Some photos of the goings on at Animal Wonders on a typical day. Work, work, work.... looks like fun to me!
I think we've made some animal science friends. Hank asked us back for more animal interviews on YouTube's SciShow Talk Show. I love meeting other animal enthusiasts and it's great getting to know people with other animal related interests like Emily Graslie and her knowledge of skeletons. I wonder what goes through her mind when she sees a legless lizard or other animal with unique adaptations to their skeleton. Probably not the same thing that goes through my mind.
Again, we had so much fun and love being able to share these amazing animals with subscribers across the world! Thank you SciShow!
Here's episodes 3,4, and 5
Quigley the Brush Tailed Bettong
Kemosabe the Prehensile Tailed Porcupine
Blueberry the Blue Tongued Skink
We were asked to bring some animals onto a YouTube talk show called SciShow. we were expecting to be behind the scenes wrangling the critters while the talk show host did his thing in front of the camera. Things got a little weird when they put a mic on me and had me sit at the table with the host....
That's when it occurred to me that not only would I not be "behind the scenes" I would in fact be talking and wrangling the animals and making sure I didn't look really stupid on camera all at the same time. I guess it was a good thing I didn't know that SciShow has about 500,000 followers or I might have been just a bit nervous. As it turned out, we had a lot of fun with the host, Hank, and his special guests. Here's a tiny snippet of video from the shoot.
To see more of our appearances check out the SciShow channel on YouTube or follow these links to see the first 2 episodes.
Cas the Arctic Fox
Professor Claw the Emperor Scorpion
We're excited to start the year off with another wonderful volunteer, Nicole! Nicole is exciting because she is just what we need to start 2013 off with a bang of fresh ideas!
Quigley and Babette have done it again! And it's a boy! Their second joey is now out of momma's pouch and is learning to eat solid foods. So far he's enjoying yams, cashews, and broccoli the best. He's still drinking milk but we are hand feeding him to ensure that he is not scared around humans. We want this little boy to be a great Animal Ambassador so that he can spread the very important message about his critically endangered species in New York where he's headed. He might even get to be on TV! We'll just have to wait and see about that though. He will join Nickle City Reptiles and Exotics as an education animal but he also has a surprise waiting for him. A female. She is much older than him but we hope that once he becomes of age they will bond and start another successful breeding colony. Brush-tailed bettongs are struggling to stay on our planet and continue to help their environments flourish. Did I mention they have magical poop? Well, not magical, but certainly very very special. As the digest their main food item (fungi/mushroom) they create a sugary feces that acts as a kind of "miracle grow" fertilizer that helps the plants grow three times faster and stronger! Who knew a little guy like this could be so beneficial to their habitat? W
Thank you Montana Natural History Center for an unforgettable night! We are so excited to be awarded the Educator of the Year Award!!! We love what you offer our community and couldn't be happier to be involved with you to further education of our natural world. Looking forward to collaborating for many years to come!
When you tell someone you work with exotic animals you get a range of reactions. From, could care less to "you're absolutely crazy". The one I've heard the most is, "You're living my dream". This one always makes me smile because I sure know what they mean. I'm living my own dream.... every single day. I mean that each day is another gift given to me to share and improve the lives of these amazing animals. But it always means that I get to care and clean for them.... every single day. You never get a day off. No weekends, no "thank goodness it's Friday", no stress free vacations. I think the closest someone could come to understanding the commitment it takes to "live the dream" is to be a parent, of 70 children.
We cook, clean, bathe, change bedding, clip nails, feed, soothe, medicate, teach, play, set rules, socialize, and love each and every one of these animals like a parent. But you can't take these children to the store with you, or to the park, or even to your friend's house. So when someone tells me, I'm living their dream, I smile and think to myself, "the reality of what I do would probably be closer to a nightmare to you". To me though, it really is my dream and I honestly cannot imagine what I would do with myself if I didn't have the opportunity to give these animals all that I have. And I'm so gosh darn lucky to be able to do it with my amazing husband, Augusto.
p.s. The photo is courtesy of Dan Newton who was crazy enough to be interested in entering our bizarre and slightly overwhelming home to do a photo documentary on our daily lives. Thank you Dan!
I realized that it has been over a month since I put an update on goings on around here. Things are quite busy to say the least. We have been out and about a lot these last two months with many community events. It's the perfect time of year in Missoula to hold outdoor community events like PetFest, River City Roots Festival, and RiverFest. We also just teamed up with the newest addition to Missoula, the Family Life Expo. Along with the community events we have been keeping very busy with summer camps and birthday parties. We are always sad when summer comes to an end because it means we must say farewell to our camp kiddos. Now that school has started again we hope to see those familiar faces in the classrooms around town. We already have schools calling to book presentations! Which makes us extremely happy that the animals are winning the hearts of our fellow Montanans. More and more we are meeting people who have seen at least one of our presentations or have visited our booth at open events. We've even had people recognize Augusto and I while we're out to dinner. Which is surprising! And a bit awkward.
