Let’s start with today’s Burrito update. Things continue to look good – he is eating, taking his meds, and playing with his caregivers constantly. As far as he’s concerned, he’s ready to go back with the group. Unfortunately for him, he needs to remain on restricted activity for another week or so. Our main concern at this point is excessive bleeding, a potential complication of envenomation that can persist for up to two weeks after the bite. While in isolation, the staff are keeping Burrito’s toes thoroughly tickled and tomorrow we hope to provide him with a low-key visitor like Jody. Though I’m sure he is starting to feel frustrated at being cooped up, he doesn’t need to be in the middle of any family squabbles right now.
As you may have seen, the rest of his family has returned to Young’s Hill. Last Sunday we did a thorough sweep of the enclosure to ensure that there weren’t any more snakes out there. Both the main building and Young’s Hill are surrounded by about a 1/4 mile of rattlesnake exclusion fencing. The fence is composed of 36″-tall galvanized hardware cloth that is partially buried in the ground, and it’s based on a fairly well-tested design. We knew that it wasn’t foolproof, however, as it is particularly difficult to execute around entrance gates and there were a couple of small sections next to the building that had to be temporarily taken down to allow for the new construction. We don’t know where the snake got through, but we have already begun implementing alternative ways to reinforce those areas.
While we’d be happy if the chimps gained a healthier fear of snakes, we’re relieved that they weren’t too scared by the incident to continue enjoying the outdoors. Even Annie is back out there, though she is justifiably more cautious around bushes and logs. Here are a few photos of Annie’s birthday party that didn’t make it into yesterday’s post.
Before I end I should tell you about a bit if thievery I witnessed this morning. As I was shifting the chimps to the greenhouse for breakfast, I noticed Jody walking in the opposite direction from the rest of her family with her head held low. While Missy and Jamie lined up for smoothie and Annie and Foxie blew raspberries at the staff to demand their share of fruit, Jody quietly but swiftly skulked back inside from the greenhouse. And soon I could see why. In her mouth was a huge stalk of Brussels sprouts that she must have found on the hill, an unnoticed leftover from yesterday’s birthday bash. It was the perfect plan: While the others were distracted with breakfast, she would savor her sprouts in the privacy of the playroom and no one would be the wiser. And she nearly pulled it off. But as she rounded the final corner from the front rooms to the playroom, she ran straight into the last person you want to see when you are guarding a precious treat: The Melon Mugger. The Romaine Robber. The Potato Pilferer. The Strawberry Swindler.
THE BRUSSELS BURGLAR.
Each let out a silent scream, their teeth bared in fear grimaces. But there would be no conflict. Negra pulled rank and Jody had no choice but to relinquish her prize. At least there was still breakfast to look forward to.
See you tomorrow at Hoot!