Notes From the Zookeeper: ROAD TRIP!

As you can perhaps tell from the title, I’m on the road. The boss, in his infinite graciousness (or in his desperation to get rid of me for a few days) budgeted to send me and a co-worker on a learning expedition.  He gets to go to France and Madagascar and New Mexico. I get to go to Detroit in February and South Carolina in June. He might be trying to get rid of me for MORE than a few days. All he has to do is make it look like an accident, you know.

But I could not be happier. In February, I attended Amphibian Management School in Detroit, which was an incredible experience. And now, I am deep in the wilds of South Carolina, no cell phone reception and mosquitoes the size of small dogs. And I am happy. I’m at the Turtle Survival Center. I know. Pinch me. I can’t believe I’m really here.

We arrived last night (thank you, MapQuest, giant raspberry to Google Maps) in the middle of nowhere. A middle of nowhere that boasts 1,000 cornfields, a car show (sorry for almost greasing you, kid on the motorbike with no lights at dusk. But we both know it was your fault.) and enough Dollar Generals to keep Ravenclaw in Mousies for the rest of her life.

This cat is so addicted to her mousie that the person who gifted her the first two went out and bought her eight more!

The nearest real grocery store is an hour away, but the most endangered tortoises and turtles in the world are right outside my door.

We’re here to volunteer. We brings some knowledge to the table already, but the director and chelonian keeper are prepped to drop some learning on us. After discussions with our lead keeper on what he’d like us to see, they’ve set up an agenda for us. We’re going to jump into some current projects involving plumbing and construction and try not to get in the way or lose a finger help complete them. I want to learn construction, and I also want to learn what kinds of browse they feed here. We try to give our animals a varied diet, and now we can get some info on how to expand our menu.

I don’t have any images to share yet because we just got here. AND I don’t know what I am allowed to share. So you get something from my archives. Kind of a chef’s surprise.

Al says “Nah!”

We have a tour this morning, and I’m taking lots of photos, but if they say they’re just for personal use, you’ll just have to make a trip to my house to see them. In the meantime, random photos from my phone.

Happy Trails!


16 thoughts on “Notes From the Zookeeper: ROAD TRIP!

  1. We do art enrichment with our animals too! Though I’m not sure that the turtles do it, I think it’s mostly the ferrets and other small mammals before a bath. Non-toxic water based paint FTW!

    Have fun! You have *the best* stories.

  2. I thought of you today because I rescued a turtle (I think). The other day I saw a small turtle with yellow marks on him who had come up a steep incline from the forest and was stuck on the walkway to our front steps–unable to crawl over the garden border to get to turf or food. Fearing that the turtle would starve to death, we named him “Larry” and took him back down the hill into the nature preserve. Today, Larry was back on the other side of the house at about the same level, but seemingly stuck in the steep-inclined mulch. When I looked at him, he had excreted a large amount of liquid and churned the dirt into mud. As I was trying to figure out what to do, I noticed a rather large turtle on the other side of the house amidst the gardenias and the crepe myrtles, and when I looked down at the him, there was a similar mud bath, so I put on a pair of gloves, picked up Larry, and placed him in the giant turtle’s site-line under the gardenias. I swear that it looked like they were having a chat (“God is real and she’s a chubby Black woman.”) Within 10 minutes they had both disappeared to God knows where. Sure hope I didn’t scare them to death! Yikes!

  3. Pingback: Notes From the Zookeeper: I’m Surrounded By Turtles! | Becoming Cliche

  4. I’m a Bloggess Pal and also have been thinking about getting a pet turtle. I feel extra inspired now to do this.

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