Christmas 2018

Regular blog readers know the routine, but for new readers here’s the scoop. Working on Christmas is something I have done for years. (Even before working at the Museum).

My prep starts the week before, making sure I understand any treatments, routines, behaviors, tasks, diets, etc. before the 25th arrives. I set out my layers of clothes, snacks, set the alarms for 4:48 and 4:55 (although I really want to be at the Museum at 5 AM so I can get a full two hours of tasks done with the Security guard before 7 AM). I awoke before the alarms at 4:37 and was the Museum by 5:00.

Volunteer Sabrinah, Keeper Mary, Volunteer Mary, and Keeper Janine worked December 24th

I radio the Security Guard upon my arrival. Yesterday’s crew, above, has set me up really well. Enrichment is prepped, diets are made, notes are laid out for me. I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

My first 15 minutes or so is about organization and game planning. I move the log books and lists in a centralized area; get my diets laid out in the most helpful way for me; move treatments next to animal’s diets; and then I begin. Everything is dark this early which means over-riding some timers and no real pictures of inside critters. I only feel a few moments of guilt for waking the animals up a few hours early (I’ll call it enrichment).

Chandler Opossum was buried in his enrichment bag just an hour or so after putting it in with him. I wonder if he ate the food I put in it?

I stay inside working in Carolina Wildlife and behind the scenes with our Education animals until about 6:30. After speaking with the Security Guard, I head outside to lemurs, with a quick stop in the Farmyard. (Sorry, several dark photos not worth sharing). I didn’t override any timers at lemurs or tortoise. Lemurs has alternate lighting, and I used a flashlight at tortoise since the lights had not kicked in at 7:05.

All five radiated Tortoises were together bedding down in the hay. After misting them, they all stood up. We’ll have to get a video to share of the tortoises being misted — it’s very cool to mist and watch what happens.

For the most part, smooth sailing. Triple checking of any lock or door that’s opened to ensure that everything is as it should be when complete.

All the wolves were out and about and as expected came quickly when food was tossed in. A few links to video snips here, or here.

All went well in the Farmyard too. No real issues here. One of the chickens was limping earlier in the week but all six seemed fine today. Biggest issue in the Farmyard was egg identification.

I’m thinking Ducky laid the egg in question. What do you think?
All four Alpaca out and eating quickly after setting out their food.

My one big problem this morning was not, as I usually do, getting soaked washing dishes (I stayed incredibly dry which is extremely atypical!)  It was getting Virginia Bear her meds. I had the note of “Dates not Grapes” written down for myself, but I did not listen and took grapes for Virginia’s pills. The grapes were very large, so I went for it. After the second pill squirted out, I went back to the building to get dates, along with some “pill retrieving tools“.

I always end of with some problem each Christmas. I guess this is this year’s issue. I had a few different plans to get the pills back, but with my tools and Virginia not cooperating with my plan A, I moved to Plan B and was able to squirt syrup on the pills, which Virginia easily licked up, medicine and all. I mashed her last pills into a last date and all was done. “Dates, not grapes“, would have been good advice to listen to the first time. Yona slept through this whole process so her meds are an afternoon attempt.

Virginia easily awoke and came to the fence to get her meds,

The afternoon was smooth sailing. Yona bear awoke for her meds, with no issue at all getting them to her. My afternoon buddy was Dr. Vandeford. She helped me give shots to two different snakes and closed-up the Farmyard with me.

Hope everyone had a great day! Merry Christmas to those that celebrate.

Dr. Vanderford kept me company this afternoon and was a big help giving a pine snake and a corn snake a shot.
Chloe, our new leopard gecko, is in quarantine. She was the last thing I did before finishing up for the day.



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