Archive for the ‘caracal’ Category

Caracals and Bobcats as Friends   2 comments

Miss Caracal’s enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo is at an angle to another wall.
Ms. Lop-Ears Watches.

She has a view across the way to another enclosure.
View from Ms. Caracal's

It’s the bobcat enclosure.
Bobcat Watches Ms. Lop-Ears

The bobcat also spends a fair amount of time looking at Ms. Caracal. I’m not sure if it is some unrequited or unrealized affection, aggression, or simple curiosity of what’s going on over there.

I thought of them when watching a video that ISEC put on their twitter feed, about a bobcat and a caracal who where friends. The bobcat was losing his site, and the caracal took care of him. It was a really sweet story, though unfortunately the bobcat recently passed away (due to old age from what I can tell).

Interspecies friendships are common–I live in a house that contains both homo sapien and felis silvestris catus members. However, when the friendship doesn’t include a human, it seems especially remarkable. Perhaps it is because these animals who’s instinct is to be solitary choose to go against it in the name of friendship. It makes me happy to think that friendship can overcome something so innate.

Sorry for the bad pictures. As noted, the light in the Night Hunter’s exhibit is not the best for photography. To get the shots I wanted, there was only so much that could be done.

Afternoon at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

I had an afternoon off, and went to the Cincinnati Zoo. I heard they had two arctic fox pups.
Fox on the Rocks

Cute little guys.
Fox Pup in the Sun

While not the Arctic, it was a chilly day.

Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a nice day. Renji walked with her tail high.
Renji, Tail High

Nubo just laid in the sun.
Nubo in the Sun

Nubo is Bored

Renji thought laying in the sun was a good idea.
Snow Leopard Tongue

Joseph the cougar surveyed his domain.
Joe's Lookout

Inside Night Hunters, the Pallas cat practically insisted I take his picture.
Take My Picture, Please

The black-footed cat was posing, too.
Staring BFC

So cute for a cat known as the ant-hill tiger.
Standing BFC - Version 3

I have no idea what he’s doing back there.
I Have No Idea What He's Doing.

For whatever reason, there were a lot of toys out. Sand cats aren’t that much bigger than house cats. It stands to reason, they might have the same taste in toys.
I Haz a Toy

Mama Fishing Cat was pondering deep thoughts.
Curious Fishing Cat

I also took a few pictures of Miss Caracal…but more on that later.
Stalking Caracal

Festival of Lights 2012   Leave a comment

It’s an annual tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo: the Festival of Lights. The zoo stays open late, with hundreds of LEDs strung throughout the zoo.
Tree on the Lake (Red)

Obviously, a yuletide theme was used on many of the lights.
Santa Lights

Of course, some were suggesting warmer climates.
Flamingo Lights

Being dark and after their typical hours, many animals weren’t out. However, the polar bear seemed quite appropriate to say “hi” to.
Polar Bear

Apparently, the Cincinnati Zoo is one of the places a team of reindeer hang out. Will they be there tonight?
(Not So) Tiny Reindeer

Elephant House
The iconic Elephant House at night.

The turtles weren’t out, but they were represented in lights…
Turtle Lights

…and in bronze.
Caitlin on the Turtle

The cougar brothers were being quite active, and had quite the crowd. It was difficult to get a good photo of them. Still, it was neat to see them romp and tackle each other, much like Eddy and Beso.
Cougar in the Moonlight

Cat Canyon, where snow leopards Renji and Nubo are, was closed. Perhaps they were busy helping the Christmas Snow Leopard?
Snow Leopard Lights

Inside the Night Hunters building, however, the pallas cat kept watch. They look warm and fuzzy.
Fuzzy Cat

Most cats were asleep, including the clouded leopard…
Cloudie Dreams

…and the black footed cat.
Black-Footed Nap

Even Miss Lop-Ears the caracal was sleeping. Can you find her?
Where's the Caracal?

