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!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Spoon Full of Sugar...

Okay - really it's 1 cc of honey inside the syringe and a bit on the outside - this helped significantly to get the metronidazole into the ferrets this morning.  In fact - Finn - my little medicine taker didn't even struggle.  He loves honey and lapped his medicine right up.  I still needed the hubs to help me with Theo and he still was not all that happy about getting medicine but he was not pawing at his mouth or spitting it back at us.  Much less stressful for the boys and for the zookeeper.

Just a caveat - you have to be careful about honey and other sugary substances because ferrets don't have a good way to process these and giving them lots of sugary things often can lead to ferret insulinoma.  Both my guys are healthy in that regard so we should be fine using honey for this short time in very small quantities.  We do have a bottle of grenadine so I may try that for the next go around just to see if Theo likes it any better.  Either way - so much better than giving it to them straight.

I guess all is forgiven - as I type this they are playing on my legs and lap....glad they still love me - I sure do love them!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Stories of the Day

Today was a fairly uneventful critter day but there are a few stories to share:

SteveIrwin the awesome betta fish is doing quite well.  He got a new heater for his tank today - the one I had was not specifically made for tiny little tanks so I thought it would be safer to have a new one.  I also got a thermometer so I can keep an eye on the temp of his water.  I had forgotten how enjoyable having fish can be.  SteveIrwin also tried dried worms for the first time and let's just say - they were a hit!!

Not too much to report in the kitty department - everyone was healthy and happy and just chilled out for the bulk of the day.

Miss Emma had a scratchy day - scratching on the carpet and getting in trouble for it. She also got to go to the pet store which she loves and she got some new treats which I think she likes as well.

As for the ferrets - the girls are both well - active and happy and into mischief.  Clooney was quite spry today hopping around and playing in the afternoon.  My little boys started their medicine today for the colitis.  Even though we had the medication compounded at the pharmacy and a debittering agent added - they H A T E it.  It makes me feel so bad to have to give them something they hate. It seems like with a bit of Ferretone after the horrible meds  to get that awful taste out all is forgiven.  Ugh - breaks my heart to make them unhappy in any way.  Looking into alternatives on how to make this taste a bit better.  So far my findings indicate that one can try either honey or grenadine.  I have both so I will give them both a try....

So - there you have it - the stories from today...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Finn and Theo's Trip to the Vet

I took my little boys to the vet this morning just to get them checked out and make sure nothing crazy was going on.  They have both been having very inconsistent outputs for the last few weeks - sometimes its perfectly fine and sometimes a bit of the runs.  Just when you think about making them an appointment everything is fine.  Then they start up again with unfriendly outputs.  So - since I have to travel a bit in May I thought I should get them looked at just to be sure.

The good news is - no parasites, nothing critically life threatening....but - they do have a touch of colitis which is the same thing that Madison had a couple weeks ago.  They will both be going on antibiotics for 10 days. Thankfully we are getting a less icky blend of this medicine from the compound pharmacy - Theo and Maddie absolutely HATED the bitter version - hopeful that this less icky version will be a bit easier to get them to take.

As for pictures - I got zilch - here's why....

It's fascinating to me how different their personalities are.  Theo was fine when we got to the vet - investigative, happy, not stressed at all.  He was picked up by several folks - totally fine with that.  He did well during his exam.  Finn - he took one spin around the room and then proceeded to climb in my lap where he stayed for the duration of the visit except for when he got his exam.  He was very well behaved but now all that happy about the whole experience.  I thoroughly enjoyed the cuddle time - I wish it would have been under circumstances where he was happier - but I will take what I can get...

So - there you have it - this afternoon has been filled with playtime and naptime.  Tomorrow I will pick up their meds and get them over this little bump in the road...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Aqua Farm

So - I was fortunate enough to get an early birthday present - an Aqua Farm.  My gift giver said it was the perfect gift as I love critters and I love gardening and this has both.  It's a cool little ecosystem where the roots of the plants filter the water for the fish and the waste from the fish fertilizes the plant.

So - now we have dived back into the fish world with a male betta.  I have decided to name him Irwin after Steve Irwin - a fish named Steve was just funky so Irwin it is....

