All of the second week at CMZ has been a continuation of the tasks I was introduced to, as well as preparation for my written test I took at the end. Throughout the week I had been reading information to prepare a “daily,” which, as it sounds, is a daily report of all the happenings that occur in our assigned area. This includes changes in census, such as births, deaths, and hatchings; veterinary and medical information, both new and ongoing; areas that were cleaned and how we cleaned them; the names of all the people who helped out that day and what times they were there; and any other additional information. I learned that each individual animal has its own unique ISIS number, which is made up of its order, the year it came into the CMZ collection, and which number it is.
This week I have been growing a little more independently and can set up most of the barn area in Big Backyard without having to ask what to do. I know how to clean the aviary for budgie buddies, though it takes me a lot longer than it should, and I don’t always have to look at the recipe sheet when I prepare their diets. Some new things I was asked to do this week were cleaning gecko cages and cleaning snake tanks. Since the snakes rest upon colorful gems and marbles, there is a special way to clean them. First, obviously, the snake is removed, then the gems (they are actually just hard marbles), then the inside of the cage is cleaned, then the gems are cleansed and rinsed with the HDQ chemical and left out to dry. Meanwhile, a clean, dry set of new gems is placed back into the snake, and then the snake is returned with its substrate as well. I’ve been observing gecko and anole feedings up close, and I’ve made the description that anoles have velociraptor faces, which the keepers were amused to hear about. I am slowly learning how to prepare the reptile diets for each different day, since it always varies. Sometimes some species get crickets or roaches, but other days they get a helping of “reptile greens,” so I will have to distinguish and memorize these.
I am getting better with identifying the four Bennett’s wallabies, the two Parmas, and the two Bennett’s joeys since they are more active and growing every day. Outside the door of the room where they sleep, there is a sign that reads:
They aren’t kidding.
Pictured below is Kiah at seven months.
Kiah and Bindi are slowly being weaned off their formula, but that didn’t stop me from learning how to make it from scratch. Sometimes in the morning I will help out the docents set up the station where they hold one of the joeys and sit there with the joey and encourage children to greet them. I can’t believe how much they have grown already. In the next couple weeks they will probably be off the formula for good, which is good for them, but I will miss bottle-feeding them. I shouldn’t get too emotional, though, since I’ve still got a long way to go…