Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Rainy Day at Riverbanks Zoo

Rainy Sundays are good for only a few things in Columbia and visiting Riverbanks Zoo is one of them. My daughter Miss Wiggles and I skipped out of the house living my wife and son behind and found the zoo nearly empty. Besides the workers there were only six other people giving the impression that the zoo was ours alone. On a normal sunny and warm day Riverbanks Zoo can take on the atmosphere of a crowded theme park.
We have a new kangaroo exhibit that you can walk through without any fence or other barricade separating you from the animals. There is a zoo employee watching everything to prevent anyone from trying to pet the 'Roos. Yes, my daughter was desperate to give one a hug.  This fella was under a shelter and was looking at us like we were crazy to be walking in the rain. Yeah, I guess he could have been right. 
Some of the animals at the zoo have the advantage of leaving whenever they want. This cardinal is one and was hanging out at one of the many places selling food looking for dropped french fries or pieces of hot dog bun. After shelling out six bucks for a hot dog Wiggles said she needed the next thing I know the bun is in a thousand pieces and the cardinal is flying off saying, "See ya' wouldn't want to be ya."

While the cardinal can leave some who crawl in and get caught become permanent guests. This cottonmouth crawled in for a visit a couple of years ago on a warm summer day and after scaring a couple dozen guests was captured by an alert caretaker and after a period of isolation is now on display. For those who don't know cottonmouths are nasty snakes with very bad attitudes. They are quite territorial and in fact I had one come after me one time back in Georgetown, South Carolina. My granddad, after hearing about it, said I probably got to close to her nest. Out of all of God's creatures I cannot stand these animals. I like gators better than them and that is saying a lot.   

Little dude here is a Grand Cayman Blue Iguana who has the duty on that island of spreading around the plant seeds. In fact many of the plants rely solely on the native iguanas to make sure their seeds get dispersed. Of course the Grand Cayman Iguanas are the most endangered species of iguanas with a wild population of no more than 100 to 175 individuals. Been to Grand Cayman and it is seriously overdeveloped with massive resorts probably taking much of what was once the iguanas habitat. On this particular visit this was my favorite animal and I figured he and I could have hung out all day on some beach with him smoking dope and listened to reggae.

Panamanian Golden Frog showing off for us, little fella and his buddies were all hanging out on the rock position under the heat lamp. Hey, they may not be free and wild but there are worse existences. Pre-Colombian tribes thought seeing one of these bad boys was a sign of good luck. As long as they didn't touch them, their skin is highly toxic.
This was the scene of a nasty marital fight with the brightly colored male, and certified jerk, pecking the head of his mate. If she ever gets fed up and kicks the living shit out of him I hope I am around to see it and laugh.
My daughter was wondering what this Jersey Cow's name was and when I said "Snookie" off the top of my head I got a vicious snort and a very dirty look in return. I apologized to the offended bovine and quickly left.  
Now this was bordering on the weird but primate dude here looked majorly depressed. I wish I could name this species of ape but it has slipped my mind and I forgot to take a picture of the information display that told me but I think they are related to Howler monkeys. I did three weeks in Honduras back in 1988 and suffered an assault of  poop throwing by Howler monkeys hanging out in the trees. The Howlers actually seemed to get a kick out of flinging poop on us which was about as exciting and dangerous as things got for me for that three weeks. As I watched the fella sitting there I felt so bad I would have gladly taken a couple of  hand fulls of poop to the body if it would have made him feel better. 

Miss Wiggles and the lorikeets. At Riverbanks you can feed the lorikeets little cups of sugar water , which are sold by zoo personnel just outside their enclosure.  We both seriously dig the colorful birds and after all our visits and feedings I believe we have developed relationships with some of the birds. The birds wear bands around their legs and one bird I believe has picked me out as a fantastic place to leave his "mark." I will save everyone from the nasty details but once I see that bird I always have to wash my hat when I get home.    
The bird in question is the one on the left and this was about a minute before he jumped on my head and did his business. You know I enjoy the birds so its no big deal. Their colors are so bright and they are so alive and active its a small price to pay. For those who might be wondering yes, I am smiling.


Windsmoke. said...

Looks like it was a fun day. Our own Melbourne Zoo has an enclosure you can walk through but on the day we walked through i was disappointed to see somebody trying to feed a LIGHTED CIGARETTE to a red kangaroo, this idiot was dobbed in and thrown out.

Liberality said...

You need to take lessons on smiling from Miss Wiggles. She's cute. The birds are cute too.

David Barber said...

Beach, you have a lovely smile. :-)

Looks like you had a great day out. Some nice photos, mate.

All the best, buddy!!

tim said...

Very cute. I know your a great DAD.
Hey I just wanted to stop by and wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!!!

