Christmas 2012

It’s noon and here’s my report so far.

What I learned on Christmas:   1) The Blue Jay does not like head lamps; 2) Lycus may wander, but he comes back; 3) Yona doesn’t like grapes; 4) when you have no donkey treats in the Farmyard and you need the donkey to take his meds, even if you try every single kind of dried fruit known to humankind, you still have to go back to the building to get donkey treats for this stubborn old ass.

Yay for Donald.

What I already knew, but was reminded of during the day: 1) Donald is awesome; 2) Mimi doesn’t like to be awoken while snoozing in the bear house 3) your glasses fog a lot while doing dishes; 4) when you have no donkey treats in the Farmyard and you need the donkey to take his meds, even if you try every single kind of dried fruit known to humankind, you still have to go back to the building to get donkey treats for this stubborn old ass.

The worst things to happen today: 1) I lost my keys around 6:30 AM ; 2) I let Lycus into the Keeper aisle and 3) I dropped the almost empty lemur food containers on the floor and spattered applesauce and muck everywhere.

So, the day goes like so:

I arrived later than desired; around 5:40 this morning (I was up at 3:38 AM and thought it was too early to go to work. I fell back asleep and my alarm woke me at 5:30. I live around the corner from the Museum so I was on grounds quickly). I check in with the Security Guard, give him his Christmas present (he tells me his kids are probably already up since it’s Christmas).  Stop in my office, where I found this nice note and cookies. (Thanks Kimberly).

It’s dark and some of the lights are on timers. Thank goodness there was a leak under the aviary yesterday and my head lamp is still sitting on my desk. This is the only somewhat positive thing I can think about my crawling under the muskrat and aviary exhibits drying up puddles, searching for the leak while trying not to get my hair stuck or crawl through smushed roaches as I am lying down scooting on my belly. I put the head lamp on and begin.

I move all four logbooks into the vet room and make my plan of attack. I get my treatments ready and read the notes that Sarah, Kimberly, and Katy left for me. Katy has my medicines all organized and labeled and ready to go so it’s pretty easy to start. I prepare the medicine for the ferrets and head on in to the dark Education animal holding room. No worries though, since I have my head lamp on. However, the Blue Jay apparently thinks this is the worst thing EVER, and SCREAMS. Loudly, constantly- it’s really impressive- he could hold his own with the red ruffed lemurs alarm calling. I cannot turn off the light so get the ferrets their medicine and leave the room. Things quiet at this point (thank goodness).


I decide not to try to find every animal immediately since it is just too dark. (I had issues last year finding everyone in the dark) so I head into the kitchen and set up all the indoor animals’ food:


Things are fine in Carolina Wildlife. Galileo opossum seems to be the only animal up and moving around. He’s finished all of his food from yesterday and greets me at his door when I open it up. Things move quickly in here. I head upstairs to give Shelly Turtle his meds. I stare at the elevator long and hard, deciding whether or not to risk getting in the elevator when no one is around in case I should get stuck. (Guess what I did?). Shelly swims under rocks trying to avoid my hand, but I win and his meds are on and I am heading back downstairs.

took 5 photos to get this non-dark, non-blurry photo to show you of Galileo

It’s light enough now so I can find every animal (only needed to search for two snakes that could not be seen through the window- any guesses which two?). I start cleaning the education animal room. I give the blue jay a peanut and make the mistake of trying to change his dirty newspaper with him in the cage. He, again, apparently doesn’t like this and takes off. He hops around the room and I let him into a playpen while I finish feeding, checking, and cleaning everyone. Jaybird forgives easily and he hops on my finger to head back to his home (peanut still in his mouth).

Donald arrives a bit before 8 AM so we gather our items for outside and begin. Chummix goat takes his meds really easily. Yay for Chummix. Both pigs took their meds easily, although I did got some poop on my hands while touching their snouts. Yuck.

Chummix was wonderful today- no yelling or head butting.

As I am sure you’ve already figured out, Lightning was a bit more particular about his meds. I couldn’t find any donkey treats (“cookies”) but found a huge container of a dozen or so dried fruits.  Lightning sniffed each item I tried and nothing. I’m sure Rocky and Patches were thrilled as each item the donkey sniffed and did not eat did not go back into the container but rather into a goat’s mouth.

So, back to the building to dig out a box of donkey treats from the freezer, and then back to the farmyard to give Lightning his meds- taken oh-so-easily between two donkey treats just as Sarah told me it would be.

