Archive for the ‘fishing cats’ Category

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina   1 comment

Our path back to Cincinnati from Florida took us through South Carolina. We took a break at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, in Columbia. It was a smaller zoo, but had some wonderful exhibits. The first thing we saw was one of my wife’s long-standing favorites, koalas.
Sleepy Koala

We saw two, each in their own tree. We looks a bit closer, and realized our count was off.
Mom and Joey

One of the koalas had a joey, a little baby, sleeping snuggly with its mom.
Snug Little Baby

Neither did much other than doze. We talked to a keeper, who showed us a video on her phone of the joey riding around on its mother’s back. Cute!

The koalas weren’t the only antipodal animal.
Who's Looking at You, 'Roo?

Dragons were hanging out.
Dragon Pile

One thing I did not like, at least in th aquarium/reptile area, was the lack of signage. I’m not sure if this is an alligator or crocodile. He looked happy either way.
Croc Grin

Perhaps because they were playing “dogpile on the turtle.”
Crocpile on the Turtle

One of the many things I learned reading Bill Nye’s book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, is that a group of giraffes is called a “column.”
Column of Giraffes

They had a pretty good cat collection, divided between large and small cats. In fact, they had the largest cat, the Amur tiger.
Amur Tiger

They had two lions, this handsome male…
Perched Lion

…and this shy female (actually, she was just washing her face).
Embarrassed Lion

WINK!
Winking Lion

The website indicated they had black-footed cats. Other sources didn’t mention BFCs, but did allude to fishing cats. We weren’t sure what we’d get to see. We first came across a pair of fishing cats.
Fishing Cat Profile

They are among my favorite felids. We got to see a surprising number of different cats on this trip: snow leopards, jaguars, cougars, leopards, tigers, lions, servals, caracals, lynes, bobcats, fishing cats, sand cats, and black-footed cats. Fourteen in all (fifteen if you include a felis silvestris catus we saw at a bookstore).

Perched Fishing Cat

I like to take pictures of cats yawning.
Big Yawn!

As I mentioned, they had a representative of the largest of the cat family, the Amur tiger. The black-footed cat is the second smallest cat.
Black Footed Cat in Front

They are fierce predators–I wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark alley. These two, however, were having fun peeking around their log.
Peek-a-Boo!

BFC Stalks the Feather

It was a fun stop, and we enjoyed seeing some of our favorite animals.
He's Looking Right At Me

Lions, Tigers, Caracals, and Old Friends at the National Zoo   2 comments

Hanging with Dad
From Philadelphia, we went south to our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Our first stop there was the Smithsonian National Zoological Park, otherwise known as the National Zoo. There were several animals we wanted to see, and was an amazing campus.

On entry, a prairie dog peeked up to greet us.
Prarie Dog Peep

But, let’s face, it, I was there to see cats. The National Zoo did not disappoint. There were two sets of lion cubs, for a total of seven.
Cub on a Ledge!

They were getting into everything!
Tugging the Hose

Reach the Branch

Cub by the Branch

Two Cubs Walk Into a Bar...

…and on to everyone!
Attack Mom!

There dad is Luke, a very handsome dude.
Luke and His Kids

If I’m reading this right, he’s the father of John, the new African lion at the Cincinnati zoo. Good looks clearly run in the family. And he knows it.
Smell That Fresh Air!

But, seven cubs can be exhausting!
Snoozing Lion

There were also two tiger cubs and their mom. The cubs are right at a year old.
Tiger Secrets

They like to stalk…
Stalking Tiger

…have a drink…
Have a Drink

…and, of course, take a nap. They are cats, after all.
Don't Wake the Tiger

I was excited to see a caracal, a cat they don’t have at very many zoos.
Sitting Caracal

He was a bit shy.
Caracal in the Grass

The caracal decided to wander off. As a cat geek, I understood, even if I think I was one of the few who was most excited to see them.
Caracal Stroll

As is often the case, the caracal was positioned near a bobcat.
Bobcat

We got to see a snoozing sand cat.
Snoozing Sand Cat

And a snoozing clouded leopard. Like I said, they’re cats; they sleep.
Dream Cloudie

Another sleeping cat we saw was an old friend. Lek is a fishing cat, born in Cincinnati. I have pictures of him and his brothers as cubs.
Dozing Lek

This Queen City boy has fathered four cubs with Electra, a female.
Lek Watching Me

We like cheetahs.
Alert Cheetah

DC Cheetah

Lounging Cheetah

My daughter has also started taking photos at zoos, getting her own perspective on the animals.
Caitlin Taking Pictures

Caitlin Photographs a Meerkat

There were seven Asian small clawed otter pups.
Peeking Otter Pup

Some were busy constructing something.
OTTERS at WORK

Others…less so.
Otter Belly!

