Category Archives: Fauna

New giraffe species at the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo logo

I discovered many decades ago that annual memberships to places that one enjoys going quite regularly are very worthwhile.

First, they save a lot of money.

Second, though, things are always changing.

As my wise old grandmother told me after I had become the largest typing service in Kingsville, Texas: “If you want to stay #1, you have to change.”

At the time that didn’t make sense to me, but after watching several companies—Quark Express, Lotus 1-2-3, PC Word, Wordstar, WordPerfect—with #1 market share disappear because they failed to change, either with the times or in response to competition, I now understand.

The San Diego Zoo is another case in point. When I was watching Johnny Carson in the ’60s and ’70s, two of his regular guests came from the Cincinnati Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. Even though San Diego was much closer to Hollywood, I thought the Cincinnati Zoo got more exposure. That put the Cincinnati Zoo on my list of top zoos to visit.

When I finally got to the Cincinnati Zoo in 1995, it was a major disappoint-ment, especially since I had already been a member of the San Diego Zoo for a year. I was soooooooooo looking forward to visiting what I always considered the #1 zoo in North America. Sadly, the exhibits and the zoo itself were overgrown with weeds, the alligator exhibit was disgustingly gross and odiferous, and many daytime animals simply were nowhere to be found. I now know that the Cincinnati Zoo had lost a major benefactor due to his death and had not found a replacement for several millions of dollars that had flowed into the zoo each year.

Elephant getting a pedicure at the San Diego ZooHere at the San Diego Zoo, they continue to expand the boundaries of zoo exhibits, being the first zoo to create natural exhibits where several different species live together, just like in the wild. Conrad Prebys, San Diego Zoo’s major benefactor, died a few years ago but left a lot of money to the San Diego Zoo. Thus, we have the Conrad Prebys Koalifornia koala exhibit, the Conrad Prebys elephant care facility, and the newly opened Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks! exhibit.

The San Diego Zoo comprises only 100 acres, though, so when an area gets renovated, they have to do something with all the animals that made that area home. Typically, they will loan them out to other zoos, and other zoos reciprocate when they are undergoing their own renovations. The San Diego Zoo also often rescues animals from other zoos that didn’t make it financially, or “backyard zoos” which are typically still found in the Midwest and South. A couple of years ago, several abused and distressed elephants from an Oklahoma Zoo and a backyard zoo in Texas were brought to the San Diego Zoo and rehabilitated, now happily roaming around 14 acres with their own herd.

Recently I discovered a new giraffe species at the San Diego Zoo.

I was quite surprised because I had read nothing about this new species in the Zoo Magazine or on the web site, and nothing in the news about it.

It’s quite an interesting animal.

Here’s its picture:

Unusual giraffe

And you thought this whole post was going to be serious. I guess I just can’t be trusted.

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

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Mickey the Meerkat mug shot

Mickey the (bad) Meerkat

Picture of the Moment

Who knew that bad meerkats got arrested?

Here are the recently released mug shot photos for Mickey the Meerkat, arrested for abandoning his post.

Mickey the Meerkat mug shot

Mickey the Meerkat mug shot

Here is what Mickey the Meerkat should have been doing at his sentry post:

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

Here is what the Meerkat Police, San Diego Zoo Division, found Mickey the Meerkat doing:

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

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

Gull taking home some food

You can take some home

My wise old grandmother

Whenever my wise old grandmother (MWOG) took me out to eat, inevitably I could not eat everything that the restaurant served me. MWOG often told me, “Just because the restaurant served it to you doesn’t mean you have to eat it all now. You can take some home.”

In her afterlife, I believe she has been counseling some fauna here on Earth:

Squirrel taking home some food

Gull taking home some food

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

IMG_7761 Coco

Picture of the Moment—Meet Coco

Picture of the Moment

I’m the incoming newsletter editor for the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society (SDCSS) .

With over 700 members, it’s the largest chapter of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America.

So I was obligated (not that anyone had to twist my arm) to attend the SDCSS Winter Show & Sale.

I heard that it’s the second largest cactus & succulent show & sale in the United States, right behind the SDCSS Summer Show & Sale.

It looks like I’m going to have a great time meeting lots of people, seeing lots of cool plants, taking lots of pictures, and, of course, compiling the newsletter each month.

Here’s my favorite picture from this past weekend:

IMG_7761 Coco

That’s Coco. She’s just a year old and belongs to one of our SDCSS members. One of her parents was a floppy-eared dog and the other parent was a perky-eared dog. Hence, the floppy ear and the perky ear on little Coco, which I thought was sooooooooooooooo cute.