However, Mama Fishing cat was up and active.
(Grand)Mother Fishing Cat

Good to see her up and about.
Stalking Fishing Cat

The fennec foxes kept watch as well.
Watching Fennec Fox

It was a great night to go to the zoo.
Nutcracker Rhino

Rhinopoluza and a Snow Leopard   1 comment

I went to the Cincinnati Zoo this afternoon to see Renji and Nubo. There was only one snow leopard in the enclosure. At first, I thought it was Nubo, but later learned it was Olga, the snow leopard who’s been at the Cincinnati Zoo for a while. She was taking a nap.
Sleepy Snow Leopard

I decided to walk around a bit, and come back to see if she would be awake later.. The Cincinnati Zoo has three of the five species of rhinoceros. They were all beating the heat in a different way. The Sumatran rhino was having a mud bath.
Sumantran Rhino

Meanwhile, the Indian rhino was having a dip in the pool.
Indian Rhino

Finally, the black rhino was in some half-shaded area…I’m not quite sure what he was doing (there were shadier spots in his enclosure).
Black Rhino

Back at Cat Canyon, Olga was up.

She seems happier in the new space, strutting around.
Strutting in the Gras

Snow leopards have large paws, in order to help them move on the snowy, rocky terrain that comprises their native range.
Big Paw!

She was quite interested in her fans.
Pretty Olga

I really think the new enclosure is a great place for both all three of our snow leopards.
Relaxing Olga

I popped into Night Hunters, if only to enjoy the air conditioning for a moment. The aardwolves where hiding.
Cuddling Aardwolves

Otherwise, it was business as usual, with the clouded leopard napping…

…the black-footed cap ignoring…
Back of a Black Footed Cat

And “Miss Lop-Ears” the caracal looking gorgeous!
Miss Lop Ears

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.

Monday at the Zoo   1 comment

The Marvin Lewis Community Fund sponsored Learning is Cool. Cincinnati Public School students who were on the “A” honor role twice were invited to an evening at the zoo, and receive a medal, given by members of a local sports team. My daughter met the criterial–great kid!

The Galápagos tortoises were starting to doze off.
Galápagos tortoise Naptime

A keeper had a white throated monitor named Ollie out meeting the kids. He was pretty cool. It’s not every day you see a three foot reptile on a leash.
Ollie the White Throated Monitor

The lorikeets were very colorful…
Colorful Lorikeets
…though one of them must have been spending too much time with the bats.
Been Hanging Out with the Bats...

I got to see some of the zoo babies. A couple of wallaby joeys were napping in a pouch.
Wallaby Joeys

Bat-eared foxes don’t need a pouch.
Baby Bat-Eared Fox

Watching the clouded leopard made me start to mentally plot a run to Nashville for the weekend.
Lickin' Leopard

The black-footed cats were wrestling. Perhaps it was because they were taunting each other.
Taunting BFCs

Amusing to watch them.

Miss Fishing Cat stayed up high, napping, occasionally staring at us.
Fishing Cat Stare

While the caracal posed proudly.
Proud Caracal

I got a good profile of her. You can see the muscular frame but short tail of this cat.
Caracal Profile

Miss Caracal and Galápagos Tortoises   2 comments

Last week, we made a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo, to see the tail end of Zoo Babies. We also wanted to check out their new Galápagos Tortoise exhibit.
Galápagos Tortoise 1
Their life span is in excess of a hundred years, with one individual reaching 170. These tortoises were only four years old, so they were actually relatively small.
Galápagos tortoise (In the Water)
They have a statue to demonstrate just how big they will get.
Tortise Statue

Another relative youngster was Tallahassee, a two-year-old alligator. When we left, we said “see you later, alligator.” Tallahassee’s keeper laughed politely.
Tallahassee the Alligator

Flamingos were out in force.
Reflecting Flamingos

Kimba the giraffe looks, well, bored.
Bored Kimba

While Tessa tries to get a cracker.
Tessa's Tongue

The otters were playful.
Otter 1
Though neither really looked like Benedict Cumberbatch.
Otter 2

Many animals, such as this black rhino, dozed.
Black Rhino

As did the clouded leopard (taken just for @ColeImperi):
Dozing Clouded Leopard

The lions were more lounging.
Bored Lion

Which the ocelot thought was a good idea.
Sleepy Ocelot

Whenever I get a chance, I like to take a picture of the bottom of the sand cat’s foot, to see the fur on the bottom. This helps them walk across the hot desert.
Sand Cat Toes
Pretty cat!
Standing Sand Cat

