Archive for the ‘silly little wall lizards’ Category

Sleeping Snow Leopards and Running Cheetahs   3 comments

After the problems of the previous day, we decided to get an early start, and go to the zoo. I was in full cat-geek mode, complete with a t-shirt from the Snow Leopard Trust.

We’ve been enjoying the Galápagos tortoises. One was eating leaves and walking among the visitors with on the path. I asked the keeper–her belief was the tortoises get in moods when they want the attention.

There was also a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo nearby. He was enjoying the mist.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

I was very excited to see Renji, the female snow leopard we saw as a cub in Chatanooga, and her new pal, Nubo. They reminded me that cats spend about two-thirds of their lives sleeping.
Cozy Renji and Nobu

And, you really don’t want to disturb a kitty.
Disturbed Snow Leopard

The enclosure is fairly large–much larger than where they kept the snow leopards before. Lots of room to run around, and mountain like rocks to blend in with. Perfect place to raise a family–Just sayin’
On a Bed of Rocks

I wasn’t able to get many really good pictures of the Malayan tigers. They also have an upgraded enclosure, and glass the can walk right up to.
Malayan Tiger

We also got to got to the Cheetah Encounter. This year, Sihil, an ocelot, got to demonstrate her climbing skills. Sihil is noteworthy not just because she is an absolutely stunning cat, but because she was the first ocelot born from a frozen embryo. This was done at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW).
Sihil the Ocelot
Truth be told, ocelots always look a little to me like they are wearing pajamas. Of course, if you sleep two-thirds of your life, it would make sense.

Ocelots are one of three cat species that can descend a tree head-first–a fairly useful adaptation.
Going Down

They discussed how house cats can be trained. Perhaps Luna has career options other than hacker ninja princess.
Jumping Through Hoops

Cleo the serval demonstrates their amazing leaping ability.
On the Ball

Minnow the fishing cat came out, and shows that some cats like water.
Splish Splash

I caught a video of her high dive.

Which required a quick spin dry.
Spin Cycle

…and a snack.
Fishing Cat Treat
Fishing cats are so cool!

This was my first Cheetah Encounter with my new camera. It can shoot at six frames per second, twice what its predecessor could achieve. So, when Bravo made his run, I was able to get some great shots.
Flying After the Lure

They said Bravo was their slowest cheetah. My wife wondered how he felt about being called that. I figure his attitude is, “I’m still faster than you, primate.”
Closing In

Sarah, the world’s fastest cheetah, also ran. Overall, I got great shots of the floating phase of their stride.
Sarah in Flight

Cheetahs use their high-speed to hunt. Unfortunately, this precludes a pouncing attack, like with other cats such as a lion or a black-footed cat. Instead, they use a claw on their wrist to trip their prey, which they then suffocate. This means that in addition to their tremendous speed, they have to have excellent brakes. Their are pads up their forearms for this, allowing a skidding stop. Both cheetahs demonstrated this impressively, with dust flying everywhere. Sarah overshot her lure, but the brakes allowed her not to get too far from it.
Cheetah Brakes!
Probably my favorite picture of the set.

At first, she wouldn’t give back the lure.
Not Giving it Back

But, eventually, she settled in to the shade.
Cheetah in the Shade

My neighborhood, Columbia-Tusculum, was ground zero for the introduction of the European Wall Lizard, which is a cute but invasive species. They have been spreading throughout Cincinnati. This is the first one I’ve noticed at the zoo, about five miles away from my house.
Wall Lizard

It’s a horrible picture, but I had to share. This was the first time I’ve seen the pallas cat up close to the glass. He seemed less fluffy than normal.
Pallas Cat Up Close

The caracal, which my friends at ISEC have nicknamed Miss Lop Ears, was in a very relaxed position.
Miss Lop Ears Relaxes

She has amazing eyes.
Caracal Portrait

Her bobcat friend was actually up high. Still handsome.
Bobcat Face

At that point, we wanted lunch and to be out of the heat. Still, it was a great way to make up for the day before.

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