Tim and Melissa

Pixel Peeper said...

The picture of Miss Wiggles and the lorikeets is priceless. Glad you enjoyed the zoo - Riverbanks Zoo is a cool place. We did not go often enough when we lived there.

I KNOW why you are not smiling and why the bird is doing what it has been doing... you are holding sugar water. Wrong. Have you tried holding beer instead?

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Windsmoke: We had an issue with a couple of rednecks one time determined to flip over a large turtle. They were thrown out with the cops waiting for them at the entrance.

Liberality: LOL!!! I'm just a mean SOB.

David: Its suppose to rain tomorrow and Wiggles and I are going back for another visit. Mainly because I can't fathom my daughter watching anymore of Spongebob. If I hear that song one more time my head will explode.

Tim: Can't tell Wiggles I'm a good dad right now, I put her to bed very early for not eating her dinner.

Pixel: A beer? May have to try that one. If it works the lorikeets and I will really be friends.

Bill's Big Bamboo said...

I have been to zoo's all over the world. Some great. Some shameful, for the way they display & care for their animals. [Prisoners get bigger & better "cells".]

That written ... I felt the Riverbanks Zoo was one of the better zoo's. Very progressive & "animal friendly". The landscaping of the entire facility is good too.

My behind-the-scenes-tour of the Reptile House & Aquarium was alone worth the entire(great)trip to South Carolina.

TRUTH 101 said...

Some of the best times the kids and I had was going to the St. Louis Zoo. I'm anxious for Summer to get here so I can take my granddaughter.

God bless Marlin Perkins.

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Bill: It surprises me that South Carolina could have such a "progressive" zoo when the rest of the state has a hard time leaving the 19th century behind.

Truth: We usually don't go in the summer. Its very overcrowded and the animals are not very active because of the heat and humidity. In the summer we do the South Carolina State Museum which is awesome. Did a few posts with pictures on it a couple of times.

lime said...

thanks for taking us along. love the golden frog, what a bright thing. your description of the ostrich's marital spat cracked me up. been to a lorikeet enclosure on a field trip with a crew of elementary kids. that was "loads" of fun...yeah little kids screaming about bird poop...hahahah. but they are gorgeous and under more controlled circumstances, fun.

MRMacrum said...

The bird "Business" I take issues with are the business of seagulls. I am positive they use it as a weapon. Bastards.

And regarding smiles - a frown is nothing but a smile turned right side up.

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Lime: Sort of bothered me with the Ostriches fighting, bird dude seemed to enjoy it.

It was another rainy day today and Wiggles and went back to the zoo and into the lorikeet enclosure. Yes, I will be washing my hat again.

Mike: I ain't big on seagulls either. Those living inland are even worse. Had a brand new 1984 Camaro once and the flying bastards dive bombed me to the point my paint job was ruined.

Akelamalu said...

What a great day out, made better by no crowds! :)

Randal Graves said...

When the kangaroo army begins marching across the land to turn the tables on its human captors, I know which state to blame.

Funniest part about Grand Cayman is that when the iguana is certified extinct, at least 87% of the places and 96% of the cheap plastic tourist crap sold on the island will be iguana related.

Lowandslow said...

I'm with you on the cottonmouth's. They are mean and nasty creatures. Bird poop on the head doesn't sound like anything I would enjoy, but for a parrothead like yourself, I guess there are worse things. Thanks for the tour of your zoo. :)


Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Akelamalu: It was really nice, if we are lucky enough to have a snow day over a weekend she and I will be hitting that one as well.

Randal: Truthfully, the 'roos are already vastly more intelligent than most people in this state.

LOL!!! Dammit, what you said about the iguana makes a lot of sense. Got to love those capitalist pigs.

What I wrote hold true, I can seriously see myself hanging out with my iguana buddy, smoking good dope, and listening Marley.

Low and Slow: Welcome! For soem reason I think of several people everytime I see that damn snake. Usually its old girlfriends and my mom-in-law but I won't say anymore than that. Adding you to my blogroll.

Ranch Chimp said...

Good Afternoon Bum!

What an excellent set of photo's ... and of course ... I have alway's loved the Zoo. Impressive shot's I may add, both with you and your daughter endividually with the parrot's gathering with ya'll. I bet though that Columbia is really a beautiful town and area from what I have gathered.

Take Care Bud!

BTW ... when I seen your face close up ... I sware ... you have a twin here in Dallas .... his name is Brad ... and he is a friend of mine and also a business associate for at least 4 year's now.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Those are some awesome pictures, double b......Hey, I hear that those dang kangaroos are some pretty decent fighters. Maybe we could enlist a few of them to kick some of that reactionary butt down there; USC grads, especially......Go Clemson!!