Category Archives: Snakes and lizards

San Diego Zoo—Three bird pictures and a hummingbird video

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Usually when I go to the Zoo I don’t hang around one spot for more than fifteen minutes.

This past Saturday, though, I spent three hours in the hummingbird aviary because the birds were putting on such a show.

Following are three bird pictures with a hummingbird video at the end.

Crested Screamer

The Crested Screamer (Chauna torquata), also known as the Southern Screamer, is native to South America. These birds do know how to scream and my goal is to get a video of them screaming. It is something to hear, up to two miles away. Even though they live in large flocks, they mate for life, estimated to be about fifteen years.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

The Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) is native to Mexico and the United States, although only to southeastern Arizona in the United States. It is a venomous pit viper, as are all rattlesnakes, but we never hear them called pit vipers. They grow to about two feet in length.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Plate-billed Mountain Toucan

The Plate-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena laminirostris) is native to Colombia and Ecuador, living in Andean forests among the bromeliads and mosses where annual rainfall is about fourteen feet. Yes, feet. It is the most vocal of the toucans and the flagship bird of the La Planada Nature Reserve in Colombia. It is in decline due to deforestation and poaching.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) is native to Mexico and South America where it hangs out in the canopy of forests. According to Wikipedia, it will come down to lower levels to visit hummingbird feeders, proven here since the San Diego Zoo is about 45 feet above sea level. :)

Smile if you think one of those bird pictures isn’t a picture of a bird at all!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Elephant trunk

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo through January 5, 2014

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jungle Bells started at the San Diego Zoo on December 14 and continues through January 5.

All sorts of holiday activities throughout the Zoo, including the Twinkle Light Trolley, costumed characters entertaining everywhere, Santa’s igloo, Carols at Camp Critters, Jingle Brass, Light Up The Night, Dr. Zoolittle’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Carol of the Jungle Bells, and much more.

For a complete list of events, times, and durations, see the San Diego Zoo web site.

Jungle Bells

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Extra Christmas presents for you if you can name all of the Jungle Bell animals above. Good luck! I made the graphic and I can’t name them all!………..lol

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Peas in pods

Mother Nature is out with the ladies

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Remember, if you come to San Diego by plane, sit on the left side of the plane. You’ll be amazed (perhaps even shocked or frightened!) at how close the planes fly to downtown San Diego as they are landing at the airport.

If you come to San Diego and you don’t call me, you shall forever be banned from my blog. If you give me enough notice (at least 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds), I could even play docent for a day.

When Bryan and Liz Flint came from Houston, I played docent for a couple of days. The following pictures of Father Nature (Mother Nature is out with the ladies and their roses and orchids) were taken at Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo while I was wearing them out traipsing around.

Bee and cactus flowe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flowers

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Cactus flowers

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Cactus flowers

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Red leaves

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Old tree

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Barrel cactus

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Date palm

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Dates

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Peas in pods

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Cactus flower stalks

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Cactus flower stalks

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Cactus flower

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Cactus flowers

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Cactus flower stalk

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Cactus flower stalk

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Red flowers

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Silk floss tree

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Flower buds

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Staghorn fern leaf

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Fallen leaf

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Cactus flowers

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Ocotillo cactus

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Snake

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ooops.

I have no idea how that last picture got in there.

Well, maybe I do……………

ZOEY!……………………….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Hollywood, California — Where pictures find you

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s always easy to find subjects for your pictures if you look around.

In some places, though, such as Hollywood, you don’t have to look.

Pictures seem to find you.

Make sure you have extra batteries and memory cards.

All pictures taken on Hollywood Boulevard between Vine Street and North Highland Avenue in Hollywood, California.

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hollywood, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Location of Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California

View larger map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, BRE #01458572

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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Today is Black Cat Appreciation Day, so Zoey the Cool Cat wanted me to share the story of how she came to be Queen of this house.

On Thanksgiving day of 2006, a feral black cat strayed into my yard. It looked at me with sorrowful eyes, seeming to ask, “Do you have any food and water for me?” I put out some milk. While it was drinking, I rushed down to the corner store to get a small can of cat food. When I got back, the milk was gone but the cat was still there. I put the cat food on a plate and set it as close to the cat as I could get. Within minutes the food was gone and black cat (hereafter, BC) went to sit on a fence post.

