So today there was some big event wherein animals we don’t have on property were brought in to my zoo for a few hours. So today, for the first time ever, I could technically say we have giraffes. Er, giraffe. I ended up getting to stop by as this guy was being loaded up. I. Love. My. Job. OMG.
Butterbeer on Flickr.
Sometimes, I’m kind of blown away by the photos I take. This is simple and powerful and all I want is a butterbeer with ample amounts of foamy head. Omnomnomnomnom.
Sometimes, my life can be pretty awesome. Like a free VIP Aldabra Tortoise encounter at my zoo yesterday. I love the big lugs.
Neil Patrick Harris during last night’s eight o’clock performance of the Candlelight Processional at EPCOT in Orlando, FL.
Please don’t remove the credit. I’m crazy happy with this one given the tough shooting conditions and what not. Thank you!
I’ll try to update this again, but maybe not weekly and in not as great detail, but here I’ll try to summarize the last multiple weeks as best as possible.
In the past few months, I’ve definitely gotten to do much more. Reading through my old posts is like reading my old intern blog from the beginning. It seems I did so little in comparison to what I do now and I’m still slowly getting given new duties over time.
We’ve had lots of testudines in and out, both Sea Turtles and Gopher Tortoises as well as the odd Box Turtle or two. For a while, it seemed like there were a lot of animals that weren’t able to make it and it felt like most newcomers either passed away naturally or were Euthanized, but as of the past month, I can name only two who were lost, to my knowledge - a little Green named Mabel and a Gopher named Scar (as in, Lion King!), both of which didn’t make it.
We currently have one Loggerhead around who came at the start of the Olympics and is appropriately named Torch because of his arrival period, but had two prior. One was named Lionel and he lasted about two weeks before passing away; he was the first incoming Sea Turtle I got to measure and, in doing so, touch. Measurements I made were notch to tip, notch to notch, and the widest part of his shell from side to side. We had a third who was never named who passed away almost immediately due to many complications, the most notable being the ingestion of monofilament (aka, fishing) line. All three of the Loggerheads had ingested it, but Torch is still pulling through.
We’ve had our hatchlings come and go. Whenever a hatchling passes, we put it in in a plastic bag sorted by month in a freezer for a census count. it is a little gruesome to think about, but not so bad because they passed naturally and that’s just life. So far, all we’ve had are Loggerhead babies, but I’m still rooting for a Green to come in before the season is over. We have about a month left, so we’ll see. We DID have an absolutely adorable Leucistic hatchling who defied the odds and survived with us for about three weeks before getting the chance to be released with numerous other hatchlings into the ocean. Due to its coloration - white, but not albinistic, since its eyes were black and not red - its odds of survival are low, but I would much rather it make it back to the ocean and become food or naturally die out there than at our facility. Of the photos I originally posted with the two babies I had unofficially (that is to say, mentally) named Thor and Loki, Thor passed, but Loki made it. In fact, Loki was a BEAST when he left, having spent about two months with us and I think he will DEFINITELY make it out in the ocean again!
We also had our first washback two weeks ago. A washback differs by size and also in the sense that washbacks are just that, babies that hatched and made it to the ocean, only they’ve come back in for one reason or another. We usually keep them around and fatten them up like the hatchlings and wait until we can get them on a boat to be dropped out into the ocean again.
I was also cleared about a month ago to start prepping tubes for fluids, food, and vitamins, and I can also administer any non-medicated food to the Gophers alone. Tubing involves cutting off the E.G. tube with the hemostats, pulling out the syringe that acts as a stopper to keep anything from getting into the tube, place the syringe containing food or fluids into the mouth of the tube, release the hemostats, administer the food or fluids, re-clasp the hemostats, pull out the syringe and put the “plug” syringe back in, then release the hemostats. It sounds complicated and I admit, I made a few mistakes at the start, but now it’s pretty easy. I was supervised initially, but now I’m told to draw up tubes and administer them myself. Some of the Gophers put up quite the fight and they either run away or don’t want to sit neatly on your leg if you hold them up. I also have been able to help in tubing Torch. One time, I got to hold him up, the second time, I was able to administer his fluids. As I’ve developed quite the soft spot for him, it was a thrill
And, most recently, I’ve been able to start holding some of the Green Sea Turtles while they’re either given fluids or tubed through their throats. It was explained to me that long-term tubed turtles get the E.G. tubes, but for those who it is a temporary thing, it’s much easier to tube them down their throats. Last weekend, I held our littlest green, a tiny little thing named Dipper. They call her Little Dipper as a nickname and it fits. I held her while she was tubed. She was also the first turtle I grabbed by myself. After snapping up un-taped Gators at work, a little Green was no problem and they praised me for it! Today, I was able to hold Siesta, a Green who we think has Papilloma (like Herpes in humans) while she was given his fluid injection. Allie picked him up, since some of them can be fighters and it was only my second time, but he was pretty fantastic and easily transferred to me while I had my thumb and pointer around each front flipper, holding his back end to my stomach, supporting him with my hands and wrists. After I had him, Allie had to go get something from the main turtle area (Siesta is in Quarantine due to the believed Papilloma) and I was just standing there, holding a little Green Sea Turtle and unable to believe that this was my life. I love it!
