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Here are the promised, long overdue pictures of some of our new arrivals:

Mo, our new 4 month old striped skunk poses for the camera

Mo, our new 4 month old striped skunk poses for the camera

 [Mo is named from the extra white hair on her head that can be easily shaped into a small mohawk!]

She's getting a little closer to check out that camera lens!

She's getting a little closer to check out that camera lens!

We are also working with Mo right now to get her ready for baths and nail clippings in case she one day goes into our education department.  We will hold them and get them used to being flipped over to expose their belly.  We also touch their hands and feet to get used to nail clippings.  Their nails get quite long and they are unable to wear them down in captivity the way they would in the wild.  Even when we clip their nails, they’re still fairly long because they need them to dig for tasty grubs!

Check out those long nails!

Check out those long nails!

Here are some pictures of the baby opossums getting ready to join our education department:

opossum close-updexterous fingers!

Brandon, one of our naturalists at the zoo wanted post this–I’m excited to try it out at my home!

Here at ZooAmerica, we display a number of animal species that you may not see on a daily basis.  However in most areas there is a large quantity of native wildlife that may go unseen.  There are a few ways to entice these animals into your backyard.

There are three basic needs of every living organism: food, water, and shelter.  If you do not see many native critters in your backyard, you may be lacking one or more of these necessities.  Many native plants will provide nuts or fruit that a wide variety of animals will feed on.  Serviceberry trees and blueberry bushes are two plants that will bring in a wide variety of birds.  The hemlock trees here at the zoo were successful in attracting white-winged crossbills, a small bird that seeks out the trees seeds.  Acorns from oak trees are relished by squirrels and deer.  Many trees that provide food for animals are also adequate for shelter.

Adding a bird bath is another good way to attract some feathered friends.  An adequately sized pond will not only attract a wide variety of birds, but also turtles, frogs, newts, insects, and other organisms.

Finally, shelter is required if you want your backyard guests to stay for a prolonged period of time.  The following website has instructions for different types of bird nesting boxes that you can build at home:
http://www.shawcreekbirdsupply.com/nest_box_plans.htm
Remember, the best way to attract any type of wildlife is to provide them with the necessities for survival.  Turning your backyard into a more animal-friendly environment can be a very educational and rewarding experience.

Until next time,
Brandon

Upstairs in our quarantine facility we currently have a baby striped skunk and two baby oppossums.  The skunk will be going to live with our spotted skunk on exhibit in the Great Southwest building.  The two oppossums will be heading to our education department to spend their time visiting children all over the area. 

Right now we are working with our skunk and the oppossums to get them used to us so they can be easily handled.  That way, training will go smoother once the animals have already built a relationship with us.  With the skunk, we sit with her, feed her and hold her, getting her used to her hands and feet being touched.  Once she is used to all of this, she will be ready for nail clippings and regular baths since we all know how stinky skunks can be!  Luckily this skunk has been descented, which means her scent glands were removed.  Even without the scent glands, she still emits a strong musky smell.

Look for pictures coming this week of our three new friends!

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