The grow rocks are set up and tomorrow I will do the seeds - you have to let the seeds soak overnight.... should be interesting to see if this works...

While we wait for plants we are enjoying watching Irwin check out his new digs.  Welcome to the family little dude:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ollie Snaps

How about some pics of my ornery and handsome Ollie kitty - he is always finding some sort of trouble....I would be so sad without his antics:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Theo Snaps

Today - my youngest ferret Theo - he is into everything - my wild boy - but very loving and affectionate.  He keeps us hopping and laughing...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Clooney Snaps

My eldest boy is doing well - active, happy and interacting with his ferret siblings - its all good with no complaints from the zoo keeper.  Here are the latest snaps of my boy:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's the Little Things...

Its the little things that make me so happy and appreciative of my little furry family members!  Some examples:

Today Theo saw my tattoo and spent a good 20 minutes trying to wash it off - so funny that he thought it needed to be removed.

I love the way that both Finn and Theo lay on my feet when I get ready to go somewhere - while I am in the bathroom pretty-ing up they hang out with me, giving themselves a bath and making sure they are touching my feet at all times.

I love that sweet face that Emma has post walk - as we turn down our street to head for home she gives me this totally content, happy look - it makes me smile.

Every morning Clooney heads up onto the bed and curls up for cuddles and every morning Madison heads up onto the bed to deliver ferret kisses.  There is no better way to wake up than cuddles and kisses.

I love that when we play Miss Violet squeaks the entire time - happy little ferret noises feel my heart with joy...

I love that Phoebe feels compelled to fix my hair - at least one of us feels compelled...  LOL

It makes me smile when Miss Zoey comes up on the bed for her cuddle time - she loves it when you drape your arm over her - the other cats hate feeling confined - but Zoey loves it and she purrs and purrs.

And last but most definitely not least - Oliver is the kissy, love bitey cat that has loves to show how much he loves you.  He is so affectionate...I am lucky!

So there you have it - just a few of the many little things that fill my days with smiles.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Free, Free - Set Them Free

Well folks - I am sad to report - I am not a worm composter.  I decided today that it was time to set my poor little wormies free.  Worm composting was harder than I thought it would be and lately I have been neglecting my little worm friends so I thought it only fair to set them free.

A couple of weeks ago I had been doing some outdoor rearranging that resulted in moving things that had LOTS of big healthy happy worms under them.  I made them a fabulous pile of fresh dirt and relocated all of them there.  I decided to add my inside worms to that pile as well so this afternoon I took the composter trays other there and did the official dump.  I made sure to add a large helping of greens for them to much on and paper as well and now my wormies are outside getting to know their new friends.

I hope they will be happy and healthy worms outside and that they have a better time in the wild than they did in my laundry room.  Strangely - I am kinda sad I don't have indoor worms any longer but I am happy that they will be happier outdoors.  I know they will be helping my tomatoes grow over the summer...

Live long and prosper sweet worms....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Walking Off Our Frustration

It was not a good critter night at our house....Miss Emma decided that scratching on the carpet ALL NIGHT was important.  At 2:46 I gave up, came downstairs and did some work.  I went back to bed around 5 am, read until 6 am and laid there until 7 when I got up and hit the showers.  So - needless to say - I am a bit groggy this Monday morning.

I find that on the days when I am really frustrated with the dog I take her for a walk.  We just got back from a little jaunt around the neighborhood and I think we are both feeling better.  She needed some exercise as she spent a good portion of our rainy and icky weekend under the bed and I can always use the physical activity and the chance to clear my head.

All is right with us again and she is enjoying a bone and watching out the screen door while I type...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

It's Easter Sunday - and we are enjoying a very quiet day.  Yesterday was filled with preparations for and hosting of an Easter brunch.  It went well and the critters were pretty well behaved.  In fact - the ferrets slept through the whole event.

Today we are hanging out and enjoying some down time.  The critters celebrated Easter with some extra treats this morning.  The ferrets enjoyed some empty plastic Easter eggs they pushed around with their noses.  The kitties and Emma got a little nibble of a tiny bit of the left over lamb from yesterday.