The pallas cat was as camouflaged as ever.
Pallas Cat on the Rocks

Joseph and Tecumseh were keeping an eye on the yard.
Glaring Cougar
Such big paws!
Curious Cougar

Every trip, one cat seems to capture my attention in particular. Miss Caracal was the cat of the day. And, for good reason. Like servals, they are able to jump up and catch birds out of the air. However, they have a more muscular build and shorter tail. We think she was looking at a bobcat across the hall.
Sitting Caracal
The tufts on the tips of their ears are long, and usually stand straight up. Via ISEC, I heard from a former keeper of this animal. Apparently hers have dropped since she was a kitten. Just a fashion statement, I suppose.

We always like catching cat tongues.
Caracal Slurp

Miss Caracal was very active that day, bouncing all over her enclosure. I really enjoyed watching her.
Caracal Jump!

Zoo Bloom(less)   1 comment

We went to the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend, to see their annual Zoo Blooms. Thousands of bulbs are planted in the fall. Unfortunately, given the mild winter we had, the blooms had mostly come and gone by the time we got to the zoo.
Purple Flowers
There were a few.
Red Flowers
The reptile house is the oldest zoo building still in use in the United States. They are in the processof giving it a new roof, restoring it to its original color.
New Old Roof
We went to Night Hunters, where the pallas cat just glared at me.
Grumpy Pallas Cat
The fossas just lounged.
Loungin' Fossa
Got a decent shot of a clouded leopard from the side.
Clouded Leopard
The black footed cat was lounging, too.
Black Footed Cat Lounging
The fishing cat was having a snack. Not sure why his side was shaved–it was like that the last time I was there.
Fishing Cat Snack
I’m playing with my lens a bit. For the full on nocturnal houses, I use a 50mm lens, opened up to f/1.8. I stopped it down to f/2.8, to see the results. I think it may work, though I’ll need to practice a bit more. This would allow a broader depth of field. There are many lenses that can do f/2.8, which was another reason for trying it. More experimentation required.
f/2.8 Fishing Cat
The caracal is so pretty!
Pretty Caracal
I think we were boring Tecumseh.
We're Boring Techumseh
The lion was already asleep…
Lazy Lion
…as was the bear with his blankie.
Bear & His Blankie
The giraffe, meanwhile, had a snack.
Giraffe Snack
One thing we saw: they’ve named the cheetah run after Cathryn Hilker, its founder. I think that’s awesome–she is one of the reasons we (as a planet) have cheetahs today!
Cathryn Hilker Running Yard Sign

Ocelots and Clouded Leopards at the Cincinnati Zoo   6 comments

I went to the Cincinnati Zoo over the weekend. I’m becoming quite the regular. As I got hung up waiting for Mitt Romney’s motorcade, I missed the day phase. I was actually OK with that, as it gave me ample opportunity to test out my Night Hunter camera settings and processing. The fishing cats do come out a touch blue sometimes.
Fishing Cat Breakfast
But there are spots where the difference is practically the same as with light.
Bathtime for Fishing Cats
I am going to make more of a conscious effort to post (if not take) only pictures which are somewhat special. I still want to go there and practice, as I want to develop techniques for when the zoo is not a few miles away. Plus, sometimes I do get an different view. Case in point: the caracal’s ear tuffs seem to have a bit of a following. This shot looked a little better than my last one, though similar.
Caracal Tufts
Also, there seems to be one animal that chooses to do something different each visit. Today, it was the ocelot.
Ocelot Walk
Ocelots are among the best tree climbers, able to so straight down head first. This branch wasn’t even close to a challenge.
Descending Ocelot
I was actually able to get some neat shots of neofelis nebulosa, the clouded leopard.
Drinking Clouded Leopard
I was particularly proud of how this shot came out–it was the combination of a good pose by my subject, and the techniques I mentioned earlier.
Looking at His Next Leap
Cats have a knack for finding a perfect, just-their size spot to take a nap. The clouded leopard is no exception.
Clouded Leopard Nest
The pallas cat camouflage seemed quite effective today.
Pallas Cat Blending In
In other pallas cat news, I think I figured out that the two pallas cats in the CREW area I mentioned last time were actually pallas kittens, only a couple months younger than Beso and Luna. They are the first ones born as the result of artificial insemination.
Pallas Kittens
Based on the litter boxes in their enclosure, I’m pretty sure they’ve moved from that spot.
Pallas Kitten
The cougar was having a relaxing Sunday.
Relaxing Cougar
I went to see the giraffes, who were inside, making them smarter than me for a thirty-degree-day. I’ve never seen a giraffe laying down before.
Giraffe Laying Down
While looking at the giraffe, I heard a dog bark from the Cat Ambassador area. I walked over a bit, and am pretty sure it is Pow Wow, one of their Anatolian shepherds. I waited a few minutes, and was rewarded with a cheetah siting and watching! The statues of Angel, their first cheetah ambassador, and Carrie, her cougar friend, were near the cheetah.
Cheetah Looks at Angel's Statue

