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Most zookeepers love Spring- for the warm weather, plant growth, but most of all- the changes they see in their animals. Here at ZooAmerica, we see Spring in many ways: prairie dogs finally emerge from their burrows, reptiles get their appetites back, courtship rituals among paired animals, nest building, loud vocalizations and many more!
Today, one of the red-tailed hawks was trying to build a nest on the ground. Wild red-tail hawks usually build their nests in trees, on cliffs or artificial ledges. There is an excellent tree for nesting in their exhibit, but they may have chosen the ground because they are not able to fly. There are branches leading up to the tree, so they can still perch. Each bird came to the zoo because of injuries sustained in the wild.
The hawks were given a variety of materials to help them build a more complete nest (their favorite is pine branches):
A good nest could take a week to build, and these birds are well on their way! For more signs of Spring at ZooAmerica, check out our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ZooAmerica
The Eastern Indigo displayed in the Southern Swamps building is a favorite among Zoo Staff. He is extremely active and fun to watch. “Snakey” came to us as a donation in 2009, weighs 4 pounds, and is about 9 years old. When you visit him, you may notice that one of his eyes is a bit cloudy. He was recently diagnosed with bilateral cataracts. This means he is most likely only seeing shadows. Snakey is still active, even with his vision problem; we just have to be a bit more cautious at feeding time!
These snakes are named for their blue-black color, and are not constrictors like most non-venomous snakes. Instead, these snakes are “crushers.” They crush their prey with powerful jaws. Careful, you don’t want a bite from these snakes!
Eastern Indigo Snakes are threatened for many reasons- habitat loss, collection (many people want these beautiful snakes for pets), and destruction of gopher tortoise burrows (where they call home!). The only places you can find an Eastern Indigo now is in southern Georgia and Florida. The Endangered Species Act has protected this snake since 1978.