Sunday, November 22, 2015

Too Much Information

Our youngest son, Sam, works at the Sacramento Zoo with animals in the Interpretive Center (IC), which include, generally, animals not able to be on display in the regular part of the Zoo, but many of which are shared with the public through walks around the Zoo or shows in their little theatre.  Here's a picture of Sam with the Eclectus and the Thick-Billed Parrot.

He has worked at the Zoo since he was 14, starting as an intern and, when he turned 18, as an employee. After completing his degree, he began working full time.   He's been bitten and scratched and wounded in all sorts of ways, but I haven't had real cause to worry about his job in all that time (13 years)--until now.

Here he is with Bing, the alligator that arrived at the Zoo at about a quarter this size when he was still quite cute. (Some might argue he's still cute.)

 And here he is showing my visiting cousin the Armadillo. 

This little guy is as cute as can be.  Awww.  But Hedgehog habits aren't so cute.  Notice Sam is holding him with a glove (OK, to protect himself from the spines) and a towel. Well, never mind that.

Last night at dinner, our conversation wandered onto the subject of venomous snakes.  How we arrived there, I can't remember.  But as he explained all about who makes antivenin, how much it costs, how long it lasts, even where it is stored at the Zoo, I said, "You seem to know a lot about the antivenin at the Zoo.  There aren't venomous snakes in the IC, are there?"  "No," he assured me.  "Are there venomous snakes in the Reptile House?"  "Yes," he said.  "You don't handle those, do you?"  "Yes, I do."  "But not with your hands?"  "No," he said, shaking his head.  "Just with snake sticks."

Now I don't have an inordinate fear of snakes.  He left his snake in an enclosure in our family room when he moved out.  And I don't mind him.  He doesn't smell.  He doesn't bark.  He's boring, but pretty self contained.  And since the snake wasn't handled much when he was younger, he will bite, so I don't ever touch him.  And anyway, Sam's forced to come home for a visit every so often to feed him.  Venomous snakes are in another category.  Those I fear.

Now I've watched Sam handle the snake with his snake sticks and I wasn't overly comforted by his suggestion that he doesn't use his hands at the Zoo.  When he feeds his snake here at home, he moves him from his enclosure to another container.  And that snake has a way of slithering right off those sticks and suddenly, there he is on the floor.

Sometimes mothers can be over-informed. 

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