Pallas Cats and Roaring Lions   7 comments

It’s been a mild winter in Cincinnati, and yesterday was a particularly lovely day. My wife and daughter had a four-day weekend that I didn’t so they were out of town. I decided to visit the zoo right at opening, to catch the Night Hunters in day phase.

I did get some good pictures of fishing cats.

Do you think my mentioning sushi to them caught their attention?
Does the Fishing Cat See Sushi?

I’m always amazed with their eyes.

I’m not the least bit surprised they like to play in water.
Playing with Water

I wanted to try different settings on the camera, and some new software to process it, to see if I can get better pictures during night phase. While not as good as full light, I think the outcome is not bad.

The bobcat was very interested in what I was doing, standing right at the front of his enclosure.

Another handsome cat!
Bobcat Profile

There are fennec foxes next door to the fishing cats. I’m not sure what they were looking at.
Fennec Foxes Watch!

The caracal was just relaxing.
Chillin' Caracal

The one of the reasons the lights are still on is that the keepers are puttering around–a few enclosures are being cleaned. The sand cat was up and close to the glass.
Alert Sand Cat

Why? There is a door right across from their enclosure the keepers went in and out of. Presumably with their breakfast!
Shy Sand Cath

The black-footed cat just glared at me…
Black Footed Mugshot
I swear I didn’t do anything to upset him!

The clouded leopard was up, saying, “OH HAI!” Clouded leopards are moving up my list of favorite cats.
"Oh Hai!" Says the Clouded Leopard

Clouded Leopard Stretch

The pallas cat is native to central Asia. I know many who follow this blog are fans.
Pallas Cat Gazes Into the Distance

They are roughly the same size as a house cat, though a lot…fuzzier. They also have longer tails to help provide balance as they climb over the mountainous terrain.
Climbing Pallas Cat

The Cincinnati Zoo is known for its conservation efforts, particularly for small wild cats. Their Center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Wildlife performs research into efforts to protect species. Last summer, they were able to have the first Pallas cat kittens born though artificial insemination. I walked back to their area for the first time yesterday. I didn’t see the kittens (their enclosure was marked–they might have been in some of the places set up for them to hide). Their parents, however, were quite visible.
Pallas Parents 1

So very fuzzy!
Pallas Parents 2

As I walked away from CREW, I heard the lion!


Humans sleep with teddy bears. A polar bear demonstrates what bears sleep with.
I Love My Crate

The wolves certainly enjoyed the sunny day.
Mexican Wolves

I also spent a good chuck of time watching the cougars.

They are also known as pumas, mountain lions, Florida panther, catamount, shadow cat, 10.1, red tiger, deercat, mountain devil, king cat, Mexican lion, mountain screamer, silver lion, sneak cat, and, most recently, 10.8.
Stalking Cougar

Stretching Cougar!

Watchful Tecumseh

When I looked through my photos, I was amazed not at how many I took (I often take hundreds), but how many different animals I got good pictures of. In particular, I took a lot of pictures I normally don’t take pictures of. I developed a new appreciation for Pallas cats, and enjoyed a great day.

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