I’m always amused at zoos when there are animal “tourists.” Usually it’s a squirrel or some birds. The elephants appeared to have a pet deer.
Pet Deer
The keepers seemed to indicated this was an ongoing problem, but didn’t really pose a danger to either species.

Meet the Ruppell’s griffon vulture. While this one was hanging out on the ground, these are the highest-flying bird on the planet. They are typically cited as flying in the thin air at 20,000 feet, though there are records of them being as high as nearly 40,000 feet.
Ruppell's Griffon Vulture

Lots of turtles on a log.
Turtles on a Log 2

Turtles on a Log 1

Degu are small rodents native to South America.
Degu on a Branc

I’m becoming quite the fan of the burrowing owl.
DSC_7438

We had a great day at the National Zoo, and walked over its great expanses.

Catnaps at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

As I mentioned, until last week, I hadn’t been to a zoo since right around New Year’s Day. I had to look: it had been since late NovemberNOVEMBER–since I had been to my beloved Cincinnati Zoo.

The Polar Vortex really put a damper on our fun this year.

We made it out this weekend, to make sure we got to see Zoo Blooms. However, the blooms had come up yet.

The Polar Vortex really put a delay on our fun this year.

We did make a point of saying “hi” to the cats. Renji and Nubo were taking a nap, foreshadowing the day.
Snow Leopard Naps

Nubo did pick his head up to greet us. What a handsome boy!
DSC_5279

Naps were the theme inside, whether you were a fishing cat…
Dreams of Sushi

…sand cat…
Sand Cat Ball

…or ocelot.
Ocenap

The fennec fox was even catching a few Z’s.
All Ears

Even the animals that were awake were mellow. I’ve never seen a black footed cat on top of this log before this visit. It’s tinyness was obvious.
Cat on a Log

The caracal, another favorite of mine, was taking a bath. Her camouflage is…um…obvious.
Miss Lop-Ears Takes a Bath

Outside, cougar Tecumseh was also napping.
Snoozing Puma

His brother, Joseph, saw something and made ready.
Crouching Puma

He gave chase, only to have his prey, a squirrel, run outside the fence.
Stalking Puma

Better luck next time!

Cat Tour at the Birmingham Zoo   5 comments

Our journey south continued through Birmingham. When we woke up in Huntsville, I googled the Birmingham Zoo, mostly out of curiosity. It turns out they have perhaps the best small cat collection I’ve seen outside of Cincinnati. It was also close to a restaurant where we thought would make a good lunch stop. Cheap admission through a reciprocal arrangement with the Cincinnati Zoo sealed the deal.


When we arrived, it was a dreary day–cooler temperatures with a drizzle. Cold for Birmingham, but my family are zoo geeks, tough, and slightly crazy. We decided to check it out anyway.

We were the only guests at the zoo–the only other people we saw were staff. The bald eagles looked at us as if to say “primates be crazy.”
"Why are you here in this weather?"

We entered the predator house, and started a conversation with the staff, asking about the cats, their names, and where they came from. They seemed to dig that we knew so much, and, as it was near closing and there was no one else around, they walked us through and answered questions.

The first cat we saw was an ocelot named Toby.
Ocelot on the Ledge

Next was a pallas cat (I was told all the names, but for many, I can’t quite read what I wrote).
Fluffy Time

They had two fishing cat brothers.
Gone Fishing

I started fishing around to see if they were descendents of Cincinnati fishing cats. They weren’t, but they were Ohio fishing cats–they were born in the Columbus Zoo. They were the third, fourth and fifth cutest kittens in Ohio born in 2011.
Fishing Cat Crib

They’ve grown to be handsome cats.
Fishing Cat March

Katie is their African wildcat. Wildcats were neat to see for a couple reasons. The African wildcat (felis silvestris libyca) is a subspecies of wildcat (felis silvestris). Another subspecies is felis silvestris catus, better known to me as “Eddy, Luna, and Beso.” Like all members of her species, she viewed humans skeptically, especially ones out on a rainy, drerey day.
Stink Eye


What was cool about Katie in particular (aside from her wild good looks) was that she is a clone, produced at the Audobon zoo, to find ways to save endangered species. This is the first time I have (knowingly) seen a clone in person. Even though my morning was spent looking at rocket ships, it was the most SciFi thing I did that day. Katie mated with another clone, and produced a litter of wildcats, who I was told lived up to the wildcat name.
Hiding Wlidcat