This afternoon everyone is snoozy - including the humans.  We were contemplating heading outside for some yard work but the longer we lay around the less likely that seems.  Perhaps some Easter candy and a nap is in my future instead....

Happy Easter to you and yours!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Sounds of the Zoo

I am up early this Saturday morning to prepare for a brunch we are hosting later today.  As I try to get myself out of the fog of exhaustion from the wild work week I find myself sitting downstairs enjoying the sounds of the zoo:

I can hear the Oliver and Phoebe kitties wrestling, Zoey is purring in the kitchen and Aggie is bathing herself on the back of the sofa.

Ferret noises - Clooney playing in his crinkly tunnel, Violet and Madison wrestling which includes quite the dialogue between the two of them - I do love those ferret squeaks.  I can hear the little shuffle of ferret feet on the kitchen floor as Theo runs around to investigate and the crunch of cat food as Finn gets himself some breakfast.

This morning there are no Emma sounds as the pup is afraid of rain and its pouring outside.  So much for the plans to host our brunch outside....

I better get my butt in gear and get moving...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring Fever

I think my furry children have a case of spring fever - either that or they are just being naughty... I will give them the benefit of the doubt and go with spring fever.

Emma was a carpet scratching, barking beast today...sigh.

Oliver was walking through the house wailing at the top of his lungs because I wouldn't let him lay on my lap while I was trying to work.

Zoey tipped over the garbage can in an effort to get to the cantaloupe rinds - she does love cantaloupe.

Phoebe insisted on laying in my chair whenever I got up for anything - I finally gave up and relocated.

I heard a giant crash while I was upstairs - went downstairs to investigate and passed Theo en route who had a large sized milk bone dog treat in his mouth.  Yep - he dumped the box - that was the crash and he was on his way to put that bone in his hidden pile of treasures.

Finn is obsessed with the ceiling fan in our bedroom and stands prairie dog on his hind feet and watches it go around and around - this seems to make him dizzy which makes him wild.  Once wild he is a climber - climbing on anything and everything generally wreaking havoc.  Today he proceeded to knock a picture frame, a statue and a set of headphones off the headboard.

At least the others - Aggie, Vi, Maddie and Clooney were being at least somewhat well behaved - not sure I could deal with all 10 having the fever in one day...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

My critters - all of them - love bubbles.  There are not too many things in this world that delight the dog, the ferrets and the cats but bubbles fit that bill.  I would so love to capture a video or some pictures but I will most definitely need an assistant - I simply do not have enough hands.

Each of them has a different response to bubbles:

Emma eats them.  Ollie smacks them between his paws.  Phoebe sniffs them.  Zoey leaps for them. Aggie is the observer - she likes to watch the bubbles - to revel in their beauty.  Ollie the smacker usually makes that pretty rough.

As for the ferrets... Maddie and Violet are both fascinated, watching and popping those bubbles that survive landing on the ground with their noses.  Clooney pretends to be disinterested but you can see him watch - he is just too proud show it.  Theo is the ferret equivalent of a smacker - he doesn't pop them with his paws but he uses his body instead.  And then there is Finn - he gets so excited he jumps for the bubbles.  This is quite endearing and cute - and somewhat dangerous.  For instance - today he jumped from the tippy top of the cat tree in his effort to get the bubbles.  Luckily I grabbed him before he splatted....Note to self - make sure he is low to the ground before bubble blowing commences.

If you have furry critters at home you should give it a try - 10 out of ten zoo critters approve!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Zoey

It may be tax day but around here we are celebrating Zoey's birthday!  She is 11 years old today!

Zoey was an adorable fluffy white kitten - born in Colorado - across the street from my parents house.  The story goes something like this:  I saw her and fell in love - she was promised to someone else.  We were on a road trip and had left for home and got a call from my mom after being on the road for a few hours that we could have the kitty.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) turned the car around and headed back for her.  She was a lovely traveler on the way home and she made fast friends with Isabel and Aggie - the kitties we had at the time....

