Monday, January 26, 2015

AT THE ZOO

Mom went to the Kansas City Zoo on Friday.  I wish I could have gone, but dogs are not allowed there, so I was forced to stay home and do a little napping.  Mom did not take a camera, on purpose, because she was just going to watch the animals.  But after she saw the animals, she was overcome with a terrible urge to take pictures of them, so she used her cell phone to take some photos.  And now I am going to show you the photos that she took.

Humboldt Penguin
The weather was kind of chilly on Friday, like in the 40s, so the zoo was not crowded.  There were no school groups, which was very nice.  Mostly, there were just moms who had young children in strollers.

Some of the animals like cold weather, so they were outside, enjoying it.  But other animals stayed inside where it was nice and warm.  I think those animals were the smartest of all!

Humboldt Penguin
Mom spent quite a bit of time watching the penguins.  The Humboldt Penguins were the easiest to see close-up.  They breed on the coast of Peru and Chile near the Equator.  They get their name from the cold Humboldt Current, where they swim.  No other type of penguin lives as far north as the Humboldt Penguins.  You can see a whole blog entry about this type of penguin here.

Dinnertime!  Yum!
Late in the afternoon, the Humboldt Penguins got fed.  It takes two people to feed them because one person has to hand out the fish, and the other person writes down exactly how many fish each penguin  eats.  This way, if one of the penguins is getting sick or getting ready to molt or something, the keepers will know because of how much or how little the penguin is eating.  The kind of fish the penguins mostly eat is smelt.  All the penguins have names, and the keepers know which one is which, even though Mom thought they all pretty much looked alike.


Another kind of penguin at the zoo is the King Penguin.  This is the second-biggest penguin, after the Emperor Penguin, which you might have seen in the movie The March of the Penguins.  Some of the King Penguins were swimming around a little bit, but not too much.  When they swam around, they kept looking down in the water, like maybe they expected to see a yummy fish down there.

King Penguin
Some of the Gentoo Penguins are busy raising chicks.  Mom tried to take a picture of one of the chicks, but it would not pose nicely for her, so all she got was the chick's rear end.  The chicks do not have all their feathers yet, so if they fell in the water, they could freeze to death.  This is why they have to stay in little pens right now.  One of the chick's parents stays with it for 24 hours, and then that parent comes out, and the other parent stays with the chick for 24 hours.  I guess this is kind of like shared custody for penguins.

The Gentoo chick (left) is only 5 weeks old, but it is already getting big!
The penguin on the right is one of its parents.
A very nice zoo docent told Mom all these interesting facts about the penguins.  He also told Mom that when penguins molt, they lose all their feathers all at once.  Then they can't go in the water for about 2 weeks, until their feathers grow back.  If they go in the water without their feathers to keep them warm, they will freeze to death.  So in the wild, penguins who are molting can't go hunting for food until their feathers grow back in.  Often, they will eat a bunch of extra food before they start molting, so that helps.

This penguin has been named Remi or maybe Reki--
it's hard to read the bands.
Right now, most of the penguins have colored wing bands that show which zoo they came from.  But if you donate a certain amount of money, you can name a penguin, and then it will have wing bands with its name.  I don't know how much money you have to donate to do this.  I think Mom should give the zoo some money so that she can name one of the penguins "Dorrie."  Wouldn't that be a good idea?


These are Moon Jellyfish.  They look pretty, but I wouldn't want to get stung by one!


Here's a friendly llama that came over to the fence to check Mom out.  She even got to pet its nose, but she was careful because she didn't want to get spat on or bitten.  The llama was eating some hay.  There was also a white llama, but it seemed more interested in eating than in visiting with Mom.


Inside the Discovery Barn, the ring-tailed lemurs were all bunched up at one end of a branch, taking a nap.  This seemed to me like an excellent thing to do on a chilly afternoon!


These are Amazon Milk Frogs.  They come from the Amazon River Basin.  I thought they were cuddling, like the lemurs, but Mom said that amphibians don't usually cuddle.  She thought maybe the two frogs were doing something else, or at least thinking about it.


Here's a little squirrel monkey who kept jumping up and down acting silly right by the glass where Mom was standing.  There were some other monkeys in there, but they didn't pay any attention to Mom.  Mostly, they were busy ripping up paper towels, which is a really fun thing to do, as I can testify.  Squirrel monkeys live in Central and South America.


Anyway, that's pretty much all that Mom saw at the zoo.  She didn't go to the Africa section or the Australia section or lots of other places.  She went to see the polar bear twice, but all he was doing was sleeping on some white rocks which are supposed to look like ice, so it was kind of hard to even see him.  Maybe another day he will be swimming and playing in the water.

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