Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Meowy Christmas!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hi all, are you ready for your zoological lesson?

     It took me longer than I thought to get back to you. Took me forever to weed through my zoo pics. It was a terrible day for photography, totally overcast, damp, & chilly so the pics aren't good. I still had a great time, though! I took a total of 163 photos & ended up with 83! I deleted almost half of what I took. We got to go into the zoo diet kitchen and see all the foods hear all about it. I rented an electric scooter - a life (or back) saver!!! I could have never done all that walking.

     I took the 1st pic while riding on the St. Johns River Ferry and shows the kind of day it was. And even though I live right across the street from it I missed it & had to wait for the next one which was less than a half hour. It's a short ride!
Riding the ferry across the St. Johns River, Mayport, FL
      The 2nd pic is of the Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus). It's range is Ethiopia and south-central Africa, with the largest populations occurring in southern Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana.  On the endangered species list they are listed as Vulnerable and they are on SSP which is Species Survival Plan. 
The Wattled Crane from Africa
      #3 is the Goliath Heron (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) and it's range is Africa south of the Sahara; Pakistan; Syria; Iraq. As you can guess by its name it's the largest living heron at 4.9 feet tall. A bit of folklore: the name “heron” is related to the Greek word “krizein.” which means, “to cry out or shriek.” And it's not endangered, but regional populations are relatively small.  Exposure to pesticide residue in prey may be a threat to its survival. 
The Goliath Heron from Africa. Looks something like our Blue Heron.
      #4 seems to be having 'a bad hair day' and is the Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus) and it's range is Sub-Saharan Africa; vagrant in Israel, Liberia and Spain. The species is evaluated as Least Concern on the Endangered List. The marabou stork is sometimes called the “undertaker bird,” due to its shape from behind: cloak-like wings and back, skinny white legs, and sometimes, a large white mass of “hair.”
The Marabou Stork from Africa.Yup, I spelled it wrong on the pic.

And the last one for today is a snake - the Gaboon Viper (Bitis gabonica). I didn't get any good pics of snakes. The Green Mamba was too active. She was constantly moving & I will never get a better photo of them than the one I posted previously. The Viper's range is Central to South Africa in forested areas. 
     The Gaboon viper is venomous and their bite can be fatal. Its body length can approach 6 feet. It can weigh up to 25 pounds. Females tend to be larger than the males. The head is triangular. 
     On the largest individuals, the head can be nearly six inches across its widest point. They have the longest fangs of any snake, reaching 2 inches in a large specimen.Yikes! Hope they never get loose up here!!! It's not endangered but is more severely threatened by agricultural development than by natural predators. 
The Gaboon Viper from Africa. 
All these except the 1st one were taken at the 
Jacksonville, FL Z00 and Gardens. 

Hope I didn't bore you with all this info, but I think it's absolutely fascinating. More tomorrow.

Oh, the sun finally came out today after a week of overcast & sometimes drizzle!


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