Sophie on fence

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unfortunately, minutes after eating, BC was gone, too. Never saw it again…..

…..until Christmas Eve.

Hmmm. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. I thought black cats only celebrated Halloween….

I put out some water (I think it was my mother-in-law who told me not to give cats milk) and rushed down to the corner store again to get another can of cat food.

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This time I bought three cans, thinking that the cat might come around more often than once a month. And if this cat celebrated holidays by coming to my place, well, Christmas was tomorrow and New Year’s Eve and Day were just a week away….

I put a plate of cat food out. BC ate the food, drank the water, and….

….collapsed on the asphalt to rest before eventually sheltering itself under a bush:

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the black cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

BC stayed for a couple of hours, but as soon as the sun went down, BC was gone. Hunters must hunt.

Bright and early the next morning, BC was back. Yahooooooooooooooooooooo!

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmother, who had adopted a few billion feral cats (we called them “alley cats”) during her lifetime, many of them tripods, always told me that if you feed a cat, the cat is yours. At the time I didn’t know if that meant that I owned the cat because I had spent money on it, or if the cat owned me because it approved of my actions. I now know it’s the latter.

I became BC’s new Chief of Staff.

We were able to determine that BC was a she, so Jim named her Sophie. She became part of our lives, eventually making it into and through the garage and taking over our home office.

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Each day Sophie would present to me a gift from her hunting expedition. Mostly lizards and gophers, I felt like they were especially for me. I didn’t mind losing a few gophers to this skilled hunter, but I really liked my lizards…………..

Mr. Lizard, Zoey the Cool Cat's new little friend

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alas, I figured that if Sophie could catch them, then there must be too many of them. Population control and all that. Never really convinced myself of that, so I tried instead to believe that losing the lizards was a tradeoff for getting rid of the gophers. Never really convinced myself of that, either.

One day Sophie brought me a hummingbird. That really broke my heart, so I thought I would try to convert her into an indoor cat. It looked like I was succeeding.

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

See how she’s winking at me? I now believe she was thinking, “This guy’s cool, and I’ll make him think that he’s converting me so he’ll keep giving me food, but I’ll never be 100% an indoor cat. Too many lizards and gophers in this world…..”

We moved just six months later, and we brought Sophie with us. She enjoyed exploring the new place, inside and out.

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Whenever I was outside gardening or watering, Sophie was right there with me. She would follow me around wherever I went. Reminded me of a dog. I would run from her but she stayed right with me. If I was successful at hiding from her while she was occupied chasing a bug, she was equally successful in quickly finding me. At the new digs, she used to follow me down to the swimming pool; the neighbors thought it was funny.

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

She dared not come too near the water, though, preferring to hang out at the barbecue pits or play in the trees, all the while keeping an eye on me.

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sophie the Black Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I was fairly successful at converting Sophie into an indoor cat…………

………….during the day.

At night, she just had to go outside. She would meow and sometimes even howl like a coyote until I let her out. However, she would always come back between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m., meowing and scratching at the office window until I woke up and let her in.

Sadly, on September 20, 2007, just six months after moving, Sophie was hit and killed by a car a block over. The street where she was killed was asphalt and unlit; cars liked to turn the corner and zoom down the street. Being caught in the street and blinded by bright car lights meant that Sophie didn’t have a chance. A neighbor found her body, placed it up on the curb under some bushes, removed her tag, and called me.

I had known something was wrong that morning because Sophie was late coming back. The neighbor called just after 8:00. I went to retrieve Sophie’s body and buried her near where she and I originally had met.

That afternoon Jim and I we went to the El Cajon Animal Shelter to adopt a cat, a 100% indoor cat—I decided I never wanted to go through a loss like that again. We found several that we liked but chose an American shorthair with ginger tabby coloring. Unfortunately she wasn’t available for adoption until 10:00 the next morning. Going a whole evening/night/early morning without a cat was tough. We were at the animal shelter promptly at 10:00 the next morning to make sure that we came home with Zoey the Cool Cat.

