Have You Cuddled Your Otter Today?

18 July 2009

roos 1

This is our new friend “Snork”.  He is an Asian Small-Clawed Otter, and he made my day.


roos 2

He’s horribly cuddly and makes funny “snork-y” sounds continuously while he snuggles.


roos 3

He  loves to snack on ice cubes, likes swimming in cool water and is a great kisser.  He’s looking for love in the Nevada desert.


roos 4

Snork has some very nice Kangaroo friends.  They all live to together, with about 150 other wild animals at Roos ‘n’ More, a zoo / animal rescue north of Las Vegas. 


roos 5

This coatimundi decided that just wasn’t enough friends and wanted Lillyan to join their group.


roos 6

The two-toed sloth gave Lilly the eye from upside down.  He was interested, just moving a little slowly. 


roos 7

And the Bactrian camel was much more interested in Lillyan than she was in him. 


roos 8

Daddy was all about this “Zee-donk”, but he apparently already had enough friends.


roos 9

A little girl who believes you can never have too many friends, though, is this little Capuchin monkey “Caico”.  Our friends invited us on this adventure — I think mostly to get to spend more time with this monkey.  Caico could not get enough of Mrs. D.  I’m sure Mrs. D would take Caico home, given the chance.


roos 10

I’ll tell you what WON’T be coming home with us, and that’s this African crested porcupine.  While they are friendly and curious, their cuddle factor doesn’t quite match the otter’s.  And I’m afraid that’s one family adventure that might have a bit of a sticky ending.


Painted Ladies

15 April 2009

butterflies-0Wanna know what Lillyan’s Aunt VeeVee gave her for her second birthday?  This Painted Lady butterfly.  Here’s her story …

butterflies-1Along with the Live Butterfly Pavillion that she unwrapped at her party, there was a voucher for Painted Lady caterpillars.  We sent the voucher in the mail, and two weeks later ten tiny caterpillars arrived.  They were about the size of a two-year-old’s fingernail.

butterflies-3The caterpillars grew VERY quickly, feeding off the special food that came supplied in their sealed little containers.

butterflies-4About ten days after arriving at our house, they all began to crawl to the top of the jars and attach themselves upside down from the lid.  (See a few chrysalides beginning to form.)

butterflies-5This is a butterfly chrysalis (not a cocoon – only moths make cocoons).  Learn all about it here.

butterflies-9Once all the caterpillars had formed into chrysalides (one didn’t ever quite finish), we moved them very carefully into this butterfly pavillion.  We pinned the disk at the top of the container to the side of the net.  Apparently, a couple of the trapped-inside caterpillars weren’t fond of this transport, as they started violently flinging themselves side to side.  One continued this “banging banging” (as Lillyan called it) for more than 15 minutes.

butterflies-6Another ten days later, the day before Easter, the butterflies started to emerge from their chrysalides.  It took them only a couple of minutes to get out, and then their wings slowly began to unfurl.

butterflies-8Within two days, all of the beautiful butterflies had emerged.  They spent the first few hours walking around only, then they started to flap their wings a bit, but it was quite a few hours before they could think about flying.

butterflies-7Here’s one of our pretty ladies showing off her colors.

butterflies-10Three days after they were all out and flapping around, we had a little “butterfly release party” with a bunch of Lillyan’s friends.  The idea was to let them go in our flower garden in hopes that they might stick around (their life span in only 2-4 weeks).  Wishful thinking …

butterflies-11The coolest part of the whole project is that I was able to take each butterfly out of the net one by one and let each child hold it on their finger before the butterfly got up the nerve to fly away.  Lillyan was fascinated, of course.

butterflies-12Here’s the butterfly that enjoyed her time on a friend’s hand (see his Momma’s blog about the experience).

butterflies-14M wasn’t quite as thrilled, but all five kids held the butterflies carefully and squealed with glee when they flew up into the sky.

butterflies-13One little lady just didn’t want to say goodbye, so we put her on a rose.  She eventually went off to “find her Mommy”, as Lillyan suggested.  Later that night, about 15 minutes after I said goodnight to Lillyan, she called me back into her room.  “I can please get some new butterflies?” she asked.  Sure.  That was cool.