Zoey morphed from an all white kitten to a beautiful marmalade and cream colored cat.  It's believed that she has some lynx point Siamese in her blood line.  She also morphed from a happy purring kitten to a somewhat persnickety adult kitty.  She has certainly mellowed over the years but she can still be hissy, growly, and unpleasant to strangers and especially to the vet.  She loves her humans though and is quite loyal.  She gets along well with all the kitties, is peacefully co-existent with Emma and is not a huge fan of the ferrets even though they try to be friends with her often.

We have had a few health scares with Miss Zo over the years but for the time being she is quite stable and seems to be doing well and enjoying life.

So - happy  birthday to my girl - you were so worth the miles we spent turning around to pick you up and make you a part of our family!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Stories of the Day

Wow  - is it a Monday.  Critters are all good today - everyone seems happy and healthy.  Maddie and Theo both seem great after their run of antibiotics.  The other ferrets seem quite well - engaged and playful. Kitties are all just fine - quite snoozy on this gray and rainy Monday.  Miss Emma has headed upstairs to hide under the bed from the dreaded rain.

Today we applied FrontLine.  We were a few days late this month - wanted to wait til everyone was feeling better.  I think the ferrets are getting more used to it - Violet didn't cry this time and Finn was much less floppy in his effort to squirm away.  Kitties were okay with their applications.  Emma gets her flea protection from Trifexis - which you have to hide in something she loves in order to get it in her belly....

I took down the traveling pen that I had set up for Miss Maddie to stay in while she was feeling icky - much to the disappointment of the ferrets - they have all enjoyed climbing in and out.  Theo is such the daredevil that he was leaping from the end of the bed to the top of the pen for thrills.

All in all - a good critter Monday - so relieved that everyone is back to healthy...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ferret Vocalization: Noises and What They Mean

We have experienced some of these ferret noises around here - and thankfully - not experienced some others.  Clooney was always the silent ferret - dooking only occasionally  - but then the babies came along and Violet, in particular, taught him that he has a voice and now he uses it often.  Maddie is a dooker, Finn and Theo are both quite vocal as well - but Violet definitely takes the cake.  We have tons of dooking - not much hissing, tons of squeaking and screeching!!  On the days that we have to put on flea treatments there is a bit of whining.  Never any screaming - knock on wood - we will keep it that way!
Some ferrets will go their whole lives making only a few noises, and other ferrets are very vocal. There are a number of different noises that ferrets make, and they can all mean different things. With this guide to ferret noises and sounds, you'll always know what your ferret is trying to tell you!

A "dook" is the most well-known ferret noise, and it's a sound that you will hear when your ferret is excited, playful, and happy. It sounds somewhat like a cross between a chuckle and a chattering noise. Some ferrets dook very softly or not at all, while others dook almost constantly when jumping around playing with you or his ferret friends. If your ferret dooks at you while jumping back and forth in front of you, he's trying to get you to play with him.

A hiss means different things depending on what the ferret is doing at the time. Some ferrets hiss regularly, and it's just their way of talking. In most cases, however, ferrets indicate that they are annoyed, by hissing. It's a warning, their way of telling someone to "back off," whether they're hissing at a person or another ferret. You may see two ferrets playing until one starts hissing. The hissing ferret is probably telling the other ferret that he has had enough.

Squeaking & Screeching
Many ferrets will squeak and screech while they play, and it doesn't always mean that they're losing the fight! Some vocal ferrets will jump on another ferret while squeaking or screeching. However, in some cases it does mean that the ferret vocalizing is the one losing and he is upset. As you get to know your ferrets, you will learn which are vocal and which will only make noise when they are angry or upset about something, and you can act on their noises accordingly.

Whining & Whimpering
A ferret that whines or whimpers is generally in some kind of discomfort, pain, or he is frightened. It is not a normal noise, and if you hear it, you need to investigate. If he is whimpering because of pain and it continues, you should contact your veterinarian. If he is making these noises while going to the bathroom, schedule a veterinary appointment immediately, as this can indicate a blockage.

When a ferret screams, it's never a good thing! A scream is generally a reaction to extreme pain or fear. In some cases, he may make it when he's extremely angry as well. Locate your ferret and find out what caused him to scream immediately - he may need your help.