Fortunately, my assistant, a cutie herself, is not jealous so she did approve this post.

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

The story of the honey bees

I live in my own little world

I can definitively tell you that honey bees don’t like garlic. Around 7:00 a.m. on Monday, January 29, I spread some garlic powder around the north pond where the honey bees have been congregating to quench their thirsty little bodies. I specifically put the garlic powder out before the honey bees arrived because the smell will drive them away whereas getting the powder directly on them will kill them.

Honey beesYesterday the bee congregation at the north pond was about half what it was the day before while there was a noticeable bee congregation at the new Wildlife Corner pond. Today, I only saw three honey bees at the north pond. I caught their conversation:

PondJim (first honey bee): “Wow! Where is everyone, Andrew?”

Andrew (second honey bee): “I don’t know, Jim. I just got here myself.”

Jim: “What’s that awful smell?”

Andrew: “I think it’s garlic.”

Jim: “Oh, no! Is everyone dead, then?”

Andrew: “I don’t think so. I saw Matt just a couple of hours ago over in La Mesa.”

Brian (new arrival): “Jim! Andrew! Don’t go near the water. There’s garlic on the beaches!”

Pond in Wildlife CornerAndrew: “We know! But where is everyone?”

Brian: “We’re all in back. I came to see if anyone was out here. This guy, Russel, who lives here, built a huge pond for us with all sorts of beaches. He even bought a bird bath and put some rocks in it to make it shallower for us. He’s a great guy! He rescues us if we fall in the water and can’t get out. He’s the reason Mary, Margaret, Dirk, Ken, Mark, and Cary are still with us.”Sea lavender

Jim: “I’m pretty tired, though. I was all the way over in Rancho San Diego today. The jacarandas, lilies of the Nile, and sea lavender all are blooming. It’s paradise, but I sure am thirsty.”

Brian: “The new pond is just around back, about a minute’s flight. Follow me! You can make it!”

I am pleased to report that I did not have to rescue a single honey bee today. Maybe I have enough shallow areas and beaches so that they don’t fall in the water, or maybe the weaker honey bees already drowned in a pool somewhere, or maybe honey bees are capable of learning what to do and what not to do….

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

My Own Little World—Update on my thirsty honey bees

I live in my own little world

Update on my thirsty honey bees.

For the first two posts, see these:

https://russelrayphotos2.com/2018/01/26/did-you-know-bees-get-thirsty-too/

https://russelrayphotos2.com/2018/01/27/my-own-little-world-construction-of-the-wildlife-corner-pond/

I put out a little bag of pear and mango slices but the honeybees have absolutely zero interest.

However, all is not lost.

After constructing the bigger pond in Wildlife Corner and setting up the birdbath, about fifty honey bees found it. It was obvious that they had traveled far to get there because they were so tired that they kept falling into the water and didn’t have enough energy to get out. I spent a long time with a little stick helping the little ones get out of the water. I hope they have learned not to go into the water if they are too tired to swim. So I have a large colony at the smaller north pond and a large colony at the larger south pond. I still don’t want the honey bees at the smaller north pond because it is too close to the walkway to the garage. It’s a little disconcerting to have to walk through a hundred flying honey bees on the way to the car, or on the way from the car to the house with arms full of groceries….

So….

I’m going to try deterrent methods. The first one is to sprinkle powdered garlic around the pond. Apparently honey bees find garlic odor offensive and will stay away, hopefully moving to the Wildlife Corner pond. And it’s true! The honey bees don’t like the front pond anymore, but they still are out there flying around. Hopefully they all will find the Wildlife Corner pond soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a macro picture of a honey bee drinking water from the birdbath out in Wildlife Corner:

Macro picture of a honey bee drinking water

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

Picture of the Moment—First one I’ve ever seen outside of a zoo or aquarium

Picture of the Moment

Outside of a zoo or aquarium, I had never seen a millipede, a living, breathing, walking-on-a-million-legs millipede. Until yesterday.

It was making its way across a sandy area of my garden. I gave it a little help getting to the shadier side. I hope a bigger creature doesn’t make a meal out of him, but he will have more hiding places on the shadier side.

My wise old grandmotherThen again, though, as my wise old grandmother would say as she was moving an invasive creature from the indoors back to the outdoors: “It’s important for the food chain.” I learned a lot from my wise old grandmother.

I have seen quite a few creatures in the wild out here at our place in the boondocks that I had never seen in the wild before, including a praying mantis and a California quail.

Praying mantis in Winter Gardens

California quail

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