Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring has sprung and it's a time for new beginnings.  Since Easter is coming up this weekend, I though ya'll might enjoy some pictures of one of our program bunnies enjoying some love and attention from one of our keepers. This bunny is actually a domestic rabbit that has the coloring of a wild cottontail rabbit.  Wild cottontails do not do very well in captivity as they are high stress individuals.  Because of this, they aren't typically used in programs or kept in exhibits, so we have their domestic cousins who are willing to act as animal ambassadors for their wild cousins.
This bunny 's enjoying his beauty treatment  
After he's been brushed, he enjoys basking on the blanket that's been provided.

oh my, this feels quite nice!

As keepers, we try to enrich our animals' lives as much as possible. After being around the keepers, the animals get used to seeing us and having us take care of them.  However, they are still wild critters so that has to be respected as much as possible.  Although they may seem rather "tame", they can still have wild instincts that cause them to be stressed out.  So, as part of our job, we have to think about that on a daily basis and consider it when we are interacting with our critters.  Fortunately, most of the time, the animals don't mind us taking care of them.

After a grooming session, the bunny enjoys a treat of an oat bran biscuit back in his home.

So, Happy Springtime!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Take care of the little critters who need us:

Time to get supplies! Taking care of a large group of native Virginia critters takes lots of shopping and cleaning. Each day we need to clean and feed and take care of the critters. This involves many activities, including trips to wholesale warehouses, grocery stores, or local feed stores.  In addition to gathering all those food supplies and goods, many hours are spent cleaning the areas where the animals stay. One of my favorite quotes from a keeper at a another facility : " Our quality of care is their quality of life" ( Meryle Nelson, keeper, Brookfield Zoo)

Tools of the trade for cleaning the wolf building

All loaded up and ready to go!

A trip to a local wholesale warehouse yields much needed supplies for cleaning and feeding the critters

Happy opossum on exhibit after housecleaning and breakfast