Just finished my second week of prac. It’s kinda sad to say goodbye to all the animals but so good to be home relaxing.
I came home today to find a beautiful bunch of flowers waiting for me, along with a card and a welcome home hug from my husband. I have no idea how I got such a wonderful man but hey, no complaints here!
This week I was working with the Asian Small-clawed Otters, the Greater One-horned Rhinos, and the Siamangs. All such different creatures with their own little personalities.
The otters, Harley and Emiko, were the funniest things. Feeding times were always hilarious, with Harley eating like otters are supposed to and Emiko having absolutely no idea what was going on. We gave them a yabby every day (which I had to catch – eeek!) – Harley bit off both claws before eating the rest of the yabby. Emiko would start at the tail end, squealing in pain every time the yabby bit her feet! She also doesn’t hold her food in her paws to eat or wash it before eating, both of which are common behaviours from ‘normal’ otters!
Since the siamangs are primates and dangerous, I wasn’t allowed to do much with them. But I got to sit and watch them for ages and practice my throwing skills with their food. I think Puteri (mama siamang) hates me now – I nearly hit her in the head with a banana! Baby Lima was so adorable – he is 10 months old and learning to climb and play and eat grownup food (when mum and dad don’t steal it off him!) and he is even adding his little squeaks to his parents’ territorial calls! I just wanted to cuddle him! (And perhaps put him in my pocket and take him home!)
The rhinos weren’t my favourite rhinos (black rhinos are definitely cooler!) but they were still awesome. (Until we had to watch them constantly for 3 days! But more on that in a minute.) Poor Dora is actually a male saddled with a girl’s name but it doesn’t seem to affect him. They are pretty similar to black rhinos but these guys graze more and enjoy soaking in mud baths rather than just rolling in mud. They also have to have soft ground for their feet otherwise they get problems. And on my second day there, Amala went into oestrus. Which meant we had to put her in with Dora. Which meant that we couldn’t leave them alone for 3 days. Which meant that someone had to be continually watching them. And because I am just a student I had to stay with keepers at all times. So I was stuck watching rhinos for the better part of 3 days! It was interesting occasionally – a chase here, a confrontation there – but mostly they were just eating or sleeping. And it sent my brain to sleep. (Nearly followed by the rest of me!)
Having breaks to feed or clean up after otters or siamangs was a welcome relief. And it was nice to have plenty of time to chat with keepers and ask questions. (And play I spy, watch youtube clips, and play quiz games!) And yesterday afternoon when we went to cut some browse for the rhinos (while some other lucky soul sat and watched them!), I got to see a cheetah up close! She was just on the other side of a fence, watching us. So beautiful.
And Mummy is coming to visit in 6 days!!!!! (Since the house currently looks like a bomb has hit it will be wonderful to have a mummy around to fix it!) I am soo excited! See you soon Mummy!