After I set Donald up in the farmyard I moved on out to Explore the Wild. First stop, the bear cliff, where I find Virginia resting in her pile of hay.

Last week we tossed in a bunch of hay so Virginia could make a nest.

I find Yona at the other end of the cliff and get her meds to her as well. Fairly uneventful, so I am off again. I wake Mimi up in the bear house. She huffs at me. I was ready and apologetic, but she would not take my peace offering of an apple slice. Gus was snoozing in the cave and didn’t budge. Only Virginia decided to make her way down the cliff as I was scattering food.

The wolves seemed fine- both high on their cliff – so it was off to the lemurs.

All 6 lemurs were indoors and all seemed fine. Kimberly left me another note in the lemur house explaining the enrichment.  I decide to clean upstairs first, and feed the ring tailed lemurs. No real issues here, and no one has screamed at me. Historically, the red ruffed lemurs yell at me on Christmas and something gets knocked over somewhere, somehow, but not this year. I come downstairs and start to clean out the ring tailed lemur stall. I have no idea how it happened, but I turn around and step out and there is Lycus standing in the keeper aisle. I am not concerned, just confused. I go to try to shoe him back inside, but then Cassandra starts to head out the open door. Whoops. So I shift Cassandra and Satyrus over to the next stall. Lycus walks back on his own (really) and into the stall. Problem now is that Cassandra and Satyrus don’t want to leave stall 2. Oh well, so be it.

I move on to the red ruffed lemurs. I lock them out of 2 of their stalls. I clean and feed and hang the enrichment bags in there and then try to shift them over so I can clean the third stall without upsetting any lemur or losing any lemur. Only Jethys decides to move over though- that’s her with her head in the enrichment bag of Craisins.  (MOM- if you are reading this post you should know that the lemur enrichment bags are the Valentines Day goody-bags from our family vacations in San Diego from previous years).

So, I head into the last stall to clean. Iris and Cynthia are calmly hanging out overhead while I clean the floor and spread out the food. When I am all done I stand up and then Iris pees. Literally, right where I had just cleaned. It was like karma ghosts of Christmas’ past aligned so that finally I would have something go right at lemurs. Thanks Iris for not peeing on me!!!

Who needs toilet paper when you can reach with your tongue!

I finish up, head back to the Farmyard, check on Donald, and then back to the building where things continue to progress fairly easily.

It’s around noon. I am heading home and will be back at the end of the day to finish up. I hope everyone is having as lovely a Christmas morning as I have had. Until 2013…




7 responses to Christmas 2012

  1. Sarah Van de Berg says:

    Hooray for Sherry and Donald!
    For future reference, there’s a big box of donkey cookies in the FY chest freezer. I’m REALLY happy that Chummix took his meds easily. Who would have though crushed graham crackers and strawberry Jello were appealing to goats?

    As for hidden snakes, I’m going with the Garter Snake and Yellow Rat.

    Thanks for the day off, it’s been great spending the day with my critters here at home.

  2. Kimberly says:

    Thanks Sherry and Donald!

    I’m guessing you took the stairs. And yellow rat and greenish rat were the ones you couldn’t see.

    This post was quite funny! Jaybird and Lycus “knew” you’d need something to write about later.

  3. mom says:

    loved reading about your day and gifting your co-workers the day off.

    the bag was very nostalgic and a reminder of some really good times in San Diego!
    xx oo

  4. Ranger Ro says:

    This is always my favorite blog post and every year I look forward to your “adventures” thank you Sherry for another entertaining year. Kimberly said that after your Christmas Eve pump debacle you may not have much to write about but I’m glad you did. This was a great read on my day off. Donald you rock as always!

  5. Sherry Samuels says:

    It was the yellow rat snake and the Water snake (water snake was buried under water under rocks- under everything!
    KATY KNEW the Blue Jay hated flashlights and SARAH KNEW there were donkey treats in the freezer in the Farmyard- both things that would have been good for me to know ahead of time.
    Glad the posts are entertaining!

  6. Julie Andrews says:

    My students visited the museum today. They are wondering why the lemurs were chewing on newspaper while they were outside. We noticed that you had newspaper in the indoor cage as well. By the way, they loved the red ruffed lemur -very entertaining spinning around the branch. It was almost as if he were trying to entertain us.

    • Sherry Samuels says:

      The newspaper was a form of enrichment. Some sheets were balled-up, some sheets were left flat, some sheets had fruit inside.
      Good question. Thanks for paying attention!

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