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Her name at the El Cajon Animal Shelter had been Zoey, and we decided to let her keep that name. After just six hours in our home, though, I added “the Cool Cat” to her name, all because of this picture:

chairs-19-500 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In memory of Sophie the Black CatCat drawing

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat approves this post.This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant panda cub at the San Diego Zoo

Happy World Cat Day from Zoey the Cool Cat & some of her friends

Snippets

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Happy World Cat Day from Zoey the Cool Cat & some of her friends!

Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Six-month-old Giant Panda at the San Diego Zoo

Giant panda cub at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red panda at the San Diego Zoo

Red panda at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby takin at the San Diego Zoo

Baby takin at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby visayan warty pig at the San Diego Zoo

Baby visayan warty pig at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Spot-nosed guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Spot-nosed guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Forest buffalo at the San Diego Zoo

Forest buffalo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pygmy marmoset at the San Diego Zoo

Pygmy marmoset at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Albino Burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Albino Burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Johnston’s crocodiles at the San Diego Zoo

Johnston's crocodiles at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Spot-nosed guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Spot-nosed guenon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Eastern Angolan colobus at the San Diego Zoo

Eastern Angolan colobus at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo

Rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Turtle at the San Diego Zoo

Turtle at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Guanaco at the San Diego Zoo

Guanaco at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Jaguar at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mama koala and her joey at the San Diego Zoo

Mama koala and her joey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mama lesser kudu and her baby at the San Diego Zoo

Mama lesser kudu and her baby at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar bear at the San Diego Zoo

Polar bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mama mallard duck and her ducklings at the San Diego Zoo

Mama mallard duck and her ducklings at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Desert bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo

Desert bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo

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Camel at the San Diego Zoo

Camel at the San Diego Zoo

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Squirrels at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Squirrels at Chollas Lake Park in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Black-crowned night heron at Mission Bay in San Diego

Black-crowned night heron at Mission Bay in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Robin(?) at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Robin(?) at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pelicans at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach

Pelicans at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach

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Mourning dove looking through the window at Zoey the Cool Cat

Mourning dove looking through the window at Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Dragonfly visiting my garden wall

Dragonfly visiting my garden wall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pigeon watching the Imperial Beach Surf Dog competition

Piegon watching the Imperial Beach Surf Dog competition

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pigeon sharing my breakfast table at the beach

Pigeon sharing my breakfast table at the beach

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Osprey on Shelter Island in San Diego

Osprey on Shelter Island in San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Two-month-old flamingo chick at the San Diego Zoo

Two-month-old flamingo chick at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool CatLooking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mang Mountain Pit Viper at the San Diego Zoo

Dangerous if provoked

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Today I attempted to go to the Children’s Zoo at the San Diego Zoo. It has been a long time since I went to the Children’s Zoo. The #1 reason is because, in order to get to the Children’s Zoo, one has to walk directly past the Reptile House. And I love reptiles! They are so cool! I never make it past the Reptile House unless I close my eyes, and then I run into people!

Caution: Snakes

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mang Mountain Pit Viper at the San Diego Zoo

From China, and the only species other than cobras to spit venom.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Santa Catalina Island Rattlesnake in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

A critically endangered rattlesnake since it exists only on
Santa Catalina Island off the southern coast of Baja California
in Mexico. Unique because this rattlesnake does not have a rattle.
(Great! Now we have to worry about rattlesnakes that can’t rattle
to warn us that we might be intruding into their territory!)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Eyelash Viper in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From Central and South America.
Distinguishing feature is a set of modified scales
above its eyes that look like eyelashes.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Madagascan Tree Boa in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From Madagascar.
Gets up to seven feet long and feeds on bats and birds.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Brazil's Lancehead snake in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From South America. An uncommon species. Bites from it have not yet been recorded although the indigenous people of southeastern Colombia greatly fear this snake.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Angolan Python in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From Southern Africa. Rarely seen in the wild or in captivity.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ring-necked Spitting Cobra in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From Southern Africa. Can spit its venom up to 8.2 feet!
Is known to “play dead” by rolling
onto its back with its mouth wide open.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red Spitting Cobra in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From Africa. Known to be cannibalistic, which could explain
why juveniles are diurnal while adults are nocturnal.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Terciopelo snake in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

