Furry and Fishy Beings

I don't know about where you live, but where I am we had a very weird winter. A warm December and then a record snow fall at the end of January. Sixty and seventy degree temperatures this month and now I hear a snowstorm is heading our way in the next couple of days. Very confusing to the plants. (Although the squirrels seem to be reveling in the weather. I have never seen them so fat this time of year.) So if the snow holds off this is a great time to visit the outdoor activities that have been off limits in the colder climes.
The spring babies are arriving at the zoos and are ready for your perusal. The Indianapolis Zoo has the mammal voted “looks most like a dinosaur”; the reticulated giraffe. Born on January 9th, Mshangao (which is Swahili for “surprise” or “amazement”) is already chowing down on tree trimmings.

Meanwhile at the Denver Zoo a little lady named Whimsie Adepa (Adepa means good thing in Akan) was born February 25th. She is a western lowland gorilla, a critically endangered species. She can be seen hanging out with her family on this video.


The San Diego Zoo (my favorite zoo when I was a kid) is celebrating its centennial this year. You can watch its new Sumatran tiger called Suka on their tiger cam. http://sdzsafaripark.org/tiger-cam Or at least you can try to watch him. I didn't have much luck. Suka's mother didn't care for him when he was born so he was bottle fed, then had to be hospitalized with a severe UTI that damaged his kidneys. He's doing better now, as can be seen on this video.

Washington DC's National Zoo welcomed a baby swamp monkey the night of March ninth. Mom Layla, dad Nub Armstrong, and baby can be seen at the Zoo's Think Tank's mixed species exhibit. This little monkey has some amazing ears.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens are celebrating a plethora of babies, including some endangered giant river otters. Otters are some of the most fun animals around and are always a blast. (The Baltimore zoo recently welcomed a one year old otter who transferred from Louisiana!) Koalas and piranhas are some of the other interesting babies you can visit. While there don't forget to enter the name the baby joey contents. More details can be seen at this commercial for the zoo:

Moving away from babies, especially furry babies, we turn our attention to a ton of web cams featuring aquatic and other animals. The Monteray Bay Aquarium alone has about a quadrillion web cams, showing everything from the open ocean to sea nettles to an aviary cam. When I looked at the aviary cam it was mostly some birds standing around watching a bloke take their picture. http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/live-web-cams...

The open sea exhibit was pretty impressive. I saw a hammerhead shark and a bait ball, but the bait ball concerned me. It's my understanding that fish only school like that when they are convinced they are about to be eaten. Shouldn’t every denizen of an exhibit feel safe and happy? http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-experiences/live-web-cams...

The Seattle Aquarium has a giant Pacific octopus cam, but I mostly just saw the feet of visitors, and a few cameras. Try at noon and four pm when the octopus are fed. (Or if you have a foot fetish, you'll be in heaven, so long as you don't also have a cephlapodphobia.) These guys can grow up to 150 pounds (the size of some black bears!) with a twenty foot arm span. Pretty impressive. http://www.seattleaquarium.org/octopus-cam

The Aquarium of the Pacific has a great cam of the weedy, or common, seadragon, a fish related to the seahorse. Have high blood pressure? This cam should relax you. These guys are native to Australia’s coastal waters, so a bit of a hike for me. http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/tropical_pacific_gallery/webca...

The Aquarium of the Pacific also has a great cam showcasing their tropical reef habitat, which is designed after the Blue Corner off the coast of Palua. This thing is bursting with life. While most of the fish I saw looked as though they were the same species, I also what looked like a pink striped fish, and two sharks with very long tails. http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/tropical_pacific_gallery/webca...

For those who enjoy this sort of thing, here is an Aquarium of the Pacific web cam of the shark lagoon. Frankly being a shark in this tank looks horrifically dull. There are a couple of rays to liven things up but going around and around and around day in day out must be awful. http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/shark_lagoon/webcam_shark_lago...

The final cam at the Aquarium of the Pacific that we will discuss features two types of fish; anthias and wrasses. These fish are special because when they need to they can change sex, with the lady fish becoming gentleman fish if something happens to the male of the flock. (Or is it herd?) (I know they are really called schools.) I also saw what looked to be a brain coral, and a yellow fish that looked as though it has buckteeth? Is that a thing? http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/tropical_pacific_gallery/webca...

Blacktip Reef at the Baltimore National Aquarium looks much more interesting to the inhabitants and the viewers. Featuring sharks called wobbegongs, aka carpet sharks, blacktip reef sharks, honeycomb stingrays, a green sea turtle, spotted unicornfish, a reticulated whiptail ray, harlequin tuskfish and many more, this webcam is fascinating. A trip to the aquarium itself is also a fascinating, albeit expensive, experience.
http://aqua.org/explore/baltimore/exhibits-experiences/blacktip-reef

Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat falls in the better safe than sorry category for those who are planning to travel, especially for spring break. Yes, it's kind of depressing. But better to take precautions than get sick, especially given the devastating effects that Zika virus can bring. The CDC has a special travel page set up where you can answer a couple of questions and get specific information regarding your destination. For instance I pretended I was going to the Bahamas as an immunocompromsed, chronically ill person and was informed I should think about getting a typhoid inoculation! That was a bit of a surprise. Also I should not get a yellow fever vaccine and I should NOT wrestle any bats. You can get information for yourself here: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/