The local Missoula author visited Animal Wonders today for a photo shoot with the reptiles. He's writing a new book about lizards and wanted to get some photos of different species of lizards. Freckles, the leopard gecko, was just starting to shed so he was able to get some unique shots of her new bright scales on her head and the roll of old skin coming off. Jade, the legless lizard was a favorite. Legless lizards are such amazing animals and Sneed was able to get some great shots of her. Pearl, the golden tegu, was a beautiful model and she was so kind to show off her long tongue as she licked up a juicy egg. Sneed gifted us with several of his books which are just amazing. He has some very fun and educational books out such as "Animal Dads", "Wings", "Many Biomes One Earth", and "Pocket Babies And Other Amazing M We can't wait to see his new lizard book!
Domino and Phineus the beau corn snakes laid a clutch off eggs 2 months ago. The babies have come out of their eggs and are enjoying their very first meal today. When a snake is pregnant she is called "gravid" she has to eat extra calcium so she can produce healthy babies with strong eggshells. The shell of the eggs is not like birds eggs. Instead of being hard and brittle, reptile eggs are leathery and flexible. They need moisture so they don't dry out and as the babies grow inside the eggshell stretches. The baby snake has a small egg tooth that helps them make a small slice in the shell. They peek their head out and will emerge fully within about a day. The baby snake explores the world he has just come into, everything is new and scary. During the first week the baby snake doesn't eat, he's still living off of the nutrients that were in the egg. After about 7 days the snake will shed for the very first time. After it sheds, the snake will look for its first meal. The only thing it can eat at this point is very very young mice pups. As the snake grows bigger it will shed and start to eat larger prey. It will mature at 2-3 years and by about 5 years it will be almost full grown. Corn snakes can live up to 25 years!
Congratulations Domino and Phineus on a clutch of beautiful babies!
We just had our first Summer Camp Presentation at the Montana Natural History Center! What a way to jump start the hot weather and beauty of a Montana Summer. Herp Hunters, Super Trackers, and Fishing for Fun campers had a great time with the Animal Ambassadors. They learned about why rabbits have no foot pads, and how amphibians can breath through their skin. They also learned why Yucca, the red-footed tortoise, poops so much... she's the gardener of the rainforest of course!
We're looking forward to another summer filled with animal education and discovery. See you soon!
It's been a few weeks since the last update, mostly due to all the newest developments at AW. The most prominent news is that Domino's (corn snake) eggs are starting to hatch! In the next few days we'll be able to count how many we'll have. The eggs are piled on top of one another so it's hard to tell exactly how many are there. The other exciting news is that we have 2 more baby pigeons. Luna and Hunter have raised two beautiful babies that are just now fledging. Their names are Sorsha and Madmartigan. Madmartigan will be the new Animal Ambassador for pigeons! He will begin his flight training as soon as he's fully feathered which will be in about 1 week.
Construction is continuing on the Animal Compound. Insulation will be going up this week followed by sheetrock, tape, mud, and paint. We're busy making diagrams and plans on exactly how the enclosures will be arranged in the rooms. We are very excited because we will be doubling the space for the birds and reptiles. We will be giving upgrades to several residents as well as opening up rooms for newcomers.
In other unrelated news. Augusto and I are extremely busy finalizing plans for our wedding in July. I will do my best to keep updating every week, but please forgive me if I miss one or two.