There were two black-footed cats.
Black Footed Strut


Tut was the male.
Black Footed Profile

He watched Mica, the female, walking around.
Stalking Black-Footed Cat

He’s a handsome cat!
Black Footed Portrait

Sand cat Toby seemed eager to see us.
Bart the Sand Cat

The female, Angsa (but I may have that wrong), just wasn’t feeling sociable.
Won't Get Out of Bed

At 3:30, they do a demonstration of feeding the lions, and how they have been trained behaviors to help facilitate their care. The keepers who do that were walking through, “come on. Let’s go feed the lions.” Though it was rainy and we hadn’t intended to see the lion feeding, we followed our new friends–we were the only guests, and we couldn’t let Aquila and Kwanza down.
Aquila and Kwanza

Kwanza is a nine-year-old male lion, born on the first day of Kwanza that year.
Handsom Kwanza

Back inside, we saw the non-cats such as the mongooses (mongeese?).
Mongoose

We are big red panda fans. They had two adults and two cubs.
Nom!

Sniffin' Bamboo

We made one last stop, to see the giant otters.
Swimming Giant Otters


They were huge.
What's Up There?

We enjoyed our day at the Birmingham Zoo. In spite of the cold, rainy day, it was a great experience, and it was neat to have an unofficial private tour of their predators. Thank you so much!

World Rhino Day at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

Last Sunday (September 23) was World Rhino Day. Rhinoceroses are critical endangered, in no small part due to poaching.
World Rhino Day Banner
The Cincinnati Zoo was in the headlines recently, as they are attempting to breed the only two Sumatran rhinos in North America. So of course, on World Rhino Day, they were hanging out in one of areas in the back. In their defense, we were there rather late in the day.

The Indian rhinoceros, however was not only out, but playing with some bamboo. Rhinos are among my favorite zoo animals (outside of felids, of course).
Indian Rhino, Playing with Bamboo

Coincidentally, Saturday (the twenty-first) was International Red Panda Day, another favorite zoo animal (outside of felids, of course).
Dozing Red Panda

The Bactrian camel really doesn’t care what day it is.
Bactrian camel

A takin is goat-antelope, native to Himalayas. They are regarded as a vulnerable species.
Takin

We went to check out Woodstock, a manatee.
Woodstock

He did rolls near Betsy, another manatee.
Woodstock Rolls

Prom season is in the spring, isn’t it?
Mob of Penguins

We went to go say “hi” to Renji and Nubo. When we walked up, it almost seemed like there was only one snow leopard out.
One Snow Leopard or Two?

But, it became apparent that they were both in there (Nubo is on the right).
Nubo is Annoyed

Heart-shaped snow leopards!
Renji and Nubo Snuggle

The pallas kittens are still hanging around–one up on some rocks; another was down low. He wanted to go up to see his pal.
Pallas Kitten, Pondering a Jump

So he jumped!
He Made It!

It was quite impressive!
Pallas Kitten Siblings

It is sometimes hard to imagine these little pallas kittens are smaller than adult black-footed cats.
DSC_1977

The sand cat was dozing–love how his paws were arranged.
Sand Cat Toes

We haven’t seen the caracal all summer–I’ve been worried. She wasn’t there this visit, but we did see scat in her enclosure. This made me feel a little comforted.

Ever since they remodeled the Cat House into Night Hunters, it’s been very difficult to get a good picture of the fishing cat. Usually, it takes pulling every light-gathering tick I have, manual focussing, and anticipating where she’s walking. Today, she was still, and I pulled out my 50mm f/1.8 for the first time in a while. And, got a really good shot.
Mamma Fishing Cat!

It was a great afternoon to spend learning and supporting one of the great animal treasures of this world.
Lift!

Zoo Blooms at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

Colorful Field
We went to the zoo today, for the annual Zoo Blooms event. Where last year, where a mild winter left us without blooms, it was a colorful spectacle.
Purple, Pink, White

Peach and White Flowers

Tulip Field

Field of Red and Yellow

Of course, the main reason I go to the zoo is to see the animals. The first animal I took a picture of was a little wallaby.
Wittle Wallaby

The black bear was having a nap.
Dozing Bear

The Siberian lynx, however, was watching everyone.
Siberian Lynx

One of the clouded leopards was on a pedestal.
Resting Cloudy

She was bathing herself, in the “cello” pose.
Cloudie Cello

A black-footed cat was watching what we were doing. He seemed concerned about what was up.
Concerned BFC

Miss Lop-Ears the caracal napping on top of some rocks.
Caracal Dreams

Mama fishing cat was, too.
Dozing Fishing Cat

We went outside to see what was going on. I’ve been fascinated with tigers a lot lately.
Tiger Glare

