We have been busy at Animal Wonders!! The last few weeks we have been making improvements in every corner of the Animal Compound. From new bird enclosures to painting to cleaning, we've done it all.Curly Bird, turaco, is enjoying a new enclosure that no longer has any ramps. Curly has not been using his ramps for about a year due to his old age so we decided to give him a new enclosure sans the unused ramps. This left space in the Bird Room to add another enclosure for the baby halfmoon conures. They have moved out of their parent's home and onto their very own duplex!
The Food Prep Area has undergone drastic changes and a fresh coat of paint. It's looking great and we can't wait to continue to improve on this newest addition to the Animal Compound. Speaking of which, also received new painting but in the form of additions to the jungle murals on the walls. There's nothing like a bit of color to lively up the place. Did you know that birds can see more colors than humans?? Two to be exact, what a wonderful world they must see!
The Reptile Room underwent a thorough cleaning this week. The animal enclosures are always kept clean and sanitized, but it was time to get behind the enclosures and scrub the floors under and behind. Augusto spent the day making it shine!
The summer is heating up, but luckily Potomac has enjoyed a few days of 70 degree cool weather and we're appreciating it immensely. The foxes and cavy are loving their walk/runs outside and the lizards and birds like to soak up the extra Vitamin D without the intense heat of the sun. I have no doubt the heat will return in a few days, so we'll be out with the animals as much as possible before the scorching begins. August is just around the corner and Animal Wonders is busier than ever! We have many community events on the schedule with some summer camps and birthday parties sprinkled in. The animals will be enjoying teaching a plenty this month.
Cas, the arctic fox, took his first adventure outside of Animal Wonders yesterday. He went to the vet for his first set of vaccines. Cas was great in his crate on the 30 minute drive into town. When we were shown into our room we opened the crate door to allow him to venture out on his own. Sometimes the smells at a veterinary office can be alarming to some animals, so we like to allow the animal to find their own comfort level at their own pace. Cas was nervous at first but eventually took a few steps out of the crate. He was soon so comfortable he had thoughts of jumping down to the floor to check out more of the room. But instead of allowing him to take the leap we took the time to work on his behavior training.
Cas sometimes doesn't like to be touched, this is most likely because he was not handled enough in the first few weeks of his life. He arrived at Animal Wonders at 7 weeks old and that's actually a lot of time for a fox kit. They develop quickly and the weeks from 5-7 are crucial to expose them to as many things as possible. Cas, is learning from Seraphina, the red fox, and also Augusto and myself that human interaction leads to happy endings. He knows that when he hears a tutting he will get a treat if he comes running. He also knows that when he's held he should be calm and not try to bite. But he's still learning that it's okay to be touched while he on the ground or picked up from the inside of a crate. At these times he gets nervous and growls and even try to nip. So as we waited for the vet to come in, we spent some time calmly touching Cas as he lounged in front of his crate.
We ended up waiting over an hour; there was an emergency surgery, and Cas fell asleep! At least we know that he's easy going enough to stay calm in a new environment with new smells and strange sounds. Cas had a perfect exam and he didn't even flinch when he got his vaccines. He'll be taking the trip back to the vet in a month for his booster and rabies shots.
Happy 4th of July!!! We're staying at home with all the animals tonight making sure they are snug and comfortable. Since we're in the country and away from the city, we don't hear much noise from the fireworks. Yesterday we had a family gathering at the house and the animals were feeling so much love the foxes actually got bored of meeting new people! It's so satisfying to watch as the new animal ambassadors grow into their personalities and become who they will be for the rest of their lives.
Pepper, the Patagonian cavy, is such a love. He doesn't spook at all, which is very typical of cavies. Instead he comes striding up to you looking for a pet near his tail and a crunchy treat. He loves to explore and kick up his heels when he gets excited.
Seraphina, the red fox, is amazing us with how well mannered she is. She greets us every time we walk into the Compound and gets frisky when we come into her room. She'll do a bit of running around and jumping on our legs before she settles in for some good neck and belly rubs. When she gets excited she likes to show her affection by mouthing your hand but is so careful to not get too hard. Sera is 3 1/2 months old and we can only see her continuing to be engaged and enthusiastic about her interactions with people. She's continuing to learn how to be an ambassador and really enjoys learning and having a positive experience.
Castiel, the arctic fox, is still learning how to interact with his trainers. He has been introduced to Seraphina and that has made a huge difference. He's learned how to show affection and enjoy interactions with his trainers. He loves to come and get a toy and then cache it with his growing pile in the corner. He's also learning that strangers are not scary and can in fact be fun to play with. We can see that Cas will continue to come out of his shell as the weeks go on. We're excited to introduce him to his first audience and will continue our efforts to make sure he's as happy and content as he can possibly be. We've already seen is personality shine through his tough outer shell and are looking forward to the brightness he will exhibit in the future.
Today we celebrate the independence of our nation and also the independence of our individual animals. May they shine as bright as the stars on our flag and the torch of Liberty. Happy Independence Day Ambassadors of Animal Wonders!!
I'm excited to finally get the chance to formally welcome Castiel the arctic fox to Animal Wonders!!!! Cas came to us from an animal facility in Illinois and he's here to spread the news about arctic foxes and their plight. Several populations are becoming endangered due to habitat loss and invasive species and Cas wants Montanans to know about it! He's only 9 weeks old and weighs under 3 pounds, but he's serious about his job as an Animal Ambassador. Once Cas receives his required shots to prevent any illnesses he will start his work by going out on presentations and showing the public how special and unique arctic foxes really are.
Right now, Cas is learning how to walk on a harness and listen to Jessi and Augusto. He's being clicker trained using positive reinforcement and soon he will be introduced to the presentation table where he will be showing off some of his special skills and instincts. Cas has also just been introduced to Seraphina the red fox and they are getting along wonderfully. They love to play rough and tumble games and dig in their dirt floored enclosure. They also enjoy playing chase and tug of war with their human friends. Cas's favorite thing to do is play with his little cloth mouse toy, which he likes to cache in his secret hiding places and then dig up and show off his prize.