The one day I get to feed animals, and of course, none of them want to eat. Today I got to feed almost every animal, except for the large snakes, the alligators, and the gar. It’s kind of sad how excited I was to do the feeding, but it seriously was so much fun….until nothing wanted to eat. The water snakes did a good job of eating, except for the few who were about to shed (Snakes don’t eat while shedding, because it’s harder for them to digest food during this time). The larger groups of fish, like the logperch and darters, ate really well, and so did some of the larger solitary fish, like the bass and bowfin. The albino turtle, which is one of my personal favorites, didn’t want to eat at all. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but since the turtle is albino, she is basically blind, so it’s easier to hover the food over her head so that she can see the shadow. However, this turtle has been pretty angsty the last couple of days, and the biologists think that she is so agitated because she has unfertilized eggs. Whatever the reason, the turtle wasn’t having it, and refused to eat anything. The bullfrogs ate a little better, but not much. Of the four of them, one rarely eats, and usually has to be force fed. The other three love to eat, even though it takes them a while, because they can’t aim very well when they jump for the food, which is suspended in front of them on a stick, and they usually miss it. This time however, only two of the bullfrogs ate, and the third didn’t even attempt to go for the food. The animal that is the strangest about eating is the large mouth bass, which hasn’t eaten since it has been on exhibit, which has been a couple of months. The biologists have started becoming more hopeful that it will eat, because it has been more active, but it still didn’t go for the food.
The bullfrogs, bass, and turtle were all given shrimp soaked in Zoe, which is the phytoplankton/vitamin mixture I mentioned in my last post, just to give variety in their diet. The snakes and some of the smaller fish were given Zoe soaked smelt, which is a small fish about the size of a minnow. The large school fish were given bloodworms, which are vitamin packed, to help with growth and health.
Feeding has been my favorite thing so far, because it’s the closest I’ve gotten to work with the animals. I hope I get the opportunity to do it more often, so that I can learn more about how these animals eat, and why they eat what they do.