They’re even considering letting me release Mufasa when his time comes since I live close to where he was injured and will need to be released. He’s doing much better since he came in, so I’m excited that the possibility might be real!
Lastly, a little sidenote that I am now the singular Sunday afternoon volunteer now. The intern left (and she is missed!), one woman, Heather, changed to Saturdays for her job, and one we had one day never came back. So now it’s just Allie, Jackie, and myself to get everything done. It’s a lot of work, but there is always something to do and whenever there’s something a bit more hands-on involved (like tubing or helping holding turtles and their ilk), they often ask if I would like to help. Unlike my internship, where I had three other interns vying for the “fun stuff,” it’s now one of the three of us and I’m a little spoiled that way. Cradling a sea turtle or handling hatchlings makes it completely worth all the dirty, tiring work. I wouldn’t be anywhere else on Sundays, I just couldn’t imagine it at this moment in time and it’s only been about four months!
As of writing this, our animals are as follows: Sea Turtles - Sydney (G), Torch (L), Caleb (KR), (Little) Dipper (G), Shakira (G), Flurry (G), and Siesta (G). Babies - One washback, three hatchlings - all Loggerheads. Gophers - Susie, Sienna, Orly, Oscar, Calzone, Winkie, Mufasa, Nueve, and I feel like I’m forgetting one or two. We have a bunch! Boxes - Kringle the resident and a little, nameless Box that will be released tomorrow.
Oh yeah, I updated this again. I’ll try to get better at it as the weeks and months progress. But for now, two of our three current hatchlings!
God damn it, this is STILL making the rounds? I hid this from the public forever ago because of all the groupies clamoring over it when I figure it would go unnoticed.
The year changes, but the groupies never do, so it seems.
Sometimes, I completely forget how abnormal my job is compared to most. And then other times, when I stop to think about it and look into incredible eyes like these and am overwhelmed by what I get to do on a daily basis. I am so fortunate, so very fortunate.
Hal the Great Horned Owl giving me his best displeased look this morning. <3
After camp ended for me this afternoon - since this is my one week where I only work mornings - I decided to hang out with this pretty girl. And during our hanging out, it strikes me again that THIS IS MYJOB, or at least a great big part of it. To form a relationship with these animals and to show them to our guests, our campers, our school groups. To make them appreciate her for more than her pretty looks or silly dancing, to make them care for an animal they may have otherwise looked over before or even been afraid of before they understood.
Even if I was just hanging out with her behind the scenes for a little while, it’s such a big part of what I do, because without that level of trust and comfort? There would be no showing off such a wonderful animal. This is why I do what I do, to share that intimacy with those who only get to meet her for 5-10 minutes at a time and perhaps never again. And not just this girl, but all of our amazing animals.
Not everyone gets to do something they absolutely love, to do something so inherently worthwhile, and in knowing that I do, I acknowledge my great fortune. It is why I have worked hard to get to this point, why I have worked hard to get into my field. This is not a result of luck, but of years of work and perseverance.
I swear to you, if you have any dreams, any at all, you will make it if you work hard enough. Just believe in yourself and what you have to offer and you will, I promise you.
Marina and the Ray on Flickr.
A friend’s daughter at SeaWorld a few weeks ago.
PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE DESCRIPTION AND CREDIT IF YOU REBLOG, PLEASE!!!
So, this happened today* in my mailbox: I received these guys from a good friend who lives in New Zealand. I give you the fifth type of reptile, a Tuatara (not a lizard!) and a Kiwi bird. I have the loveliest friends, really!
*It may be almost 3 AM on Sunday, but since I haven’t been to bed, I’m calling it today, not tomorrow.
February 17, 2006 outside (the now defunct) Virgin Megastore in Orlando, FL.
Trying to remember when last I’d seen William Beckett, I trolled through an old photo account and finally found this pretty horrible photo. Kid loved that flippin’ sweater and wore it pretty much all the time, from what I recall.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll post an photo from last week’s show. Maybe.
Before I forget, things about seeing William Beckett @ The Social on 5/24/12:
- Opening act = Cara Salimando = GO LISTEN TO HER NOW BECAUSE OMG.
- Main deal = Beckett, of course = Same flawless voice, acoustic for the show.
- That’s right… ACOUSTIC. Which is really how I prefer music live most of the time.
- Meeting The Man himself was pretty excellent, given the hoard of girls who waited to meet him (and a few dudes).
- I waited around to drag him in to the photobooth since I was ridin’ solo to the show (because apparently no one knows who TAI… is anymore?). It took an hour, but it happened, hence the photo with my face blurred.
- I got homeboy to wear dollar store glasses. With leopard print on the side.
- And then I pretended to sleep on him since it was fucking midnight.
- Also pleased to hear he was sorted in to Ravenclaw on Pottermore, hence the socks he recently posted twice on Twitter (which he received ten minutes before the photobooth sesh), even if he considers himself a Slytherin.
- “Cedric Diggory was really just a closet Hufflepuff.” Thanks for those words, Becks.
- Apparently their van was towed by Orlando police. um,amazing.
Having a computer again means I can delve back into my photography in earnest. So here’s a take on a famous quote from Peter Pan, only with a slightly more positive twist. Also, forgive my horrendous handwriting.