New JRC Resident

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Meet Andrea, the tiny little coati that came in a few days ago.  Everyone’s voice went about 10 octaves higher when they saw her.  I don’t know how she was found, but she had been chewing on the end of her tail.  The next time I saw her she had a bright red bandage wrapped around it.  They were letting her in the sloth garden so she could socialize and encouraged everyone to play with her.

Coati’s are known by many names like the Brazilian aardvark, hog nosed coons or my personal favorite, snookum bears.  They are relatives of the racoon family and usually travel in bands of 10-30 (but only the females…males travel alone).  They are

Mmmmm I likes me some banana!
Mmmmm I likes me some banana!

known for their intelligence and amazing sense of smell (check out the nose on that girl!).  They keep their ringed tails high in the air which helps them locate one another in tall grass.  Heck, these guys are even found in extreme southern parts of Texas!

I jumped at the chance of manning the sloth garden the other day and sure enough, she was dropped off to me.  She quickly proceeded to eat Stanley’s banana.  When she got bored of that, she’d wander around a little bit and then I’d go pick her up to hold her for a while.  She has some mighty sharp teeth and growled and bit me when I attempted to get her.  But once she was on me, right up to the shoulders she went and snuggled in just fine.  It was a cute sight so I had to take some pictures.

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She got tuckered out pretty fast and would fall asleep on me.  I would wake her up after a bit and get her moving again.  They are not nocturnal so I didn’t feel bad about doing it.  She’d go to the corner of the garden and try to chew on her tail again, which I would stop her from doing. I know she was doing it for a reason…and I know how good it feels to scratch an itch but I didn’t want her to hurt herself either.  Someone told me they put the bandage back on at night.  Poor girl…she would scratch her little legs as she sat on her tiny butt, back up against the wall like a bear.  Another volunteer came in and told me she had mites.  Mmmmmm great, and she’s been climbing all over me.  Then she said, “well, most of the animals here have mites”.  After my encounter with chiggers in Guyana, I knew immediately that I would be going straight to the shower, throwing my clothes outside and scrubbing down well.

Regardless, she was still fun to hold and play with.  At one point, I had her on my chest and she shoved her big ‘ol nose in my throat and took a nap.  Now tell me THAT ain’t cute!  IMG-20130602-00740

"Are you my mama?"
“Are you my mama?”

Then on the way to deliver the squirrel food I noticed this awesome skink that I’d never seen before!  Apparently he’s not new, he just hides a lot or I’m not back there that often to have seen him before.  The picture, as usual, doesn’t do his colors justice.  He was really outstanding!  Quite a handsome lad!

IMG-20130602-00683I also passed by the tree frog area which always has eggs stuck to the leaves so I took a picture.  They fall into the water below when they are ‘ready’ and then transform into tadpoles and eventually frogs.

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Today I went to the beach again, as I have been trying to do when I realized I won’t have it around for much longer.  Plus, I FINALLY found the perfect spot in Playa Chiquita where the water is calm and I can have my own personal bathtub to myself.  I brought along some of my $8 salami to feed the fish (they don’t know how good they have it).  As I stood there doing that, some of them thought it was a great opportunity to chew on ME instead of the salami.  Just when my friend invited me to have a fish pedicure in Virginia (which I turned down), I told her I can get one here at no charge.  Those tiny fish teeth hurt sometimes too!

These fish work for free!
These fish work for free!

Unfortunately I’m back to having a love/hate affair with this town again.  Something blew in with the cold front the other night and I have some bad allergies, along with a bunch of other folks too.  Just when I was feeling good, SOMETHING had to happen.  On top of that, the sand fleas are eating me alive tonight.  I thought to myself, “I don’t know HOW anyone can LIVE HERE!!!!!!”  Two more weeks, Steph…two more weeks.

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Put Down Your (Electronic) Pencils

Ok, no hate mail on this one please.  Dante has a skin infection and had been stuck in her cage for a while.  Bummer.  Got her outside but she’s notorious for just wanting to lay around and cuddle.  I mean, who can blame her, really?  It’s what she’s SUPPOSED to do as a baby sloth!  But I was told to get her moving around or just hanging on the branch so she can defecate.  It’s been a while.  Yep, this was my job today:  Get the sloth to defecate.  Unfortunately she didn’t during the time I spent with her, but I did get her moving, she even walked on the ground and got in another tree by herself at one point!  So this is a video of her crying.  It’s funny and pathetic…how can you deny a sloth who wants to be held!?!?  It wasn’t easy.  But you just gotta teach these kids…life ain’t pretty…put your big girl pants on!!

http://youtu.be/S2K1HH4tjHw

Pungulino the Pine

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I decided the other day that I wanted to do some enrichment programs for some of the animals that are never let out of their cages.   This means finding something to keep them occupied and entertained and changing those things so they don’t get bored.  I’ve always thought that would be what I’d be good at and it would make me feel good to help the animals in that way.  I would have to research what they do in the wild and what other places have done in the past that have worked and also build the items that they would be utilizing.

You may recall that I have a fondness for the porcupines.  I’ve always been one to stand up for the rights of the spiky, toothy, not so cuddly creatures and this sweet ‘pine with the broken foot was no exception.  So yesterday I talked with Encar and she was all for it, as was Poo.  I figured I’d start with the pines and I wanted to spend some time in the cage with them.  The little one, whose name I found IMG-20130503-00554out was Pungulino,  came out and grabbed onto my finger really hard (wasn’t sure if he was going to bite me or not) and then climbed onto my hand and arm.  His little feet were cold, so I wondered if he just wanted the warmth.  Anyway, I doubt many people would let a pine climb onto them without freaking out, but I did and we had a nice little bonding session.  He climbed on my shoulder and sat there.  Then he  curled up into a little ball on my chest and fell asleep for a while.  I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and had already looked up an easy enrichment game that I was going to bring in today to see how he liked it.  I put him back by his house and said, ‘see ya tomorrow’ and left the enclosure.

So needless to say, it was heartbreaking to see Encar taking him out of his enclosure this morning by the tail, dead.  I immediately felt like I had done something yesterday, but I couldn’t imagine what it could have been.  I didn’t feed him anything, I didn’t take him outside.  I wondered if maybe he had been sick and after finally getting some attention and love felt it was ok to let go.  Kind of like people do when they’re very ill.  I feel horrible and responsible in some way.  I know it’s hard to understand being emotional over a porcupine but he was very sweet.  I had so many plans for him to make him happier.

Other Residents at JRC

Two new baby sloths
Two new baby sloths

I took some time this morning to do some videos of the other residents at the center today.  You’ve seen the sloths and monkeys, but may not have known about some of the others.  So the link to my youtube channel is: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCE7_G8y87kQKbHa8pumncFw  and you can find what I have posted so far on there.  Most are new as of today for anyone interested!  I’m not sure if you can even hear what I’m saying on those videos, but I’ve summed it up in the description on there as well.  Sorry for the poor video…stupid phone.

Baby parrot with black and white baby owl.
Baby parrot with black and white baby owl.
Beautiful palm viper.  No, that's a reflection of my finger in the glass!
Beautiful palm viper. No, that’s a reflection of my finger in the glass!
Palma and the little blue bird
Palma and the little blue bird