up, to one who does pretty well at the vet with other people and one who interfaces with the other animals.  We had another breakthrough yesterday - drum roll please......he let me cut his toenails yesterday with no fuss....all of them in one sitting!

Trimming the toenails of a hedgehog is quite the challenge - the spikes are just one aspect of this.  They tend to tuck their feet under them and they are sensitive to you touching the foot area.  My strategy has been to rub his little feet every time we have a bath so he gets used to me touching.  This has helped I think.  The other unintended aide to the process was him having a few little red bumps on his belly.  I would check them multiple times a day by holding Nigel on his back.  He doesn't really love that but he tolerates it so its easy to tip him a bit for access to his toes.

He is still huffy in some situations and he occasionally rolls up into a ball but not very often.  We are still working on interfacing with strangers and with Clooney.  I was happy to see them checking each other out with no angst on Nigel's side the other day - progress.  On a scale of 1 to 5 for tameness - with 1 being not and 5 being very I would say we are a solid 3 trending towards a 4.  Nigel is 6 months old today and I have had him about 4 1/2 months so we are doing well.

On a side note - today is the day - fingers crossed for a birthday critter present....  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May Pictures

Here are some shots from May:

Nigel the hedgehog

Clooney in Nigel's blanket

Miss Agatha

Boy Kitty 

Sneak attack with the camera

Zoey with gunky eyes - its a breed thing so sayeth the vet

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Health Benefits of Having Critters

I read an interesting article today that prompted me to Google for additional information.  It seems that I will be the most healthy person on the planet because there are documented health benefits related to having pets.

Here is just some of what I found in my research:
Pets lessen allergies and asthma.  I would totally agree with this - I was horribly allergic to cats when I was younger - now nothing at all.
Pets reduce stress - you might think I would be just above coma state with my 7 critters.  I am not quite that chillaxed but having the critters around does make me laugh out loud multiple times a day.  You cannot be stressed if you have a furry around to make you happy.
Cats bring a 40% decrease in the chance for a fatal heart attack - the act of petting a cat can lower your blood pressure.
Having a dog lowers both blood pressure and cholesterol.  - Don't worry - I checked - I still have a pulse.
Pets can help people who have a chronic or serious illness - they are motivated to get better to care for their little buddy.  Totally can buy into this one...

As you can see - just another list of reasons to start your own zoo!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Front Porch Shenanigans

My guys love playing on the front porch - the season is upon us and Saturday we had our first outing:
Clooney checking out a bucket of grass seed

Miss Zoey 
He is such a ham

Miss Agatha - very unusual for her to let me get a photo

Clooney sleeping in the watering can

Phoebe being very cautious about coming outside for the first time

Oliver loving playing on the porch

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nigel's First Outside Playtime

It was a beautiful day yesterday so I decided I would clean up the front porch and get it ready for summer.  I thought this might be a good opportunity to give the littlest critter his first taste of outside play.  I can say one thing - he loved it!

 The sniffer got going and soon he was brave enough to be off and running to check out the great outdoors:

Checking things out:

Look at this - I am happy to report that he and Clooney will soon be friends - they are getting close and closer:

Sniffing everything - note the dirt on his nose:

Very excited about something he smelled so he is anointing: 

Having a little snack:

I think outside was a big hit - we will be doing playtime again soon!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hubby's Ultimate Sacrifice - Post 3 - Prospect Park Zoo - Brooklyn NY

I so loved the Prospect Park Zoo.  It's quite a small zoo - only about 12 acres.  You can just feel the happiness of the animals there and I have to say this is one of my favorite zoos I have been to.

You are greeted by this happy pair when you enter.  It's great - you walk up to the railing to see what's there and these guys hop up on the wall to say hello:

There is a neat sculpture garden as well:
And of course - lots of cute critters:

We also had quite the treat - adorable baby baboons that were on display for the first time the week we were there.  They were funny because they could see us and it scared them because they didn't realize there was glass between us and them.  So cute...  Check out the video - it has the babies as well as some otters, the red panda and the sea lions getting fed and performing some tricks.