Temperatures are cooling, trees are beginning to change colors, and there is a sudden crisp in the air. This means only one thing: fall has hit the Snake River Valley region! It happens to be my favorite season, and just like the river and its surrounding vegetation, things are changing around here. For one, our animals who enjoy our warm summer days and nights have begun to move into their indoor habitats. (Although this doesn’t mean they don’t get to enjoy a warm fall day!) For us, there is also a lot of planning and prepping for the upcoming cooler months. I’ve decided to share a quick update featuring some of our animal residents.
With some of our animals, we have the luxury of housing them outdoors year-round; despite the freezing winter temperatures. Soni, our adult male American Alligator, enjoys his heated pool and will bask on land during the warm fall/winter days. My favorite time is going out on a cool morning with a cup of coffee and watching the steam from his pool rise above the river.
Animals like our Green Iguana Godzilla, native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, cannot withstand our cool fall nights. So every morning around 11am I have the glorious task of transferring Godzilla from his two-story indoor home to his outdoor habitat. Did I mention he is not nice? If you run into me around this time of year you will notice a dozen or more scratch marks along my arms.
Some of our North American animals can withstand the cool night temperatures. Our Three-toed Box Turtle, Missouri, doesn’t move into her indoor habitat until the end of October/early November. She simply burrows into the soil at night and emerges on warm fall days to eat her specially prepared diet of greens, vegetables, and mealworms.
The same goes for Chompers, our four-year-old alligator. She and her water turtle residents don’t move into their indoor 320 gallon heated pool until the end of October. She withstands the cool night temperatures by submerging at the deepest depth in their outdoor pond. In the morning sun she slowly makes her way to the surface and then basks all day long before going back at sunset.
Some of our habitats we specifically designed to give the animals the option whether or not they want to go outdoors. The design works perfectly for fall weather when the days are warm and the nights are cool.
The small bridge over the creek allows our tortoises to venture into the main yard as they please.
The bridge connects to a smaller yard that leads to their indoor heated tortoise house. Tank and Tinkerbelle simply enjoy the warm days outside and venture back into their heated home at night.
Our smaller tortoises are too young to venture out in the main yard. So just like Godzilla, every morning I transfer them from the tortoise house to their outdoor yard.
One animal who is thrilled that the temperatures are cooling down is Napoleon the emu! These Australian birds can withstand temperatures over 100 degrees and below zero. We still have a barn for Napoleon to venture into in case the weather gets too extreme; funny thing though, is that he never uses it!
With the days getting shorter and the sun setting sooner, I decided to end on this picture I took while crossing the bridge a few days ago during sunset. It might not be completely in focus, but I just love the colors of the sky reflecting off the river. Another perfect fall sunset.