This guide will help indicate your ferret's mood and communication.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Week in Review

Wow - this week was a complete and total whirlwind...

  • The big happening of the week was my Miss Maddie taking ill on Wednesday evening.  After an all night vigil and a vet appointment on Thursday morning I am happy to report its as if nothing ever happened.  She is feeling just great - full of energy and personality.
  • Theo exhibited many of the same symptoms so he went on the same antibiotics as Maddie - I think he is feeling quite good as well....so active and into everything.  I love that crazy boy.
  • As for the other ferrets - Violet, Clooney and Finn - they are all doing just great!!
  • Kitties have been all good this week - no illness or ick to report for them.  Things seem quite stable in feline world...
  • Miss Emma is doing well - she had a play date this afternoon with my parents dog Quincy.  She has been having her own tummy issues - but for her that is not all that unusual.  She is such the worrier and stress queen that a bit of tummy upset is not out of the ordinary.  Whatever was stressing her has passed and all is back to normal...
  • The humans had a week filled with work and taxes and chores and other craziness and we are looking forward to a stress free, beautiful weekend...
Here's to a calmer week next week - enjoy your weekend!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What a Difference a Day and a Trip to the Dr Makes

Let's start off by saying that my little one is fantastic this afternoon - a vast improvement from just 24 hours ago.  She is running around playing, eating, drinking and enjoying being freed from the confines of the pen she was cooped up in last night.

Miss Maddie had a pretty rough night last night.  She was very lethargic for the bulk of the evening and overnight and she obviously had a very unhappy tummy based on some very unpleasant outputs.  Thankfully she was cooperative about drinking throughout the whole illness.  Food wasn't of interest until about 4 am and then she started to perk up.

When we got the the vets office she made a nice little deposit which saved her from having the uncomfortable fecal test procedure.  She was a tiny bit dehydrated but not terribly.  They did several tests - all of them negative which lead to the diagnosis of colitis.  We also had her ears checked for mites - thankfully none were found.  So - Maddie got some sub cutaneous fluids and some antibiotics which she will be sharing with Theo who is exhibiting many of the same symptoms - I think because he weighs over a pound more than Maddie he just didn't get it as bad.

Anyway - order has been restored upon my little zoo - for that I am thankful.  I am also looking forward to bedtime as the all night vigil over my sick baby has worn me out....

Here are a couple of snaps taken by Becky at the vet's office:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Maddie's Got an Upset Tummy

My poor Maddie girl is feeling a bit under the weather this afternoon.  She was fine this morning and for the bulk of the day but about 5:15 she got up and went potty and it was not a pretty sight.

I  immediately called the vet - of course there wasn't too much they could do for me as they close at 5:30 but I did get to speak to her Dr. and he thought we should confine her and see what happens later tonight.  Ferrets have an incredibly fast metabolism and sometimes if they have icky poo the next round is better or even normal.  So - I have her resting in Clooney's traveling pen all tucked into her bed.  She is drinking so I don't believe she is dehydrated.  So far she isn't all that interested in food but she has both in her enclosure.  Now we wait for a few hours to see what the next output looks like and then make a decision as to whether we think she needs to go to the emergency hospital or if she can wait until 10:30 tomorrow morning when I have she scheduled to see her vet.

I am so hopeful this is just a one time thing - she is a very healthy ferret typically so I am not sure what could be ailing her.  Perhaps this is similar to Clooney's dietary indiscretion when he ate red licorice.  I will be keeping a very close eye on her -

Looks like Phoebe and Theo will be helping me....

I hope my baby is feeling better soon....

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

ZooCam - Jordan Lake Eagle Cam

Okay - its not actually technically a ZooCam but it is pretty cool.  The local lake here has quite the eagle habitat and they have a camera on one of the nests.  I believe the hatch occurred yesterday and now you can watch the baby grow and the mama take care of it via the web cam:


Last year on my birthday we went on a boat tour of the area - here are some snaps of that:

You can also get eagle updates on their Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JordanLakeEagleCam