Ranges from Southern Mexico through Central America and into northern South America. Called “the ultimate pit viper” because it is the most common cause of snake bites in its range. An irritable and
fast-moving species, the sign at the San Diego Zoo says it is
“dangerous if provoked.” Well, der.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Blood Python in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

A common exotic pet from southeast Asia.
Has been extensively “harvested” for leather.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Indian Python in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

From southern Asia. The largest known Indian Python was found in
Pakistan and was 15 feet long and weighed 115 pounds.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Did you find the head of the Indian Python in the picture above?
If not, here it is:

Indian Python in the Reptile House at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That's all folks!

I must make a mad dash over to
On The Border
for my requisite
Grande Raspberry Swirl margarita
for Cinco de Mayo!

Hope you had as much fun here as Zoey the Cool Cat and I did!

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Woma at the San Diego Zoo

I just need to look at your two front teeth

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The new Reptile Walk opened at the San Diego Zoo on July 4. I was first in line to get into the Zoo that morning and I’m pretty sure I was the first one down the walk. It’s an excellent addition to the Zoo. My next few posts will be of the Reptile Walk and the local residents there, so if you don’t like things like, uh, snakes, crocodiles, and the like, head on out to a ballgame….

This is a Woma (Aspidites ramsayi):

Woma at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Woma at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Woma at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A woma is, you guessed it, a snake. It is indigenous to Australia and endangered in many of its traditional habitats due to habitat alteration and destruction. Although the woman is a python, which normally prey on warm-blooded animals, it feeds mainly on reptiles, so it doesn’t have the heat-sensing pits characteristic of pythons.

The woma is a desired snake in the pet trade because it readily eats dead rodents and breeds in captivity.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

King of the……. snakes?

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The new Reptile Walk opened at the San Diego Zoo on July 4. Of course, I was first in line to get into the Zoo that morning. It’s absolutely gorgeous, a great addition to the reptile holdings.

And finally, after all these years, the king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) was being photogenic:

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

King Cobra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The king cobra is the longest venomous snake in the world, getting up to 18½ feet long. The resident of the San Diego Zoo is 13 feet long. Notwithstanding its name, it is not a true cobra. It is indigenous to India and Southeast Asia.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo’s albino burmese python

Out & About San Diego

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

In my opinion, the best time to go to the San Diego Zoo is at 9:00 a.m. when it opens. It’s not very crowded and the wildlife is up and at ‘em, looking for food from the Zookeepers or looking for the best spot to lay out in the sun for the rest of the day.

Usually I go to the Zoo alone because none of my friends are morning people and I dislike the afternoon crowds since you can’t see the wildlife.

I’m making new friends…..

This morning I took my weekly trip to the San Diego Zoo but went with a group of about twenty members of the Pacific Photographic Society, a meetup group. Much more enjoyable.

In two hours I took 158 pictures. Since I had accidentally left my Canon 550D on the RAW picture setting instead of RAW + JPEG, it took me the rest of the day to process those 158 RAW pictures. Live and learn.

Here are some pictures of the Zoo’s albino burmese python:

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

The Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) is the largest of the Indian pythons and one of the largest snakes in the world. They average about twelve feet long but can get up to nineteen feet long in the wild. The resident at the San Diego Zoo is eighteen feet long.

Although they are native to India and Southeast Asia, they have taken up residence in Florida, specifically the Everglades, due to owners releasing their too-large-for-the-home snakes into the wild but mostly due to a breeding facility that destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. They are now considered an invasive species in Florida due to their apparent hunger for foxes, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and even deer. Since 1992, sightings of raccoons and opossums are down by around 99%, and white-tailed deer signtings are down by about 94%.

Please, people, if you have a pet that you no longer want — dog, cat, snake, lizard, fish, whatever — first approach the business you bought it from. Many of them will take it back, some of them even paying you for its return. If the business is out of business, contact your local wildlife organization and they will help you. It’s cruel to dump an unwanted pet in the wild.

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat