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!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Month in Review

Its been a good critter month - no major disasters to report.  Everyone seems pretty happy and healthy.  Phoebe still occasionally sneezes but seems like she feels great.  Aggie had an episode of illness for one night which scared me to death - I believe she ate a hydrangea which are very poisonous to cats - who knew - thankfully she is fine now.  Clooney continues to eat like a piggy and slowly gain weight - why can't I have that problem?

Here are the miscellaneous snaps for the month of June....wow - the year is halfway over....  CRIPES

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Littlest Girl

My littlest girl - full of mischief and energy.  She brings a joy and sweetness to our crazy brood.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Miss Emma

Emma is getting a bit better about getting her picture taken.  She still doesn't love it but at least she is not crawling under the bed every time the camera comes out.  Not sure what the expression in the first picture is all about?  She's a funny dog....

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Napping in the Fuzzy

Clooney loves to play in our clothes and even better, sleep in them after we have taken them off.  I think he likes that they smell like us.  The hubs put his shirt over the tub which Clooney pulled down and curled up in.  These are the cute snaps of him curled up and snoozing in there:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Exotic Critters

Maybe I will put some of these interesting critters on the someday wish list:


Wikipedia says:  Kinkajous are sometimes kept as exotic pets. They are playful, generally quiet, docile, and have little odor. However, they can occasionally be aggressive. Kinkajous dislike sudden movements, noise, and being awake during the day. An agitated kinkajou may emit a scream and attack, usually clawing its victim and sometimes biting deeply. It has recently been discovered that pet kinkajous in the United States can be carriers of the roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis, which is capable of causing severe morbidity and even death in the owner, if infected.[10]

In El SalvadorGuatemala and Honduras pet kinkajous are commonly called micoleón, meaning "lion monkey". In Peru pet kinkajous are commonly referred to as "lirón". The lirón is often described as a "bear-monkey" or "bear-monkey hybrid".
They live an average of about 23 years in captivity, with a maximum recorded life span of 41 years.
Other than the worm thing, the attacking thing and the biting thing - this little guy sounds charming!  :)

Kangaroo Baby
Who knew you could purchase a baby kangaroo from a breeder in Texas?   This is totally practical - I think the hubs would be thrilled with this idea.....

How about this little dude - he is cute and way more practical than a kangaroo.  Wikipedia says:
After initial interest into degus as research subjects, degus have become popular as pets, though until very recently they were seldom found in pet shops. Their advantages over traditional small pets are their diurnal habits, bubbly personalities, the haired tail (as compared to rats and mice) and their lifespan: they are reported to live up to 13 years under ideal circumstances (though a poor gene pool/genetic background often reduces a pet degu's lifespan significantly).[citation needed] The average lifespan of a degu in captivity is typically around 6–8 years of age. One disadvantage of the degu as a pet is their predisposition to chewing, due to their continually growing incisor and molar teeth.[3] For this reason degus cannot be housed in plastic-bottomed cages typically found in pet stores. A metal cage with multiple levels made for rats and secured double latches works best. It is important to line the levels with grass mats or a soft fabric so that the degus do not get bumble feet.[citation needed] Untamed degus, as with most small animals, can be prone to biting, but their intelligence makes them easy to tame. Regular non-predatory handling and food offerings help with this transition. It is important never to try to catch a degu by the tail because it will fall off easily and is painful to the creature. If this occurs it will not grow back. Degus often 'groom' their human owners, by a gentle nibbling action, and readily bond with any person spending time with them. Degus need regular sand baths to keep their coats healthy and free from grease. Chinchilla dust is ideal for this. They should have access to this regularly, preferably every day but at least two or three times a week.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hedgehog Quills

I get questions about Nigel's quills all the time.  They feel kind of like hairbrush bristles - in fact - "the hairbrush" is what my neighbor calls him.  I found an interesting article about quills online:

Of all of the features of your pet hedgehog, probably none stands out more than than the quills. When you really stop to think about it, they really are quite remarkable. They are the main means of defense that a hedgehog has against predators, but they serve some other rather useful purposes as well.
diagram of a quillAlthough scientifically described as being modified hairs, each of the roughly 7000 quills on a hedgehog's back is far more complex than any hair possibly could be. Rather than being solid inside, each is filled throughout with complex network of air chambers. Not only does this make them very lightweight and strong, but it also helps to prevent buckling and breakage.
At the base, the quill narrows to a thin stem where it enters the skin and is firmly anchored in the muscle tissue by a small, ball-shaped follicle. At the opposite end, the quill narrows to a needle-like point and is bent slightly back to provide maximum defense should a predator be interested in having hedgehog for lunch! When attacked, it is the contraction of the two large muscles that run down either side of the hedgehogs body that cause the quills to be raised in defense. When those two muscles are contracted, (much like pulling the draw strings on a purse) they pull against the ball-like base of the quill, drawing it into an upright position. Since the muscles pull different quills in different directions, they tend to crisscross one another, forming a near impenetrable barrier.
They are, however, not only there for defensive purposes. Hedgehogs are noted for being skilled climbers but, like cats, are not very good at getting themselves back down again! When they do come across a drop that they cannot climb down, they will simply roll into a ball and drop, allowing the spines to cushion the fall. To prevent the quills from being damaged or lost, the thin stem just above the skin flexes upon impact. Although we do not recommend you try this at home, wild hedgehogs have been seen dropping from heights of up to 20 feet with no apparent signs of injury!
In their native environments, hedgehogs are noted snake killers and, once again, the quills come in quite handy for this as well. After having first grasped the snake with its teeth, they will drive their forehead quills into the snake, thereby killing it.
So, the next time you hold a hedgehog in your hand, take a closer look. The amazing design and beauty of these unique animals makes something as insignificant as a single quill something to marvel at!
The End

Here are some Nigel snaps to show off his beautiful quills:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Dog and the Hog

Let's see - what's new and exciting with Emma and Nigel?  With this crazy hot weather I am really glad Emma got a hair cut - she would be totally miserable.  She seems to be a fairly content pup these days.  She is still scratching on the carpet which makes me nutty but other than that I can't complain.

Mr. Nigel Hedgehog is doing great as well.  He has had lots of out of the cage time lately.  On Wednesdays he gets to sample the items delivered in my produce box.  We are probably getting close to being due for a nail cutting - ugh.  He is happy and healthy and generally easy to get along with.

Here are some snaps:

Friday, June 22, 2012

2 Ferret Post

Ah my ferret babies - I so love them - you simply cannot be unhappy with a ferret around.

My little ones are doing well.  They are making progress towards being friends.  I think they are truly in the frienemy stage right now.  They play and everyone is happy and then all of a sudden one of them thinks 'oh wait - I am supposed to hate you' and then they squabble.

Madison still makes noise like a crazy weasel when the play/fight.  Clooney doesn't make much noise with her but he does when he plays with Oliver - not sure what that's about.

Latest snaps:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Drinking is Hard Work

Zoey cracks me up - she sleeps with her chin resting on the water bowl and then when she wakes up and needs a drink she just sticks out her tongue....its funny.  Really?  How much does she do during the day to make her this tired....she is just lazy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Four Kitty Post

Here's another four kitty post for your viewing enjoyment.  All the felines in the zoo are doing well - no craziness to report....

I am the orange kitty so color me orange....

Yeah - I got gunk in my eyes and water on my chin - what's it to ya.....

Oliver sleeping on the laundry pile

Seriously?  Napping here......

Aggie sleeping on the kitchen chair...

One photo was more than enough thank you....

Oh fine - I will let you take my picture...

Bath time....

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Nigel's First Shower

Every day I get the little hedgehog out of his cage for some interaction time, treats, pets, harassment by his siblings, etc.  Today was like any other day til I got a whiff of the little dude - wow - he was a tiny bit stinky. I was going to give him a bath this evening but then had the idea that I should try out the shower.

I got the water to the right hedgehog temp and turned the faucet on about halfway as not to blast the little guy and popped him in the shower.  I am pleased to report that he seemed to really like it.  I let him play and explore for a bit.  He ran all around the shower checking it out.  He investigated all the bottles and ran through the stream of water a few times.  Then he seemed to realize that if he stopped the water would stay on him so he stood under there for a good bit of time.

He let me pick at the ick on his feet and then I picked him up and flipped him on his back so I could scrub his belly.  At first he was unsure but when I put him under the water he like it - he just laid there and let me do what we needed to do to get him all squeaky clean.  He is all curled up in his nice warm fluffy towel.  His tummy is full of worms and he is snoozing away.  Best of all - he smells so much better!

Monday, June 18, 2012


As I type Clooney is curled up on my pillow, patiently waiting for me to finish my morning routine on the laptop so we can go downstairs for Ferretone and sticks.  He has had an eventful morning so far.  He played in the hubs shower - getting all wet so I dried him off.  Wow - this does make him very excited so he ran around like a maniac.

He spent some time playing/fighting with his ferret sister.  He played in the hubby's bag before he left for work and checked out the dog.  Now he waits.

Clooney is still a bit thinner than I would like but he seems happy and healthy in all other regards.  He is eating, playing, doing all the regular ferret things.  Add to that he was seen by the vet a couple of weeks ago - I am feeling like things are probably okay.  Love that little guy....