Thursday, April 12, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the Pittsburgh Zoo!

This week, our class got a behind the scenes look at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  I was a little wary of this, as I had gone on one my Freshman year for another class.  We did some different things this time, and saw some different animals.  When we first got there, they brought us to one of their education rooms.  Unfortunately, I ended up in the back row and had a hard time getting shots since there were so many of us…and we all love cute animals.  First they brought out a Macaw parrot.  Macaws are beautiful birds and it’s crazy that they can learn basic speech and live so long. The next creature brought out was a baby alligator. He was tiny, I think 2 feet long.  The zoo keeps them until they are 4 feet, then sends them back to wherever they came from.  He was really chill for being an alligator, but you could still see that he looked kind of mean! The last animal they brought out was a Kinkajou. It was so cute!  I wish I would have gotten a picture of it.  The walked it around and let us feel its tail.  It grabbed my finger with its tail and I was surprised! I’m used to cat and dog tails that don’t have that capability. From there we headed outside.  We passed a lot of habitats, but since it was so cold, most of the animals were inside.  We stopped at the lion exhibit.  They had just let 2 younger female lions outside for the day.  They came out, running and playing.  As you can see, it's funny how they have their own personalities and look like angry sisters after their play-fight.  After that, we went into the actual lion building.  Inside there were 2 male lions, who we had to avoid because they would try to mark their territory, and an older female, who I believe the keeper said was 22!  She was still pretty intimidating, as you can see from the image.  She was being fed raw horse meat and was apparently afraid we were going to take it from her!

 From the Lion exhibit, we headed over to see the African Painted Dogs.  They also had some interesting personalities.  The one dog seemed like he just wanted to sit alone - even when the rest of his pack was playing.  They look like regular dogs for the most part, but they make some funny squeaking sounds!

 After the dogs, we went to what was probably my favorite part of our behind the scenes visit - the aquarium!  We were able to hold sea turtles!  They take injured or orphaned sea turtles and raise them until they are 2 I think.  As long as they are not horribly injured, they will be re-released into the wild.  This is Clemente.  He's only 1!  The 4th picture is a 2 year old sea turtle who will be released soon!

 After the turtles, I spent some time exploring the aquariums.  I did want to go to the University of Miami and dual major in Marine Biology and Photography... Wish I could still do that!

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