A very WILD Summer!

Group pic at Mix 106 featuring an Alligator Snapping Turtle, Rainbow Boa, and Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Soni- Our adult American Alligator enjoying fresh trout. Variety is the key to his diet. He also enjoys chicken, bass, and tilapia.

Summer is one of the most exciting times of the year for us. While the majority of animals move to their outdoor habitats to enjoy the sunshine, we’re able to work on new exhibits, projects, and   expansions to our facilities. I’ve put together a few highlights from the past few months documenting our animals, progress, and a few of our major national appearances. Enjoy :)

Tank walking over the bridge for the first time.

Tank walking over the bridge for the first time.

First on the agenda was connecting the main tortoise yard to their indoor facility located across the creek. For months we had to physically pick up Tank and Tinkerbelle (each weighing in at over 100 pounds) everyday to transfer them to their yard and then back to their facility at night.

The expansion included adding a ‘tortoise friendly’ bridge that connected to a new yard that led directly to their indoor facility. It  allowed the tortoises to come and go as they pleased and gave us the ability to separate them for husbandry purposes.

Tinkerbelle had no problem trying the new bridge out for herself.

Tinkerbelle had no problem trying the new bridge out for herself.

At first we thought the tortoises might be a little apprehensive about crossing. Not to worry! They immediately took to the new extension and had no problems finding their way home at night.

Here Tank explores his new yard which he shares (with a protective barrier) with his three-year-old offspring.

Tank checking out one of the younger tortoises.

Tank checking out one of the younger tortoises.

Feeding Mr. Magoo the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine during a segment for KTVB in Boise.

Feeding Mr. Magoo the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine during a segment for KTVB in Boise.

The beginning of summer marked the start of what would become a record-breaking number of appearances for us on both local and national television.

An up-close shot of Mr. Magoo the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine- an ambassador from Babby Farms in Sand Hollow, Idaho.

An up-close shot of Mr. Magoo the Prehensile-tailed Porcupine- An ambassador from Babby Farms in Sand Hollow, Idaho.

Mr. Magoo joined me for my monthly segment on KTVB to help promote our upcoming “TODAY Show” appearance. You can watch the clip below.

Kate McGwire co-host of "Mike and Kate in the Morning" on Boise's Mix 106 holding Happy.

Kate McGwire co-host of “Mike and Kate in the Morning” on Boise’s Mix 106 holding Happy.

 Our TODAY promotion didn’t just stop at TV; we also visited our local radio station.

Group pic at Mix 106 featuring an Alligator Snapping Turtle, Rainbow Boa, and Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Group pic at Mix 106 featuring an Alligator Snapping Turtle, Rainbow Boa, and Asian Small-Clawed Otter

Backstage at "The Today Show" holding Russell, a Bennett's Wallaby.

Backstage at “The Today Show” holding Russell, a Bennett’s Wallaby.

The day had finally come!

Picture taken directly after the segment with Al Roker and Natalie Morales.

Picture taken directly after the segment with Al Roker and Natalie Morales.

Every time we appear on “The Today Show” it is still so surreal for me. I’ve been watching the show since I was kid and never quite thought that one day  I would be a guest talking about my favorite thing: Animals!

Chompers our three-year-old American Alligator before the move.

The second major project this summer was building a multi-species outdoor pond exhibit for our young American Alligator and water turtles.

The new exhibit features a small waterfall and multiple platforms for the animals to bask in the sun.

The number one comment I get is “She gets along with water turtles?” At a little over three feet Chompers is still too small to cause any harm to our larger sliders and snapping turtle. They actually seem to enjoy each others company: The Red-eared Sliders will bask right on top of her! They also would share the same habitat in the wild.

The animals also have access to land that surrounds the pond’s perimeter. So far, Chompers is the only one that explores. The turtles tend to stay in the pond and bask on the waterfall’s ledges.

Crossing the George Washington Bridge into New York City.

Crossing the George Washington Bridge into New York City.

It was time to pack our bags and head back to New York City for yet another TODAY segment. I learned this time around that I would be doing the segment with Kathie Lee and Hoda: I was on cloud nine! (Hence the picture.)

Chloe the 13-week-old bobcat kitten.

Chloe the 13-week-old bobcat kitten.

I’m always thrilled meeting the animals I get to work with before the show. These particular Animal Ambassadors (some of which were rescued) came from a reserve in Upstate New York.

The segment was on “Amazing Animal Adaptations” and I couldn’t have been any happier! I was able to feature an Agouti, Blue and Gold Macaw, Mata Mata Turtle, and a bobcat kitten.

Pictured with Dean Cain and Hoda Kotb.

Pictured with Dean Cain and Hoda Kotb.

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Watermelon treats for our young sulcatas.

Watermelon treats for our young sulcatas.

After a few fun-filled days in New York it was time to head back home. I greeted these young ones with their favorite treat.

Hand feeding Little foot.

Hand feeding Little foot.

Fruit is not a main component of their diet (which includes grasses and fresh greens). Although watermelon is an excellent treat that hydrates the young tortoises.

Tank our large male also enjoys the watermelon.

Tank our large male also enjoys the watermelon.

 

Do I look nervous?

Do I look nervous?

It was back to work! I was honored to be asked to co-host “Mike and Kate in the Morning” while Mike was out of town.

Studio taken over by wild animals!

Studio taken over by wild animals!

I was even able to bring along a few “friends” to help me out. Pictured is a Binturong from Babby Farms in Sand Hollow, Idaho.

Binturongs also known as bearcats have an amazing climbing ability!

A beautiful Idaho Sunset.

A beautiful Idaho Sunset.

The summer was quite an eventful one. As always time flies and there is still so much to do. Although I’m happy to announce that our brand-new facility was completed on September 9, 2013. As the sun sets sooner and the temperature begins to cool, the animals will soon be inside their new indoor quarters. I can’t wait to share more photos and experiences! – Corbin