Notes From the Zookeeper: Team Player! And the Cutest Thing

Gotta make this quick because I woke up late. But I promised to share an amazing video, so here I am.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Grumpy little Northern Spider Tortoise.  Freshly hatched with plastron still folded

I did something crazy a few weeks ago. No surprises there, really. I am kind of unpredictable a times. But the zoo is a corporate sponsor of the local marathon, and that meant we needed a TEAM. I am a team-player, friends. I likes me a good team, and I LOVE a long walk, so I signed up for the 1/2 marathon. Not to run it, mind. I was put together out of spare parts, kind of like a platypus. I cannot stay sound enough to run anywhere unless chased. Even when I’m chased, I am not fast. I can only win in the survival of the fittest by pushing someone down. Don’t gotta be fast, just faster than someone else, right?

Anyway, yesterday was the day. I originally had a goal of finishing in 3:30 – three hours, thirty minutes. That’s how fast you have to walk it before they start taking the course down. But then I developed this pesky arthritis in the ole spinal column, so my plans changed. Finish the thing with no time goal. Finish, or die trying.

My view yesterday morning:

The Sun Sphere, a Knoxville landmark from my childhood. I have some bitterness about this beautiful thing. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. No, Marge, I did not forget.

Who’s an excited girl?

40 degrees, not quite daylight, but here I am with about 5000 of my closest friends!

And the crowd builds energy. So many people of different body shapes, all out here with a common goal. Also, something I didn’t expect.

Yeah, that’s a T-rex. See that yellow bib? That means it’s running the full marathon. Godspeed, my Cretaceous friend!

I hung with some of my teammates for a while, but though I am not built for running, you can wind me up and I’ll walk all day. It was actually more comfortable for me to open my stride and walk faster. And the miles fell down behind me. I started passing people, especially on the hills. You’ve never seen my legs, but I do not have calves – I have steer. I am MADE for climbing hills. Plus. I walk our neighborhood, and it is uphill in both directions. I am a rock star when it comes to churning up hills. Then the sun came out, and I got to see some of the prettiest parts of my city on my stroll.

Mile 13. I am so happy, having SO MUCH FUN!

I could not stop smiling. An officer at mile 13 barked “There’s no smiling in marathons!” I yelled back “The course hasn’t been taken down yet! I am achieving my goal!” He tossed me a thumbs-up.

And then, there it was. The finish line. This marathon finishes runners on the 50 yard line of our football stadium. We’re projected onto the jumbo tron as we cross, and then a volunteer hands us a space blanket and a medal. It was an incredible moment!

And here I am!

Selfie at the finish line! I did it! LOOK AT MY SHINY MEDAL! Sparkly, pretty, and heavy enough to be used as a weapon! Yes, that’s a Gryffindor shirt I am wearing. It also has a cape, which isn’t visible in the photo.

And now for news of the cute. My co-worker has had some incredible success hatching Malagasy Flat-tailed tortoises. Pyxis planicauda are hard to breed, even harder to incubate. But here we are!

Hatching is a lot of work. I’mma take a little nap.

First delicious meal. Is that a mushroom?

And now she is hatching some Taylor’s Shield-tailed Agamas. I’ll share more about those later, but it’s school and work time now. I’ll leave you with these.

The pink in the egg is the head of the embryo. The pointy thing is it’s head.

And if you do nothing else today, watch this video. Embryos move long before they hatch.

What’s magical in your world this week? Did you attend a march? Tell me about it!

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5 thoughts on “Notes From the Zookeeper: Team Player! And the Cutest Thing

  1. Big congrats on the half! Woo Hoo! 🙂 You are FAST! My fastest time was in the 3:40s and I paid heartily for it.

    Thanks for the baby pictures! Little reptiles and amphibians are too adorable!

    I’m sooooo proud of the students who attended the marches. Definite hope for our future right there!

    No big excitement here. Had my “puppyectomy” last week and all but one have been adopted. Mama had a very promising intro with a really nice family yesterday; they want to think about it to make sure she’s the absolute right fit, which I think is great. The babies ended up being huge — about 15 pounds at 8 weeks! That’s almost 75 pounds of puppy (and poopy! 😉 ). Finally finished cleaning, disinfecting, and putting away all their linens, bowls, toys, enclosures, etc. and getting my living room back to normal. (How did they manage to flick poo there? I don’t wanna know…)

  2. “I have steer.” It took me a sec, but then I bust out laughing with sisterhoodly thoughts on my own overdeveloped calves. Congratulations on your half! Thanks for sharing the new critters you’re tending (keeping?) and the fun post!

  3. Congrats to you! Finishing is what matters! My daughter runs half-marathons, and for the mom of a girl who was the most sedentary teenager ever, I am constantly amazed at her accomplishments. She has special hanging thingies for all her medals. (She is also an award-winning 7th grade teacher!) Anyway, my granddaughter and I joined a mini-march (really just standing on the major street corner in downtown Kerrville TX with signs), got lots of thumbs-up, honks, a few obscenities and, for me, great pride in my little blue tribe in this huge red state. My granddaughter hung her sign up in her room.

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

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