Road Tripping to Gainesville: Day 2

Day 2 was Xeno’s surgery day.  Mom will now have two patients to watch.  Xeno developed a mammary tumor that has kept getting bigger and bigger at a fairly rapid pace.  So Amy decided that it needed to be removed.  While prepping for surgery the vet found two smaller tumors.  I cannot for the life of me begin to visualize surgery on a tiny rat, but clearly it can be done.

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Our day started out pretty cold, somewhere down near 32 F or 0 C for those working in metric.  That is cold for this African and reminded me of the old Pretoria days, where we had gas heaters and electric blankets in winter.  Somehow that seems kind of silly for Florida, the apparent “Sunshine State”.  I guess it is down south, but not in Gainesville.  It is dry and bitterly cold.

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We discovered that Xeno would be spending the day at the vet.  After surgery she would be monitored.  We could pick her up at 4:30.  So what to do?  Amy seemed to be feeling fine.  Her mouth did not hurt and there was no swelling.  All in all it seemed to be going well.  So, since I had mentioned it, she asked me if I would like to go to the Sante’ Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo.  Cameron had told me it was a place to visit and so I agreed.  I will however start out by saying that while I will visit a zoo, I am not a big fan of animals in cages, even big cages.  I also discovered from a photographers point of view bars are not what I want in my photo’s.

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The White Headed Capuchin Monkey is a smallish black and white character and are catergorized as new world monkeys.  They are commonly found in Central America.  They are very instrumental in dispersing seeds and pollen in the rainforrest.

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The Guanaco is part of the camel family and can be found in South America, typically in arid areas.  This Guanaco had us chuckling with the sultry looks on her face.  At one stage she looked like she was blowing a kiss.

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Signs of winter are all over and I have really enjoyed seeing them.  Living in South Florida we rarely see the true signs of winter.  We go from a deep shade of green to a yellow shade of green but we never see the autumn colors of reds, yellows, oranges and greens.

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The White Handed Gibbon is a primate.  There were two in this cage – a dark brown Gibbon and this sandy colored Gibbon.  The natural home to these Gibbons is Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.

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I walked around the corner to find Amy taking a photograph of something.

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Turns out it was this gorgeous Kookaburra.  The bird was incredibly active and it was hard to get a photo of it and then to try and focus on the bird and not on the cage wires.  The Kookaburra is a type of Kingfisher and is native to Australia and New Guinea.

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I am not sure what this was about but it did have something to do with Bees, and their nest building.

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I felt like I was back in my homeland in this section of the zoo.  The Leopard tortoise is found in the savannas of eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan to the southern Cape and is distinctive by its size and markings.

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Added to that we were able to see the national animal of South Africa, the beautiful and gracefull Springbok.  They run extremely fast, at times reaching speeds of 62mph or 100km/h.  They tend to spring as they are running, hence the name.

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The Ocelot is know as the dwarf leopard.  They are typically found in South and Central America and on the islands of Trinidad and Margarita.  These Ocelot pair were brought in for breeding purposes.

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We meandered on through the trees, enjoying the quiet, restful environment.

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I always like to catch photo’s of Amy whenever I have the chance because she does not live at home, and soon will be living a continent away.  I am trying to spend as much time as I can with her over the next few months.

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We moved on to the reptile area where the only way to view critters was through a glass window.  Not my idea of fun and the photo’s are not what I would like them to be, however I did like these two.  The top image is of the Florida Softshell Turtle, that I see quiet often in the wetlands.  The lower image is of my least favorite creatures but I did try to catch the narrow depth of field with this snake.  I believe that it is a Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake.

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Last but not least were the beautiful and protected bird of prey, the American Bald Eagle.  Both of these had been injured and were being treated at the Zoo.  This was a first for me and I cannot begin to explain how beautiful this bird is. The Bald Eagle feeds mainly on fish and you will typically find them where there is a large body of water.

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 “You become excellent when you fly at a level that creates a wide gap between where you were before and where you are now. Fly like the eagle; the eagle flies as if it never remembered it was once an egg!”

~ Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes.

Our day ended with us picking up Xeno.  Poor little thing.  It is pitiful to see a rat in a collar.  She did not like it but since her little body looked like a tapestry, she had to have it on to protect her stitches. Added to that out of no where the bone graft pain arrived and the swelling quickly happened to Amy.  Poor Amy, Poor Xeno.  Mom got to nurse them both.

photo 2 (1)

Amy quickly crashed as the meds took effect but Xeno was still struggling with her collar. One forgets that rats and other rodent type critters eat with their hands and so we had to remove her collar every time she needed to eat or drink.  That night I kept this tiny rat as quiet as possible while Amy slept through the pain.

photo 2

What mom’s will do for their children.  I have to confess, since coming home, I have missed this little critter, as well as my daughter.  I look forward to spending a brief amount of time with her in March.

 If you are interested Road Tripping to Gainesville day 1 can be found here.

 If you are interested in seeing more of my photography take a look at my Facebook page or my Flickr Page.

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