Tag Archives: san diego safari park

….right there by mama’s side!

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I love going to SeaWorld, the Zoo, Safari Park, botanical gardens, and aquariums, there is a certain sadness connected to those places because many of the plants and animals they have there are endangered in the wild, usually because of human hunting or development.

Thus there’s always a certain king of joy when one sees plants and animals in their natural habitats.

Such was the case recently when I was way out in the boondocks where I saw many barrel cactus growing in the wild, specifically the fishhook barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni). Other common names include Arizona barrel cactus, candy barrel cactus, and Southwestern barrel cactus. It looks like these beauties:

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That second one looks like it is growing out of solid rock!

Tradition says that the barrel cactus is a source of water for people lost in the desert, and there are records of Native Americans using it for that purpose. However, the water within the plant contains oxalic acid, which can cause diarrhea on an empty stomach. Great! If I’m lost in the desert without water, it’s highly likely that I probably don’t have any food, either!

Barrel cactus (Echinocactus sp. and Ferocactus sp.) are sometimes called “compass cactus” because they are great exhibitors of phototropism–growing towards the light–as shown by this golden barrel cactus:

Golden Barrel Cactus in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Look at the shadow from the rock and you can see that it is, indeed, facing the sun. Here in the United States, most of the sun comes from the south, so the barrel cactus commonly faces south. Ergo, “compass cactus.”

Phototropism is exhibited in houseplants, too, as they usually grow towards the light—smile if that makes you think of Poltergeist, “Come towards the light Carol Anne.” Unfortunately, phototropism can cause house plants to look rather ungainly, which is why my wise old grandmother always rotated her houseplants, to give both sides the opportunity to get some of the light.

As with most cactus, the barrel cactus needles are quite dangerous. In my home state of Texas, we called them “horse cripplers” because a horse accidentally stepping on one, even a rather small one, could cripple it.

Additionally, a barrel cactus puncture wound is considered a dirty wound. If the puncture is deep enough to draw blood, lots of antibiotics may be needed, as well as several months for the wound to heal properly.

Barrel cactus can get quite large and tall. The golden barrel cactus in the picture above is one of the largest I had ever seen. That one, and several others, are located in the Desert Garden in Balboa Park here in San Diego.

However, my trip to the boondocks in East San Diego County provided me the opportunity to see some fishhook barrel cactus that were as tall as me (6’3″), like this one:

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My favorite one, though, was this four-feet-tall gal with her three little ones clinging to her side:

Fishhook barrel cactus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Even plant babies know that the best place to get love and food is right there by mama’s side!

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

Need a unique gift?
Consider Photographic Art!photographic art logoVisit Russel Ray Photos.

►►►►◄◄◄◄

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Advertisements

Get up high enough and you can see ’em!

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The African Lions are very popular at the Zoo and at Safari Park. There are two at the Zoo, and they usually are visible because their playpen is not that big. At Safari Park, it’s a different story. They probably have a few acres to run around in, so actually seeing them is hit or miss.

However, I found out recently that if you get up high enough, you can see ’em!

I went on the Balloon Safari:

Balloon Safari at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Balloon Safari holds about thirty people and takes you up into the wild blue yonder, about 400 feet up. From that high, I could see my hometown of Kingsville, Texas. Well, maybe not that far, but you can see a lot, such as these two female lions doing what all cats like to do: sleep!

Female African Lions at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is out near Escondido, and it gets extremely hot out there in the summer time, often up in the triple digits. That’s triple digits Fahrenheit for my Canadian friends.

Consequently, now is the best time to go to this beautiful 1,800-acre park comprising over 2,600 animals representing more than 300 species, as well as 3,500 plant species. It’s also very hilly in some areas, so wear comfortable shoes.

Remember, if you’re coming to San Diego, give me a call! I often can play docent for a day—Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Scenic 59-mile Drive, etc. And if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the plane; the view of downtown San Diego as you’re landing is awesome!

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, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat and her huge tail

Zoey the Cool Cat’s ancestry

Cats

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat is a ginger tabby-colored American Shorthair, sometimes called a Domestic Shorthair.

I think back when I was growing up in Kingsville, Texas, they were called “alley cats.”

Zoey the Cool Cat has huge hind legs and haunches, leading us to believe that daddy might have been a jackrabbit.

A recent picture that Jim captured on his smartypants phone seems to indicate that mommy might have been a ring-tailed lemur.

To wit:

Zoey the Cool Cat and her huge tailZoey the Cool Cat and her huge tail

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ring-tailed lemurRing-tailed lemur

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My pictures of the ring-tailed lemurs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are poor — they never cooperate with me — so I had to borrow that picture from Wikipedia.

It was there that I found out that the scientific name for the ring-tailed lemur is Lemur catta.

Lemur CATta!

Ah-ha! The proof is in the pudding.

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 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

Baby Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As much as I love going to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and SeaWorld, there’s still nothing like seeing wildlife in the wild. Except I’m pretty sure that I would not want to see a mountain lion mommy and her little one while I was out hiking by myself. Nonetheless……….

I remember when I stumbled upon my first Canada Goose here in San Diego in 1996. I thought the poor thing had a serious deficiency in its map-reading skills (GPS wasn’t on the scene yet). Thirteen years later and I know that the Canada Goose is resident in all the lower 48 States as well as Canada.

In the 38 years I lived in Texas, I never saw a Canada Goose in the wild, yet the whole state is covered with “I live here in the Winter” blue in my National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. San Diego is covered in the same winter blue, but I can tell you that there are many Canada Geese that live here year round, such as the two in the following flash video. They have been here for several years, rain or shine, hot or cold, winter or summer:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I suspect the same is true up in the Los Angeles area. It definitely is not winter in L.A. yet when I was at the Los Angeles County Arboretum in Arcadia a few days ago for my 19th anniversary, the only bird more prevalent than the peacock was the Canada Goose.

Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Baby Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Canada Geese at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Following are three flash videos of the Canada Geese at the L.A. Arboretum, including two little babies with mommy and daddy.

Remember that birds don’t have nationalities, so the plural of Canada Goose is Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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 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