September 28, 2014

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

These are the animals you would expect to see when visiting the zoo.  On our trip to The Sacramento Zoo last week, the temperature was quite warm at 95 degrees and a lot of the animals decided to stay in the air conditioned areas of their habitats.  Who can blame them?

Schneider's Smooth-Fronted Caiman
Our first stop was the Reptile House.  The reptile house was built in the shape of a snake and opened in 1970.  Inside you'll find an assortment of spiders, newts and even this creature from the northern region of South America.  The Schneider's Smooth-Fronted Caiman is the 2nd smallest species of crocodylian, reaching a maximum length of about 5 feet. 

The tortoise was right at home in the heat of the day.  He was munching on some alfalfa and wasn't bothered at all by the people taking photos of him.  The tortoise enclosure was at ground level.  We were on a walkway looking down into the enclosure.  He actually has a nice area to sun bathe and even a water feature to cool off in.  I guess the fresh food was too tempting to ignore.  Herkimer, the desert tortoise, is the oldest resident at the Sacramento Zoo. He turned 85 this year. 

Next stop was some animals native to the savannahs of Africa.  The zoo has several giraffes.  We saw a few of them heading inside to cool off.  This one, however, was more interested in munching on some leaves.  A full grown giraffe can eat 35 pounds of leaves each day and drink 10 gallons of water at a time.  The giraffe has the same number of vertebrae in their neck as a human--seven!

The zebras, although used to the warmth of the afternoon, wanted to hang out in the shade of the trees.  No two zebras look alike. Each has a different stripe pattern.  I suppose if I was a zebra caretaker, I could tell the difference between the three that reside here.

The White-Handed Gibbon pair were quite vocal this afternoon.  The male was also putting on quite the show swinging throughout his enclosure to the amusement and cheers of his audience.  He was heard from a ways away and drew us to see what the commotion was about.  I think he just liked the attention because his mate was not impressed.  She was sitting and watching from her cozy spot nearby.

The Orangutan wasn't interested in being photographed this afternoon.  It seems he would rather look away from the cameras.  Maybe he's just shy.   I'm sure that the other orangutans were inside enjoying the coolness of the air conditioning.

The Snow Leopard is such a beautiful creature!  Their natural habitat is the Himalayas of Asia.  This endangered species is being threatened due to the high demand for their fur and bones on the black market.  It was such a treat to see her this afternoon.

Flamingos get their pink color from the food they eat.  We happened to come across this flock at lunch time.  If you look closely you can see two care takers putting food into the pond.  When the flamingo opened it's wings the underside was a beautiful black sheen.  I tried many times to get a photo but without success.

 Artistic sculpture made entirely of horse shoes

Just outside the zoo's entrance is a unique trio of sculptures.  There is a baboon, a leopard and a giraffe made entirely out of horseshoes.  We had a fantastic afternoon at the zoo!

Here are some fun facts about our local zoo:
  • The Sacramento Zoo began as the William Land Park Zoo in March 1927. It consisted of approximately 40 animals housed on four acres of land.  The Sacramento Zoo covered 11 acres in 1975 and covers 14.4 acres today.  
  • The total yearly animal food budget is $130,000--$30,000 is spent on fruits and vegetables which are delivered twice a week.
  • Giant Anteaters do not have teeth; instead, they have tongues that can reach as much as 2 ft. in length! 

Note:  The Sacramento Zoo is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The admission cost is
General Admission $11.25
Senior Admission $10.50
Children Ages 2-11 $7.25
Children Ages 0-1 Free

There is plenty of free street parking throughout the William Land Park area.
Click on any of the photos in the post to see a larger image and a series of thumbnails at the bottom.

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