On behalf of the zookeeping staff at Southwick’s Zoo, we’d like to thank everyone for a great summer. The weather was very good and we have been very busy. Thank you to the folks who have donated items for the animals, we truly appreciate it as you can see from some of the pictures of the chimpanzees, all the spare towels, bedding and t-shirts go to good use! We have completed the cotton top tamarin exhibit and are working on a new wolf’s guenon exhibit (they are in a temporary exhibit at this time) and we can’t wait until completion so these amazing primates will have lots of space to live and play! We also wanted to remind everyone that it is rut season for the deer and elk. This means that we are separating out the big, dominant males from the population so it will seem that there are less deer in the deer forest. Also at this time of year, the deer generally slow down or stop feeding in the afternoon so we suggest to visit the deer forest earlier in the day!
On Saturday, January 11, 2014 , our reticulated giraffe Dotty gave birth to a calf we named Daisy (150 lbs, 6ft). Dotty was not interested in her calf. She has never seen a calf before (Dotty was born here at the zoo and is the second youngest female here) and we believe she didn’t quite know what to do after the birth! Our veterinarian made a quick, life saving decision to take her to Tufts so she can get the urgent care she needed. We get constant updates from Tufts and one of us goes up there to check on her each day. Great News! She should be coming home very soon, maybe today! We are really excited and a little bit apprehensive as she is a large calf that will need constant care and attention. However, this is one of the reasons we do what we do. It is amazing to be able to see new lives born and grow into the most beautifully amazing creatures, we are blessed. Thank you to everyone who have been asking about Daisy and her mom. Dotty is doing very well and her milk has dried up so we will have to feed Daisy till she is off formula. Can you keep a secret? We may have another blessed event here at the zoo soon…we’ll keep you updated!
On Saturday January 11, 2014 we welcomed an amazing little female giraffe “Daisy” to the Southwick’s Zoo family. However, right off our veterinarian realized that Daisy needed some immediate attention. Her mother Dotty was not taking an interest in the 150 lb, 6 foot baby and she was getting lethargic and weak. He made the decision to take her to the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine where she would get the specialized care she needed. The first few days were very touch and go as she had a low white blood cell count and fighting an infection. We are happy to report that each day she is getting stronger and hopefully will be back with us soon.
You may have noticed our peacocks roaming around the zoo. Many of our guests have commented “Your Peacock escaped the zoo!” This is because they have free range on our entire zoo property including inside and outside the zoo! They especially love to posture and display in the zoo parking lot first thing in the morning right next to the entrance doors and you may find them many times there late afternoon as people leave for the day! Their plumage is full at this time of year and they will start to drop the feathers as the summer winds down. They display mainly for mating purposes but sometimes they will display to intimidate to appear bigger when startled. Our peacocks enjoy roosting on top of our entrance building…so look up when you enter. They love to give out a loud call early mornings and throughout the day. Our peacocks especially love windows, mirrors or shiny surfaces where they can see and peck at themselves! We do ask that you please do not chase them as this is their home and if you’re lucky you may see them walking right through the entrance building…they think they own the place!
Feeding time for the Eurasian Eagle Owl is always interesting ….and cool! We have a pair (male and female) owls. The female is larger than the male and more aggressive. She will swoop down and grab her prey from either on the ground or in the air before the male. The male is more shy and will wait to feed. The Eagle Owl is quite large and can swallow their prey whole since they cannot chew their food. They have a really neat digestive system that will regurgitate the remains of the prey after they get the nutrition from the food in the form of owl pellets. Owl Pellets have the fur and full bone remains of the prey. You can see some owl pellets in the Earth Discovery Center!
This past summer we welcomed a baby Watusi to our family. Watusi, also called Ankole Cattle, are native to Africa. Their horns can reach up to 8 feet and some males can weigh up to 1600 lbs! This means that we have to be very careful when feeding and cleaning with these beautiful creatures. We especially have to be careful when momma Watusi has a new calf. Watusi cattle are very protective of their young and in the wild you will find most calves in the middle of the herd. Adults defend the herd by using their impressive horns and “stare” down tactics against intruders…and it can be very intimidating! Momma Watusi right now is especially protective of her baby and will show signs of agitation if people get too close to her calf. The calf is a little adventurous and momma is always right there for protection. We ask that you please stand back when the calf is close to the front of the exhibit, this is for your protection and momma’s peace of mind!