Friday, March 16, 2007

The Backpack

As the seven hours of war protest activities scheduled for tomorrow have rendered my Saturday into a work day, I took today off and went to the zoo. It's my third trip. The zoo has animals. See?

flamingo 2



some simian

gibbon 6

gibbon 5

gibbon 4

giraffe 2

I'm happy to report that this zoo trip afforded me my first-ever opportunity to photograph the Santa Barbara's famed crooked neck giraffe, who, as its description implies, has a crooked neck. See?

giraffe 3

As anybody who's read this blog beyond this past year knows, I was, for a brief period, obsessed with anteaters. The psychosis has subsided, for the most part. But that hasn't stopped me from spending a good half-hour at the anteater pen, waiting and anticipating the moment Momma and Baby Wobbly Nose would wake up and entertain me. You see, I've been aware of the anteater born at Santa Barbara Zoo since October of 2004, when I found that my friend Val worked there and had ready access to the pair. The zoo staff was in the process of selecting a name for Baby Anteater. (Val suggested "Little Lafawnduh.") Eventually, someone came up with "Mochila" — Spanish for "backpack," as the newborn little freak had a habit of riding on his mother's back. Cute, huh?

Like I said, that first awareness of the anteater happened more than two years ago. You'd think that Mochila would have outgrown the need — or at least the habit — of riding everywhere piggyback.

Not so.

It turns out that anteaters don't stop doing that, as I learned today. What initially looked like horrendous mother-son humping soon revealed itself to be mere affectionate piggybacking in spite of Momma's nearly buckling legs. Mochila, after all, looks to be close to full-grown. My take: Momma needs to say "no."

See Mochila's arrested development in action.

zoo 17

zoo 16

zoo 14

zoo 4

zoo 3

Tongue and all. I'm seriously so impressed with myself.

zoo 13

Momma and Baby in action, courtesy of YouTube:



    how's my look-alike monkey?

  2. Speaking of anteaters, I was at UC Irvine today and they're doing some building project with a big ol' fence around it that's decorated with anteaters decked out in Wizard of Oz regalia.
    It was pretty sweet.

  3. Anteater-lovin' Drew:

    Great photos!

    A bit of clarity for you and other fans of the SB Zoo's giant anteaters.

    Last year, Mochila moved to the Great Plains Zoo/Delbridge Museum of Natural History in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one of our fellow AZA accredited zoos.

    Your photos are of Nozzie, who was born Saturday morning, May 6, 2006.

    She is the second offspring for the Zoo's seven-year-old female anteater, Madeline, who came to Santa Barbara from the San Francisco Zoo in December 2003.

    Her mate, a male named Sophie, is 19 years old and was born at the Santa Barbara Zoo. It used to be hard to determine the sex of giant anteaters, thus his name... It could make for a good country-western song: "An Anteater Named Sophie."

    Gemina, our crooked neck giraffe, lives a normal giraffe life, as far as we can tell. She has given birth and is an accepted member of the herd. We think her neck condition is congenital.

    Thanks for visiting and blogging about the SB Zoo.