Alright back to animal talk. We have taken in several new animals over the last few months. The first two came on the same day. Sprinkles the Pacific Parrotlet. He was dropped off at our local pet store (Pet Nebula) who takes in rescue animals. She called us up and told us that she just didn't have the time to take in another bird, especially one that plucked its feathers. So we stopped in and I poked my finger into his cage and he jumped right on! I said, "we'll take him!" As soon as we got him switched onto a healthy diet (which only too 3 days) he started molting and growing in new feathers. He shows no sign of ever plucking now and we've only had him since July. I will need to get a picture of what he looks like now, he's very handsome.
Rox the Meyer's Parrot. Rox was put on Craigslist and I responded letting the owner know we were here if they needed help finding a home for their bird. A few days later she called and asked a bit about Animal Wonders and then said she wanted her bird to go to us. We picked him up the same day we got Sprinkles. Rox was a bit unsure in the beginning, but after a few days she started to settle in. She is constantly begging for pets on her head and will even show you how it's done by using her leg and rubbing head feathers to make her point very clear. She is a darling and she has already become an Ambassador because of her wonderful personality. She does have a limp to her right leg and she is very much a people bird and does not like the company of other birds in her enclosure. I hope one day to find a bird companion for her, until then she will be solitary in her enclosure but that doesn't mean she isn't part of the flock that sings, screams, and whistles with her every day.
Twirly, the veiled Chameleon. Twirly is just a temporary name until we can come up with a better one that suits him or her. He is just a wee baby right now but he's very spunky and is eating well. He came from Pet Nebula as well and he just wasn't quite right and she was afraid to put him into a home that wouldn't give him extra tlc. She called us and told us that he would sometimes go down to the ground and roll in circles and couldn't seem to get his balance. Hence the name "Twirly".
Maui, Cinnamon Green Cheek Conure. Another Pet Nebula call came into us (boy are they really filling our space up!) and said they had a wonderful little girl dropped off by an owner who just couldn't give her the time and attention that she DEMANDED! And I do mean demanded. She just wants so much love that I can see how it might be overwhelming for a common pet owner. We immediately found her a bird friend, one of our young halfmoon conures, and they became buddies immediately. They are now inseparable. Maui is such a sweetheart that we can't wait to get her into the public eye and into the hands of our youngest audiences. She is going to be perfect for our preschool programs because of her incredibly gentle demeanor.
That's all for now! I need to update on a few of our ill animals and what we have been doing for them medically, but there are quite a few hungry mouths to feed and I don't want to keep them waiting.
So it was a happy and sad day on July 19th, 2012. Quigley and Babette's first joey was sent to her new home in Texas. She went to Wildthings Zoofari and will be the beginning of a new breeding program in the USA. We had a hard time letting her go since she had become very dear to our hearts, but it is extremely exciting to have her go to such a wonderful home and to such an important cause. She now has a very special purpose in life: Endangered Animal Pro-creator and Animal Ambassador - they will take her to educational presentations too!
Her new name is Bailey and she is doing an amazing job as an Ambassador. We exposed to her audiences from a very young age so she was a natural in her new home. We will keep in touch with her and we're excited for the day that she finds her "special friend". We just hope that she doesn't take after her mother and take a year to finally accept him.
Quigley and Babette are doing very well. We saw some interesting behavior: sleeping together in the same nest, grooming in the nether regions, etc. So, we're keeping our fingers crossed that Babette's pouch will once again begin to bulge. The suspense is deep!
Lovie our very beautiful Lovebird passed away today. He was such an amazing Ambassador and he will be sorely missed in our presentations. He was just a wee thing, but his gentle nature was as big as an eagle. He brightened many people's lives and was a star among our youngest audiences because they could hold and pet him to their heart's content. Lovie enjoyed being held and riding on shoulders. He also loved shredding paper and tossing all the yucky veggies out of his dish so he could see what juicy morsel was hidden underneath. His best friend, Ray the Rainbow Lorikeet, will also miss his calm and cool friend. They lived together for 3 years and were a great duo.
Lovie struggled with problems with his beak for several years. He received the best vet care and went through many procedures to try to cure him. He ultimately was diagnosed with cancer and passed away quietly while being cradled in Jessi's hands. We miss you already Lovie! May you rest in peace.