Zoo To You was ready for everyone when the library opened the doors this morning. As usual, it was set up in the children's section of the library and it was three steps from the vestibule to the animals, artifacts and poster displays. This year Zoo To You brought a three banded armadillo from Brazil; a galah, or rose breasted cockatoo in Australia; a tiger salamander; a western box turtle; a corn snake; and an alligator. The artifacts, which are often confiscated items, included pelts, skins, a mounted skeleton of a viper, a stuffed sea turtle, feathers, eggs affected by environmental poisons and other items.
It's safe to say that the armadillo was the star of the show. Much smaller than the armadillos found in Texas, this little fellow zipped around his large cage, going in and out of his house, exiting by pushing it up from the inside and crawling out, attempting an unsuccessful jail break or two, eating with his specialized tongue and entertaining all the adults and children. An armadillo's shell is formed from keratin, which is what human fingernails and mammalian hooves are made of. This particular species of armadillo is the only one that can roll itself entirely into a ball.
The rose breasted cockatoo was a beautifully plumaged bird. Shades of pink on the head and breast contrasted with shades of gray elsewhere. In Australia these birds are common and can be found on lawns just like sparrows are found here. In fact, large flocks are nuisances to farmers, as they will descend on young wheat fields and decimate them. Still, this bird was like nothing I've ever seen and he seemed to know it, preening for everyone.
Corn snakes are found in New Mexico and are usually referred to as gray rat snakes. They subdue their prey by constriction, just like a boa constrictor (although not that large), and are not poisonous. The western box turtle and tiger salamander are also native to our country.
The alligator was about 18 inches long. Every now and then he made little "Ar! Ar!" noises, which the docents say alligators make as both territorial and danger signals in the wild. The Albuquerque Biological Park has three alligators now, all released illegally into the community in Albuquerque by former owners who no longer wanted them. Alligators grow about a foot a year and can reach 300 pounds in ten years. This small alligator is fed once a week. In their natural habitat, alligators can go as long as two months without feeding, provided their last meal was a hearty one.
Well over 100 people attended this program and filed through, listening to docents Mary Ramsey and Sandy Ligon, who handled the animals to show off their various points and were a fund of information and encouragement when it came to examining all the creatures. All the docents who travel with the Albuquerque Biological Park Zoo To You exhibits are volunteers. Sponsors provide the funding for the program, which makes this one of the few traveling zoo exhibits that visits the public for free.
Everyone who came seemed to find something of interest - but even if that had not been the case, the program would still have been a success simply because one little girl took her mother back home to bring library books to return so she could check out two books on display on armadillos and alligators. She came back with a camera and took so many pictures of both of those animals, as well asthe salamander. . .and the cockatoo. . .and the empty armadillo shell. . .and the docents, that her mother said they were going to be redecorating the walls of her room.
Someone is going to be dreaming about Zoo To You.
- The library has a new AWE Literacy Station geared for children aged 2 to 8 years old. (See post.)
- Book signing for author of "The Adventures of Stinkerpup" Isis Grayling on Saturday, June 3, from 2 - 4 p.m.
- Summer Story Hour "Make A Better World" is coming! Beginning Wednesday, June 14th, this seven week program will continue every Wednesday from 10 - 11 a.m. through July 26th. (See post.)
- The Arthur Johnson Memorial Library Board will hold their next meeting on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the meeting room at the library.
- Are you interested in joining a new Writer's Group? Meetings held on Fridays, at 10:00 a.m. This is for any writer who wishes to meet with other writers. Beginners, experienced, published, unpublished, writers of fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, bloggers - all are welcome.
- Preschool Story Hour is conducted every Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. We read books to the children and there is a project every week. It's never too soon to introduce your children to the library!
- Schedule a meeting at the library. Call 445-9711 to get on the calendar in advance. The library stays open until 6:00 P.M., Monday - Saturday, except for Thursday, when it stays open until 9:00 P.M.