Tag Archives: Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula

Baby Animal Bonanza at the Sacramento Zoo, 09-09-17

I went to the Sacramento Zoo today because I wanted to see all of the new babies.  Along with the six baby flamingoes who were born a few weeks ago, on Labor Day two of the other animals took “labor” seriously and had newborns: an Eastern Bongo (whose name is Penny), and the mama Wolf’s Guenon, Mimi,  (who already two other babies, Zuri and Kaci, still growing up around her).  The three Black and White Ruffed Lemurs born in May were now finally on exhibit, too.  So it was baby bonanza there, and I wasn’t disappointed.  I ended up taking over 1400 photo and video snippets!

CLICK HERE to see about 200 of them.

I think all of the animals were happy about the fact that it was a slightly cooler morning (around 68º) and were out and about, and I got to see all of the babies.

As soon as I walked into the zoo, I went over to the duck pond and got to see the American White Pelicans snoozing in the sun and the Southern Crested Screamers posing for photos.  There were also Mallards, Wood Ducks,  White-faced Whistling Ducks, some Orinoco Geese and the adult flamingoes.  In the enclosure for the Thick-Billed Parrots there was a Roadrunner rushing around.

Then it was off to see my favorite Red River Hogs; the whole family was out, scruffing around in the dust. And in the enclosure next to them was the Eastern Bongo and her baby.  OMG, that calf was soooo cute!  It hasn’t grown into its face yet, so it’s all ears and has a wrinkly muzzle.  Every now and then, mom would poke at it with her muzzle or try to herd it by using her horns to steer it around. At only about 4 days old the baby Bongo seems to be able to get around okay on its own, although it did stumble a few times chasing after its mama.  The zoo staff isn’t sure of the gender of the baby yet, and it doesn’t have a name. Same is true of the new baby Wolf’s Guenon.

The whole family of Wolf’s Guenons were out: mom, dad, all of the babies – including the newborn who was clinging to mama’s chest. From where I first saw it, it was hard for me to get any clear photos.  So, I walked around to the other side of the enclosure, and then was able to get some really sweet photos of Mimi and her newborn.  Every once in a while, she’d groom the baby too hard or pinch it in the wrong place while she tried to move it around, and it would give out a loud squealing cheep!  The other youngsters were running around and wrestling with one another, and would stop periodically to look at the newborn, but they never approached it or tried to touch it.  Mama Mimi was very protective of it.

Across from her, the Sumatran Orangutans were out in their enclosure and I got some good shots of them.  Not so with chimpanzees. There were too many gum-chewing ferrets around, and of course none of them have been taught any manners by their moronic parents. I had several of the kids literally shove me out of their way. One of them even elbowed me in the stomach to get past me… And these were “little” kids, maybe 6 to 10 years old (not teenagers)… I hate humans.

Of the big cats, all of them were out except for the Snow Leopard.  The African Lions have a new “cat tree” built in their enclosure with several layers that give them more space to climb and also gives them extra sources of shade.  The male was walking all around it, spraying pee on it and rubbing his face against it.  Hah! Cats are cats… The Sumatran Tiger was out pacing around and at one point jumped up on the ledge in front of the viewing window and scared the crap out of some little kids.  In his enclosure, the male Jaguar was taking a nap.

I then walked over to the giraffe enclosure because I knew the baby Flamingoes would be brought out on a shallow lawn near there, and all of the giraffes were out, including both the Reticulated one and the Masai ones.  The big male Masai was trying to each foliage from a nearby tree, while the others munched on the zoo-provided breakfast of greenery and twigs.

And then, around 10:30 the baby flamingoes were finally brought out and allowed to play in a trio of wading pools.  They were just darling – all these long-legged fuzz balls nattering to one another and jumping around, greeting the group of viewers with wing flaps and little dances. Because they’re so young, they’re still varying shades of white and grey. The keepers said it would take a year for them to fully fledge into their pink feathers.

Among the babies there were four boys and two girls, and all of them are named after cocktails: Tiki, Mai Tai, Bellini, Daiquiri, Blue Hawaiian and Margarita.  The keepers said that eating in the water is instinctual, so they didn’t have to train them to do that. They’re feeding the babies a special flamingo-chow made by Purina.  It has the keratin in it that will turn the birds feathers pink as they fledge out. I stood there, watching them and taking photos of them for almost 30 minutes; they were just so much fun to watch.  Little Mai Tai, a female and one of the smallest in the group, kept going over to this keeper or that keeper, and laid down between their feet.  The keepers said that’s what the babies do in the wild: snuggle down between their parent’s feet to rest. Awwwww.  The babies were also fascinated by the leaves on the ground and tried to untie some of the keepers’ shoes.  Hah! (Oh, and a fun fact: the oldest Flamingo in the zoo is 23 years old; she came as a 2-year old to the zoo in 1996!)

When I was done watching the babies, it was about 11 o’clock, so I had some lunch: a hot dog and a rootbeer float.  While I was eating I watched the giraffes and the Fennec Foxes.  One of the foxes kept moving back and forth against a door on its enclosure, not realizing that there was an open door just a few feet away from it.  It was getting more and more frustrated, but the one by the open door didn’t call to it or otherwise let it know where the entrance was to their “cavern”… The foxes are supposed to have a wide variety of vocalizations, but I’ve never heard them make a peep at the zoo… They’re such pretty little things; I love their faces.

A few of the Straw-colored Fruit Bats were hanging out… but it’s always so hard to get photos of them because you have to shoot through a chain link fence AND deal with the fact that they hide out under an overhang that shades them.

