Flashback Friday- Reptile Enrichment

I try to take a little time on Fridays and reflect. Sometimes it’s about the past week and other times I go further back. I came across these two videos looking through old emails. The moss for the snake, and tomato for the turtle were given to the animals, then the following was captured:Read more

You Can Train a Goat?

One of the many things animal keepers are tasked with aside from the expected poop scooping and wall scrubbing is operant conditioning (aka “animal training”). Nearly all the animals at the museum have a primary trainer who thinks of new behaviors they’d like that animal to learn, then builds a step-by-step program to shape that behavior, and ultimately implements that program over the course of days to months (depending on the complexity and the animal’s response) until we’re at aRead more

Studying Aggressive Behavior in Mimi Bear!

Earlier this year, around May/June we noticed that Mimi (one of our Black Bears) was displaying aggressive behavior towards the keepers. When we would open up the bear house at closing she would charge at us, sometimes huff or spit or pace the fence line. While this behavior isn’t completely atypical for Mimi it seemed to come out of no where and with an increase in frequency. We already knew it didn’t matter which keeper was opening the house as sheRead more

What is Browse?

In animal keeper language, browse means plants and vegetation that we offer to our animals. Several times a week we harvest freshly cut browse that has been approved by our veterinarians. Our veterinary specialist, Katy, put together a browse book that includes pictures of the plant/tree, who it is approved for and where on grounds it grows. This is a great asset for new keepers just learning to identify different vegetation and for seasoned keepers to make sure their knowledge is up to date.Read more

Keepers building enrichment!

When we aren’t busy shoveling stalls, scooping poop or making diets we occasionally get time to work on a special project or make new enrichment items. Last month, Janine, Katie and I got to build a hammock bed for our bears. It involved some wood as the frame, fire hose and lots of washers and screws.  At Janine’s past job she made plenty of these types of beds so she was showing Katie and I the ropes. Not only isRead more