Why I shouldn’t work alone

It’s National Zoo Keeper Week so I gave the Keepers off for the afternoon yesterday. Okay, it’s not as bad as when I work alone on Christmas, but we all know what happens when I am here alone.Zoo keeper WEEK.Logo.Horz 2011

The Keepers started trickling out for the afternoon around noon. I think I was literally under the leaking fish stream when KatySarah, and Marilyn left. Then, the power went out while I was working on the computer. An explicative or two were said, (I think Kent said something as well that I cannot repeat) but then we stood up and went and turned the pumps back on. He and Kimberly were the last to leave me here all-by-my-lonesome-self.

It got dark and windy outside so I made my way toward lemurs around 2:30 to give them access to indoors, but the weather cleared. I stopped to pick up lunch at the Sprout Cafe, when I received a radio call that someone had dropped their glasses in the stream in Carolina Wildlife. I left and started to deal with that. Nets would not work, and you couldn’t even carry them through Carolina Wildlife without hitting someone there were so many people. Snake tongs were the answer, and an appreciative grandson went off to return the glasses to his grandmother. (Julie, another staff member, was fearful that her glasses would fall in during a rescue attempt).

In the middle of this, a woman stops me to ask why a barred owl is screeching at her. No, not ours, but one that comes to her porch. I look at several pictures of her home and people before she finally gets to the photo of the owl to show me. She was very disappointed when both Ranger Greg and I told her the bird was likely upset with her. It’s at this point that Greg radios me and says the female wolf has caught a woodchuck. I know this sounds gruesome, but I would have loved to have seen that! She’s caught squirrels, birds, fox and more, and I have never seen her in action. I start to head to the wolf yard hoping to get a glimpse, but…

…an Educator stops me a bit panicked that she cannot find Zoe. Luckily I knew that Zoe was on the Exam Room floor wandering, and all was well.

 I remembered my lunch was still sitting on the Mule (our service vehicle) around 3:50. Nothing better than a cold veggie dog and colder french fries. I scarfed down lunch and then checked on all the indoor animals to make sure everyone was okay and where they were supposed to be. I was amused to find the pine snake hanging out in the branches (it’s a running “joke” since pine snakes are not arboreal. All the keepers give Kent a hard time when he reminds us that the pine snakes don’t climb yet we find our pine snakes hanging out above ground).

 I went up to close the Farmyard and dropped the pigs’ Cosequin from the Mule in Loblolly Park. I eventually found all four pills, but it slowed me down a bit.

Anyway, the day finished up fine and I was done at 6 PM.

Happy National Zoo Keeper Week to our 8 wonderful Keepers and to all the other animal professionals out there that make sure animals are cared for so well.


2 responses to Why I shouldn’t work alone

  1. Kimberly says:

    Not only do we appreciate you giving us the afternoon off, we look forward to reading about your experience the next day! It’s always very entertaining-
    Thank you!

  2. Ranger Greg says:

    I would like to amend, or at least qualify, my answer about why the barred owl was screeching at the woman in your post, and maybe make her feel better.
    At this time of year there are young barred owls in the area (it’s getting a little late in the season but there are still a few around), not still on the nest but free flying birds who still are begging for food from their parents.
    These young owls make a rather plaintive hissing sound, I suppose you could call it a screech. They make this call throughout the day. They often make this noise while they’re looking directly at you while you’re going about your business in your yard, on your porch or wherever.
    Maybe that’s what the woman in your post was hearing and seeing.
    I would like to see her photo of the owl, I think that I could tell if it was one of the youngsters or an adult.
    If you’re reading this, please email me the photo.

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