Springtime is when snow leopards usually have cubs. I have no information, and snow leopard Renji has been dozing the last few times I’ve been to the zoo. Fortunately, Nubo makes a great pillow.
Nubo Makes a Great Pillow

Two reptile animal ambassadors were out today. Periwinkle was a blue tongue skink in the Night Hunters building.
Periwinkle the Skink

Tallahassee the alligator was hanging out in the gift shop. We’ve seen him before.
Tallahassee the Alligator

It was an absolutely gorgeous and colorful day at the Cincinnati Zoo!
Colorful Field 2

Nice Day at the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

Just when it looked like we’d go the whole month of March without getting out to the zoo, we had some of the best weather we’ve had in a while. The zoo also had some things going on for Easter. We caught the tail end of it, when cougars Joseph and Tecumseh were given melons to roll around.
Pounce on the Melon

They rolled them around like toys our coalition plays with.
Lounging with the Melon

Such handsome cats.
Climb the Trunk

We wanted to see if the ocelittle born New Year’s Eve was out. We couldn’t find her, but did see an ocelot.
Not an Ocelittle

I was playing with my camera, trying to use my manual focus in some of the darker enclosures, where it seems to struggle. One result was a decent shot of the fishing cat. They had put some fish in her enclosure to chase after.
Mama Fishing Cat Looks for Fish

I also got a picture of the black-footed cat at the far end of the enclosure.
BFC on the Ledge

The other one stood up top and judged me.
BFC on a Cliff
U haz no skillz.

Miss Caracal, on the other hand, was posing, and looking gorgeous.
Miss Lop-Ears Watches

The Snow Leopard Trust was pointing out that snow leopard mating season has been going on. I have no official word, though I did want to check on Renji. She and Nubo, however, were having a cat-nap.
Renji and Nubo's Naptime

I thought it was birds of a feather that flocked together.
Birds of a Feather

The February Trip to the Cincinnati Zoo   1 comment

I watched some snow leopard videos last week, that left me jonsing for a trip to the zoo. I made it out that this last weekend. On the way to the Night Hunters, I saw an Andean condor.
Andean Condor

Next door was a stellar sea eagle.
Stellar Sea Eagle

Once at night hunters, one of the Pallas cats was hanging out on a rock checking out everyone who came in. He seemed quite interested in me.
Manul on the Rocks
So fluffy!

The clouded leopard was having a bath.
Cleaning the Toes

How many cat owners know what I mean when I describe something as the “chello” pose?
Cloudie Chello

I got my best shot of the bobcat! Such a handsome cat.
Handsome Bobcat

The fishing cat is in the hardest spot to get a picture. There are computer screens immediately opposite her glass, giving everything a very blue light. Black and white, unfortunately, is the only way to go.
Lounging Fishing Cat

The sand cat, always a favorite, seemed quite pensive up against the glass.
Sand Cat Daydream

Outside, the Siberian lynx was out–it was a cold enough morning for it. I hadn’t seen her in a while.
Siberian Lynx

Tecumseh the cougar was sleeping in a ball.
10.8, in Sleep Mode

His brother, Joseph, had to photobomb him!
Joseph Photobombs His Brother
Phpppt!

The tiger area wasn’t too crowded, so I could spend some time looking at these amazing cats.
Tiger Face

The Cincinnati Zoo has Malayan tigers, the second smallest tiger subspecies. They weigh in at just under two hundred pounds. In contrast, the Amur tiger, the largest cat, weighs nearly twice that. I’ve been reading a book about Amur tigers, titled Tiger: A true Story of Vengeance and Survival. I’ll probably post more about the book once I finish it, but the author cites a description of tigers having a “heavy grace.” I think it is quite apt.
Tiger on the Ledge

Phppppt!
tiger Tongue

Snow leopards Renji and Nubo were having a quiet Sunday morning, relaxing in the sun.
Snow Leopard Sunday

I have no idea what Renji saw.
Renji Sees…Something

Nubo wasn’t that interested.
Nubo Yawns

It must have moved. She’s such a pretty cat!
Renji Looks Beyond the Fence

Yes, Nubo, you’re cute, too.
Relaxed Nubo

The arctic fox was in his vantage way up high.
Arctic Fox

I walked up to the otter enclosure. One walked right up to me.
Approaching Otter

Could someone please clean this window?
Will Someone Clean this Glass?

Finally, the Mexican wolves were enjoying their morning.
Sitting Wolf

Lazy Wolf

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.
Penguin

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

Yaaaaawn!
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

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