Archive for the ‘ocelots’ Category

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!

Checking in on Santos the Ocelittle   1 comment

Santos, the ocelot cub (“ocelittle”) at the Cincinnati Zoo is about the size of Eddy when I first met him. I have to remind myself that he was only two weeks old, and will sleep a lot more than he plays. I decided to check on him today, at the three-week mark. He was still a sleepily little boy.
Sleepy Santos

Love the chin!
Ocelittle Chin

But he did start to wake up a bit. I got to see his eyes!
Santos the Ocelittle

Santos Profile

Clearly, he’s more capable. I got to see him walk around a bit…
Sittin' Santos

And even play with a keeper, and the plush animals in his enclosure.
Ocelittle vs. Clouded Leopard

That Tickles!
That tickles!

I was a bit crazy going out to the zoo–the temperature never saw above thirty. I stopped into Night Hunters, in part to warm up. A black footed cat was in plain sight.
BFC Meatloaf

And a sand cat fell asleep on top of his hill.
Sand Cat Nodding Off

The bobcat looked like he had some news for me…
Bobcat

Miss Caracal was back!
DSC_3118

I hadn’t seen her since at least the spring. I don’t know where she was, but I was getting a bit worried. It was really good to see her again!
Miss Caracal is Back!

While humans weren’t fond of the cold day, snow leopards live for it. Renji and Nubo were up front, and happy to have a chat.
Renji and Nubo Enjoy the Brisk Day

Nubo was a bit of a show-off.
DSC_3140

Renji maintained her mysterious composure.
Pensive Renji

While there are plenty of unusual animals in the official collection, there are “wild” animals that pass through. The problems squirrels were causing made news lately. Today, I saw a domesticated cat, probably a stray, on the grounds.
Stray at the Zoo

I had mentioned I didn’t get to see puffins too often. My wife pointed out the Cincinnati Zoo had them, we just don’t go in the exhibit that often. I was passing it, it looked warm, so I popped in.
Cincinnati Puffin

I also got a family picture of all three red pandas!
Red Panda Clan

While cold, it was a good day to see the zoo, and I am glad to see little Santos growing up.
Sweet Santos

Silly Snow Leopards and a Sleepy Ocelittle at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

I saw a video on Friday morning: there is a new ocelittle at the Cincinnati Zoo! I texted my wife, who replied that zoo just got added to our to-do list.

Santos come to the Queen city from the Arlington, Texas, zoo. He will be joining the cat ambassador program next summer. While we were there, he mostly just slept.
Ocelot Dreams

But, when you’re only two weeks old, and a cat, what more is required of you?
Sleeping on the Plush

Even big cougars are known to take cat naps.
Joe's Catnap

The snow leopards, on the other hand, had a serious game of chase-and-pounce going on.
Snow Leopard Stand-Off

Running all over their enclosure!

I was going to mute the sound, of only to not have to hear the kid call them “cheetahs,” but I liked hearing their footsteps.

They took turns. Here, Renji is preparing to pounce on Nubo.
Renji, Planning a Pounce

Nubo, sitting unaware she’s behind a rock. Look at the tail on this handsome cat!
Nubo, and his Tail

I fond one break in some trees along their enclosure, and Renji looked right at me. I talked to her a bit, and I’m afraid that, right after I took this picture, Nubo pounced. I guess I distracted her.
Happy Renji

Eventually, Nubo wound down and yawned. I suspect a nap was forthcoming.
Yawn!

The zoo also had a baby red panda. I think this his him.
L'il Red Panda

He was ups tree with his mom–the opposite reaction I have when I see my daughter up that high.
Mom and Baby Red Panda

I’m sure we’ll be back to see Santos, hopefully, when he’s awake.
Sleepy Santos

Meeting the Lion at the Cincinnati Zoo   3 comments

The Cincinnati Zoo opened up their new “Africa” section while we were on our trip. One of the older parking lots was converted to a large exhibit space, between the rest of the zoo and the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard. Some parts of Africa, such as the flamingos and giraffes, have been there for a while. Other parts, such as the hoofed animals, will be joining next year. This year, we got tawny lions. The first to come out was John.
John and the Donut

He was one of the “Magnificent Seven” born at the National Zoo in 2010. No word on if he knew Rusty.
John from the Front

He’s still exploring his enclosure, and making it his. Here is an example of some of the marking behavior he did to some trees.
Lion Scratches
Could someone get a kitty a scratching post?

This handsome young man will be joined with a female from another zoo, as part of a Species Survival Plan. As I keep telling Renji and Nubo, Cincinnati is a great place to raise kids.
Afternoon Snooze

Or just spend an afternoon dozing back-to-back.
Back to Back</a
The snow leopards are still in Cat Canyon…I just had a good segue.

While there have been cheetahs running continuously, since they closed the old cat canyon, none have been on exhibit until the new Africa section.
My Head!