I circled around, back past the Bongo – who was lying in her barn with her baby in the back of her enclosure by that time.  I’m glad I got the photos of her earlier in the morning.  Then I stopped at the Black-and-White Ruffed lemur enclosure.  I saw two of the three babies there.  Most of the lemurs were lying down and resting, so I was able to get some good close-ups of them.  Across from them the White-Faced Sakis were out (but not the Three-Toed Sloth).  The female Saki (who doesn’t have a white face like the male) always looks like she could kick your ass, and today was no different.  She makes me laugh.

Before I left the zoo, I stopped in at the reptile house.  The snakes were unusually active today.  Usually they lie around with their heads tucked into their coils, but many of them today were stretched out and showing off.  I got photos of the Honduran Dwarf Club-tailed Iguana, Madagascar Rainbow Sand Lizard, Madagascar Tree Boa, Madagascar Flat-tailed Tortoise, the Smooth-fronted Caiman, Prehensile-tailed Skink, a Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Pacific Gopher Snake, Ball Python, a couple of European Legless Lizards, a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake and a Sidewinder, a Fiji Island Banded Iguana and a Common Chuckwalla.  I was also there when a keeper fed a tiny pinkie-mouse to a Giant Garter Snake.  In other terrariums were a Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula, several Blue Poison Dart Frogs, California Tiger Salamanders, Golden Mantella frogs, Phantasmal Dart Frogs, and Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frogs.  Phew!

The only part of the zoo that I didn’t get to – because it was getting too hot for me outside – was the Australian section where the ‘roos and wallabies are (along with the Red Panda exhibit and the Hornbills). Next time.

Vacation Day 12: Sacramento Zoo

DAY 12 OF MY VACATION. Up at about 6:15 this morning. I had a leisurely breakfast and checked on my email and whatnot before heading over to the Sacramento Zoo. This was supposed to be the only clear day in the week before the next rain storm arrived, so I figured if I wanted to get to the zoo, this would be the best day to do that. It was 56° when I got to the zoo, and it was about 73° when I left around noon. It was a beautiful day, and for the first hour I was at the zoo, I was one of only two people there…

I started out in the reptile house, and was happy to be able to go through it entirely alone, with no pushy screeching kids around. The zoo has a lot more different Turtles now, and their breeding programs for the endangered Western Pond Turtle is going really well… There was one tank that had hatchlings swimming in it.

I got my first viewing of their new Eastern Bongo – such a handsome animal. And the chimps and orangutans were out and moving around when I went by their enclosures. The zoo seemed to be full of students or docents-in-training who were walking around with clipboards, taking notes, and using their cell phones to take photos. Zoo personnel tried to keep them moving throughout the park, but sometimes the students would get fascinated by this animal or that one and would stall and just take pictures. When they were watching the orangutans, I heard the over-seeing zoo lady tell the students, “Well, I see now that I shouldn’t have brought you over here…” and they all started chuckling.

The Wolf’s Guenon were just waking up when I went by their cage, including the baby who walked around with a piece of grass in its mouth for quite a while. It’s mom had been snatching leaves off of the bamboo plants growing outside of the cage, but the baby couldn’t reach that far, so it ripped up some grass instead. Hah! Later, I saw it clinging to its mom and nursing a little bit. I guess the grass wasn’t very filling.

I always complain that I “never” really get to see the aardvark there or the little Fennec Foxes that share its enclosure. Today, the aardvark had walked out into its sandy enclosure, rolled onto it back, and just laid out in the warm morning sunlight with its belly and feet up. Hah! So cute. I actually laughed out loud when I saw it. A lady came over to me and asked, “What IS that thing?” Aardvark belly… and balls. Definitely a boy. Hahahaha!

The Fennec Foxes were inside their cave, and kept going to the door to look out at the aardvark, like they couldn’t believe he was that “exposed” either. I got some photos a little video of them. Across the pat from all of this, the giraffes were out having breakfast, including the baby Masai giraffe.

Among the felines in the zoo, the male and female African Lions were out, dozing in their enclosure. The male was sitting right next to the fence, separated from viewers by only a couple of feet. And the Jaguar, which I hardly ever see, was also out. He was standing in the middle of his enclosure, listening to the rustling of the zoo keepers who were inside his night-time cage cleaning it up. I’m sure he was waiting for them to get out of there so he could get his breakfast.

The Snow Leopard was out, too. At first it climbed up to the top of the enclosure and watched the zoo keepers cleaning up the space next to it (which was closed off while reconstruction is going on). Then the leopard jumped down to the bottom of its enclosure and landed so hard I worried that it had hurt itself. But it got up, rolled over onto its back, got up again and hopped around – like a kitten playing with string or something – and then climbed up onto the back of its enclosure, stretched and laid down up there in the sun. I’d never seen it so active before.

Among the birds, I got to see the Flamingos, the Azure-winged Magpie, a Comb Duck, the Emus, Fulvous Whistling Ducks and White-faced Whistling Ducks, the female Himalayan Monal, the King Vultures, the Orinoco Geese, and Southern Crested Screamers. In the duck pond there were also some wild Mallards, Canada Geese, and little Wood Ducks.

As I was walking, I took a few “Facebook Live” videos.  They posted immediately to my Facebook page so people could see what I was seeing just a few seconds after I saw them.  I’m listing them below, but I don’t know if you can see them:

By the time I’d posted the lunch video, my brother Marty posted the comment: “OK – enough videos!  ” Hahahahaha!

I spent about 3 hours at the zoo and then went home. It was a lovely morning…