Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Zoo - Day 1...

The 'vollie' uniform... official hat with sporty shirt.

I'm no "Croc Hunter,"... but I do get to wear this official volunteer shirt and hat while I'm picking up poo!

After our 8:30 am orientation, the new volunteers where taken on a brief tour of the zoo, afterwhich, we received our department assignments for the day. There were four new 'vollies' reporting in today, (Mark, Ami, Sophie and me.) Mark and I were assigned to the 'natives' team - kangaroos (grey and red), wallabies and echidnas.

The morning was spent raking the enclosures, picking up roo poo, and perparing small paperbags of Roo food... (native grass pellets similar in appearance to rabbit food, and cracked corn) for zoo guests to purchase to feed the kangaroos.

The afternoon included working at the Crocoseum during the Croc and Exotic Bird shows and walking the wombats; (which bare a strong resemblence to giant guinea pigs; and, yes, walking them means walking them on a leash around the park grounds!)

Before leaving for the day, we put out more food and water for the animals and do a perimeter check of the enclosures to make sure everything's OK for the evening.

Nobody said it was glamorous work... but I enjoyed the day tremendously!

What I learned today:
The photo below (which I took near the beach in Noosa,) is of a common Australia spyder called a Golden Orb Spider. It was quite large, the size of my hand!


Lisa said...

Hi Wep--

I love your description of your first day shoveling poo--I mean working at the zoo. The outfit sure is "way rad". NO really, it sounds like fun. I could have done wihtout the picture of the humongous spider. Are you trying to give your mother a heart attack or something--I'm sure she wasn't psyched to see that (Blek!) William loves it though and keeps wanting me to go back to it. Did you notice that there is the "baby wicked ugly spider" in the background?

Looking forward to hearing more about your zoo life. And William reallys wants to see wambats on a leash!

Greg--I laughed so hard at your frickin' fricasse...too funny. I guess we are all familiar with it huh?

Love you, Jeff, take care of yourself and be careful around those animals.

Love, Lise oxoxoxoxo

P.S. Hi Bo!

Martin said...

Jeff, you are to much!! But as I always say, do all you can while you can. I think I would enjoy the zoo myself (as a spectator, of course:)) I have to admit you look pretty "zoo official" in your garb!

Greg said...

Nice uniform...and walking wombats...hmmmmm...don't think many people can say they've done that. You know, even raking up roo poo doesn't sound that bad...(easy for me to say).

JPT said...

Hey all... thanks for the comments.

I was thinking I would be able to blog every day after my time at the zoo... but I'm definitely one tired roo at the end of the day. Today, Day Three, was spend with the natives... Roos (grey & red), Wallabies, Echidnas and Wombats.

Much raking and making sure the enclosures (several acres) look OK. I bagged more Roo food, and worked at the 11am Croc Show (crowd control.) I picked a bushel of macadamia nuts which I had to recycle... :-( The red roo's enclosure is in a macadamia nut orchard. I was rained-out of a wombat walk... they just wanted to hang in their dens... Still it was a great day. The zoo keepers are wonderful at the Australia Zoo!!

I will try to get a picture of a wombat on a leash...

Yesterday I was assigned to the Bird Show team... Spectacular! Beautiful birds of all kinds. I got to walk with "Feathers" a Bush Stone Curlew around the park a bit. I got to snuggle with "Chilly" a Macaw for a few minutes... you can cradle her on her back in your arms, just like a baby.

I cut up vegetables for the birds... string beans, peapods, carrots, beets, zucchini, corn off the cob.

Greg, I would say it's probably a lot like your tech's do day-to-day, only with wild animals. Clean cages, hose down the stalls, add food, green leafy branches, etc.

Tommorrow I'm with Exotics... Teela the Camel, Bonnie and Maria the Asian Otters, Kit and Roxy the Foxes and five Dingoes.

Rotating like this is great, you get to work with dozens of zoo keepers and the day goes by soooo quickly.

I also enjoy interacting with the guests. I'm asked questions about the animals... many I can answer. I even had to rescue a women's purse when one of the red roos (Lolly?) decided it was just right for her and started to take off with it!

They also have a new, multi-million dollar hospital on site that recently opened to treat any wild animal that is brought in. I would like to do a rotation in that facility as well... don't know if that's possible.

Keep you all posted...

JPT said...


The Golden Orb Spider also spins a web that is gold in color. You can't see it well in the photo, but up close it looks visibly yellow. The only thing bigger would be a tarantula!

And, yes... that's a baby one with the Mom.

I'll try for "cute and fluffy" next time. :-)

Muriel said...

Hi Jeff

Am enjoying the narratives and
great photos ..One more try to leave a comment ..Miss you

JPT said...

Oh, Hi MOM, there you are!
You have figured out how to post on the blog... (I've sure it's a Vista 'thing'.) Miss you too!
I met a couple from Jacksonville today and they were familiar with The Villages! It really is a small world.
Love you...