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The baby prairie dogs have finally emerged from their underground nurseries and are up playing in the bright sun! So far 7-10 have been spotted, and as the days and weeks go by, the number is sure to increase! You can normally tell which groups of babies are which from size differences and what holes they stick around. Right now there’s at least 2 different groups of young ones including some really tiny ones just seen today.
The female roadrunner laid her second clutch of eggs for the end of spring season. She and the male broke the first two eggs again, but the third egg is showing some promise. The male has been hard at work on the nest, and the female laid the egg in the nest- step #1! She’s also been sitting on the egg a lot and the male is also taking turns. Today I threw in some crickets in the afternoon and the male ran over and got one. He carried it in his beak up into the nest to give to the female. There are lots of good signs so far, but there’s still a long way to go to see if they will be first time parents this year. Other zoological facilites that breed roadrunners informed us that the first year of egg laying isn’t always successful. Often if the parents don’t break the eggs and the chicks actually hatch out, there could be problems with how the parents take care of the baby. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on the parents and the egg. If the egg hatches and the baby is successfully raised, it will be leaving the parents when it’s old enough to join the education dept. Then, even more people will be able to get a closer look and more education about these fast and interesting birds.
Today ZooAmerica celebrates Founder’s Day in honor of the 100th anniversary of a zoo in Hershey. There are pony rides, food deals, animal enrichment and talks, and a history talk. The animal species being concentrated on today are the founding members of Milton Hershey’s first zoo including the elk, prairie dogs, and the bears. There’s a barbershop quartet strolling around the zoo singing- everything combined has created a very fun atmosphere even with the occasional bursts of rain.
Johnny and June have been on exhibit for just 4 days now- our new 7 month old white-tailed deer. They join the single older doe and 3 turkeys. They came to us from a breeder in Cumberland County and spent their first 30 days in quarantine getting tests done and fecals taken to make sure they’re good and healthy. Johnny has little nubs for antlers already and weighs in around 72 pounds. June is very small with the faintest hint of her fawn spots and is only 40 pounds.
When they were released onto the exhibit on Thursday, they were a bit skittish, but explored and found the adult doe. They went over and tried to nurse from her, which she did not allow. The buck followed the turkey a bit, which was ironic since our male turkey used to spend a good portion of his day chasing the other deer.
The deer exhibit is right next to the bear exhibit, which had great potential to scare the deer once they saw the bears for the first time. When the deer saw them, they were carefully watching them but did not seem overly stressed. Today is the first day I’ve seen all three deer down in the same area- they’re all acclimating to each other and the exhibit quite well! They are even getting used to the monorail train traveling above their exhibit and enjoying treats of apples, banana peels and peaches.
Pictures will be posted soon!