Paws up, y’all!
Paws Up Y'all!

Speaking of kids, the nursery had a baby skunk!
L'il Skunk

Baby skunks are cute.
Baby Skunk Needs a Hand

Pygmy Falcon Babies are cute, hanging out next to the skunk. Are they plotting an escape?
Pygmy Falcon Babies

Are they consulting with the red panda? Probably not–looks like he’s getting his nap on.
Plotting Panda
…Or that’s what he wants us to think!

We stopped by Night Hunters to check on the little ones there. The pallas kittens were dozing in a “bowl,” showing how their coats camouflage them.
Pallas Kitten, Sleeping in the Rock

The ocelittle was being groomed by his mother.
My Ears are Clean Enough, Mom!

Mom! Not in front of the primates!
Perched Ocelittle

Sand cats aren’t worried about it.
Emergency Sand Cat Bath!

The black footed cat didn’t care, and was right up in front to let us know he didn’t care.
BFC Back

Another day with a bobcat but no caracal. I hope “Miss Lop-Ears” is OK.
Lazy Bobcat

We enjoyed checking out the Africa section, seeing old friends, and making new ones.
Lion Family and My Family

Birthday at the Zoo   5 comments

Yesterday (June 3) was my birthday. My mom had come up, and wanted to see the zoo. It’s such a hardship for me…

The key reason she wanted to go was to see Gladys, an infant gorilla.
Happy Surrogate

Her mother, a first-time mom, wasn’t taking good care of her, so the folks who run the gorilla Species Survival Plan (SSP) met. They determined that the Cincinnati Zoo, with a long track record of baby gorillas, would be a great place for her. Right now, she is being raised by a team of human surrogates. They treat her as a gorilla mom would, so they can eventually hand her off to a gorilla mom. They are taking great pains to ensure that she is not overly bonded to humans.
Humans Make Great Beds

She was sleeping when we first got there. The head of the gorilla department (and on the SSP) gave a talk, and they listened.
Gladys and her Surrogate Listen

Then Gladys decided it was time for climbing practice.
Eating the Rope

"I'm Getting the Hang of This"

As I said, the keepers in no way see Gladys as a pet. Still, it must be an incredible experience to be part of saving an animal like her. I admire the keepers who take the time to do this, and make a point of doing it right.
Climbing Practice

This is a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, who was watching us.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

My mom has always liked elephants.
Asian Elephant in the Bushes

The male is named Sabu. We spent a good while watching him, and talking to a volunteer. He clearly loved this animal.
Sabu, the Asian Elephant Bull

Dunbar was greeting guests with a keeper. He’s a plated lizard. She said that his ear holes are connected–you can actually see through his head when the light is right.
Dunbar, the Plated Lizard

Lulu, the baby giraffe was out.
Lulu Gets a Snack

She seems big to me…until I look at her parents.
Giraffe Family

Going with my mom meant I went to parts of the zoo I don’t normally go to. For instance, I don’t often see this clever Sumatran orangutan.
Sumatran Orangutang in the Shade

Or Kenneth, the large spotted genet.
Kenneth, the Large Spotted Genet

It was my birthday, so, of course that meant cats! We went to go see the cheetah run, where serval Jambo showed his jumping ability.
Jambo Jumps

Chance had a great run (and I got artsy with my photography (what do you think?)).
Chance's Run

Baby cheetah Savanna ran–the first time I got to see her go.
Savanna Runs!

She’s grown a lot. What a beautiful cat!
Savanna Taking Off

Of course, when running on as even a nice day as we had, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Thirsty Girl

While at the Cheetah Encounter, we saw two zoo celebrities. Thane Maynard, the director of the zoo, was talking to some folks as we came in. Sitting two rows in front of us was Catheryn Hilker, who established the cheetah program, as well as the person who had the idea of zoos taking animals to schools. She’s one of the reasons we have cheetahs in the world today. I thought about saying “hi,” but got embarrassed, and didn’t.

I wanted to see the snow leopards. Renji was being a bit lazy.
Yawning Renji

What was really cool was they were giving Nubo a snack! We got to be relatively close to him, and watched him dine. He is an amazing cat–look at those paws!
Nubo's Snack

“Cheeze!”
CHEEZ!!!

Nubo was in a very playful mood, pouncing at Renji, in a game of tag I’ve seen my cats play. The things she has to put up with!
Tag!

What a gorgeous girl!
Dreamy Snow Leopard

What about the Pallas’ kittens?
"Where We Going, Mom?"

They were following their mom around.
"Where's Mom Going?"

So patient.
Huddling Around Mom

As is the ocelot mother, whose ocelittle was thought her tail was a great toy.
Mom's Tail Makes a Great Ocelittle Toy

The bobcat watched us. Miss Lop-Ears the caracal wasn’t there…hope she was OK.
The Bobcat is Awake!

