QuikPost: office visitor

It’s Thursday night, around 6:30 and I am sitting at my desk trying to get stuff done.  I hear some quiet rustling outside my office and assume it is the cleaning crew trying to be quiet. I was wrong.  Out of the corner of my eye, something dark is moving across the floor.  It’s Zoe! Zoe is a large water turtle, of mixed lineage. (The floor tiles are 12 inches square). He is being treated for some shell issues andRead more

Box turtles are territorial

The Keepers got a call last week from someone trying to do a good deed by rescuing this turtle. It’s a box turtle, and if you look closely in the area of its back right leg you can see some shell missing. It appears to be an old injury that the turtle has long recovered from. If you find a turtle in the wild, please let it be. If you find one wandering down the road, move it to theRead more

QuikPost: Animal Photos.

I was flipping through the many photos on our camera and thought I would share a few with you. This is one of our box turtles doing some painting for enrichment. Our spotted turtle (male) likes to “bother” our painted turtle (female) in Carolina Wildlife. Our canebrake rattlesnake kept getting an abscess on her face. We did some work on her and she hasn’t had any recurrence yet. It’s hard to see, but that’s one of her fangs being manipulatedRead more

BWOM: Biogeochemical cycle

The Big Word of the Month is biogeochemical. You can probably figure out the meaning if you break down the root words. Scientists use the term to refer to the processes by which chemicals like nutrients move through biological (bio) and non-biological (geology and chemical) parts of the Earth’s ecosystem. One of the most important biogeochemical cycles is the Nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen is critical for animal and plant life because it is a constituent of proteins and nucleic acids (likeRead more

Trip to the National Zoological Park

On Friday I spent much of my day at the National Zoological Park in Washington, DC which is part of the Smithsonian Museum Complex. I spent most of time getting glimpses of some of the areas where the Animal Keepers work. I started my morning in the Reptile Discovery Center where I learned some helpful hints on exhibit design and modifications and saw there emergency system for dealing with venomous snake bites. As you can see from the pictures, anRead more

BWOM: Odontochelys

The Big Word of the Month, Odontochelys, is a mouthful and is the genus name of the a newly discovered fossil turtle. It was found in China in late 2008. Odontochelys semitestacea is the oldest known example of turtles and the specimen differs from modern turtles in two important ways. First, the species has a toothed mouth rather than the toothless beak of present day turtles. The “odonto” in the name comes from the Greek word for “teeth”. Secondly, thisRead more