Guinea Pigs, Snakes, & Hissing Cockroaches?
Okay, today ranged anywhere from Guinea Pigs to Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. People might not call that normal, but as a VolunTeen you could say that’s the usual.
I started out with a big bin of Guinea Pigs for the first part of my shift. Guinea Pigs used to live in the wild in South America and were called “Cavies”. Then they were discovered by Spanish explorers and eventually domesticated. If you visit South America today you will actually find that Guinea Pigs are still raised there strictly for food, but in the US they can be found in local pet stores.
Across from me Sue had out Periwinkle, a Blue-tongued Skink. These skinks are found in Australia and are of course known for their bright blue tongues. Blue-tongued Skinks are actually born live and can live up to 20 years old. If needed the skinks can detach their tails for protection.
Next, I had the Common Boa named Balboa. He just used me as his own personal tree to wrap himself around.
After that, Grace & I were taught by Dave how to handle Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. He told us that they feel like a hardwood floor and they do! Grace got a male and I got a female, males are larger and have horns on their heads, the female are smaller and have no horns. When we got them out they did hiss, like a snake, and it was louder than I had expected. They hiss by exhaling air through breathing holes which is rather unusual in insects. The males will fight for females using their horns and the winner will hiss more than a loser will. They are very important to the environment because they decompose waste and other minerals. In the end even though I wasn’t thrilled about holding a large bug, it was a cool experience.
That was the end of my shift but before I left for the day I made a visit to Giraffe Ridge and made it in time for the feeding! It is awesome when these tall animals use their long blue tongues to take a cracker from your hand. I always like to recommend it to people in the Childrens Zoo!