It was a great day, with great weather. I’m glad my mom got to spend my birthday with me and my family at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Ocelittle and Pallas’ Kittens   3 comments

Lounging Ocelittle
I’ve been trying to see the baby ocelot born at the Cincinnati Zoo on New Year’s Eve all year. On the last weekend of Zoo Babies, I got to see her, and her mom.
Ocelittle Wakes Up

Sometimes she wandered around looking for her mother.
"Mommy, Where Are You?"

Other times, as cats are want to do, they wrestled.
Wrestling with Mom

Going Under Mom

Such a pretty little girl.
In the Stump

The bonus was down the hall.
Pallas' Kitten Cuddle Puddle

Three sleepy pallas’ cat kittens.
Pallas' Kitten Cuddle Puddle 2

Who weren’t asleep for long!
Eh!

Adorable balls of fluff! Of course, pallas’ cats stay fluffy.
A Pallas' Kitten Ponders

Pallas' Kitten Bokeh

One even came close to the window.
Black and White Pallas Kitten
I love when sitting cats wrap their tails around them like that.

A sand cat was sleeping up on top of some rocks.
Sand Cat Nap, Disturbed

Miss Lop-Ears the caracal was up on the rocks, too.
Miss Lop Ears Wall-Paper

The bobcat, since he couldn’t see the caracal, decided a nap was in order, too.
Bobcat Nap

…and someone must have clued in Nubo.
Nubo Naps

However, the tiger was stalking in the grass.
Tiger in the Weeds

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

Ocelittle at the Cincinnati Zoo   2 comments

Sihil ClimbsThis week, the Cincinnati Zoo announced the birth of a baby ocelot. The baby was born on New Year’s Eve, making it the last of Cincinnati’s zoo babies. What’s special about this baby is that it is the result of a new artificial insemination process developed by the zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife.

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the leaders in the conservation of small cats. Sihil, pictured to the right, is the first ocelot born through a frozen embryo. She makes regular visits to the Ocelot Conservation Festival in South Texas.

The baby (whose sex hasn’t been published as of this writing) will be in the Night Hunter’s exhibit this spring. I suspect I’ll post a picture or two once that happens…assuming I can limit myself to that many.

Posted 2013-01-16 by Mr. Guilt in animals, cats, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Zoo, ocelots

HallZOOween 2012 at the Cincinnati Zoo   Leave a comment

We went to the Cincinnati Zoo, in part so my daughter could participate in HallZOOween, their annual trick-or-treating at the zoo event. She went as a black cat.
Caitlin the Cat!

However, there were two babies we wanted to see. First, Lulu was a baby giraffe born on October 12. She stayed in her stable, close to the wall. All we could see was her head.
Lulu Hides from the Camera

We keep talking about how cute and tiny she is, even though she was taller than me when she was born. However, when she stands next to her mother, Tessa, you can tell. Again, she didn’t do that, but Tessa was in full view, having a snack.
Tessa Has a Snack

The other baby we were interested in was Savanna, the cheetah. She’s been hanging out in the running yard prior to Cheetah Encounters. Such a pretty girl!
Cheetah in Autum

She chased her dog pal, Max.
Savanna Chases Max

Mostly, she did what cheetahs do best: she ran a bit.
Savanna Takes Off

Savanna Runs

Perhaps as inspiration, Nia, the second youngest cheetah in the Cat Ambassador program ran. She really embodies the grace and power of these animals.
Nia's Dash

Note the serious cheetah running form: head low and she’s starting to pin her ears back. Even captive cheetahs treat running after prey as serious business–even if the prey is just a fuzzy dog toy.

Chance did the second run.
Chance Flies

This is the first year I’ve gotten to see Sihil, the occelot, in the Cheetah Encounter. Her climbing ability is amazing! Also, they have such lovely coats (though, at times, I think she’s wearing pajamas).
Sihil Climbs

Cleo the serval shows how to get the last chip out of a Pringle can…somehow, I don’t think I can do it as well as she can.
Reaching for a Treat
OK, Pringles aren’t enough justification for this adaptation. It’s actually how servals can reach into burrows for rodents.

Another pretty cat.
Cleo & the Pumpkin
Note the malor strips on the pumpkin (you can see these as the black stripes running from a cheetah’s eyes (near the notes) to the corner of the mouth. These function similar to the black pain football players put under their eyes to reduce glare. You can see them on Savanna below.
Dreaming of Running

Minnow the fishing cat made an appearance.
Pondering a Dive

And I still wonder why I can’t get Luna to do this:
Through the Hoop!

We went to go say “hi” to the snow leopards. On the way, George, a six-month-old bat eared fox was taking a walk.
Happy George!

We also passed a ball’o’cougar.
Ball of Cougar

Renji and Nubo were being quite playful. They also appeared to have secrets.
Snow Leopard Secrets

Renji is so pretty. Another photographer pointed out she has “Cleopatra” eye liner–I never noticed it before.
Pretty Renji

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