Spring is Here!

IMG_1203

Tinkerbelle our 90lb Sulcata Tortoise enjoying the fresh spring grasses. With the temperatures steadily rising, the animals have access to their outdoor habitats.

 

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for us (hence why I haven’t written a blog entry in several weeks). Media appearances, zoo visits, new exhibits and animals have all contributed to a very busy April/May. I’ve put together a few highlights from personal pictures I’ve taken along the way. Enjoy- Corbin

I spent my Easter in New York with one of our newest Animal Ambassadors; an Alligator Snapping Turtle named “Happy.” Here we are in our hotel room counting down the minutes until our NBC TODAY Show appearance!M

There is so much excitement and anticipation every time we appear on “The Today Show.” – Here I admire Happy from a distance while I wait for the other animals to arrive.

The April Fools’ themed segment was a success! I was especially thrilled to finally showcase certain animals that are commonly misunderstood.

Micah Today Show

One of my favorite parts about traveling and appearing on these shows is being able to spend time with my family. They even have opportunities to get on-air: Here is my sister Micah’s famous arm handing me a milk snake.

M3

The next day we headed to my second home: St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve been visiting St. Louis since I was kid due to the number of relatives I have there. Now I enjoy making annual visits seeing family, friends, and the zoo!

While in St. Louis I always try to visit their zoo. It’s one of the best in the country and every time I visit there is a new experience. Today (thanks to my friend Matt) we had a special behind-the-scenes tour of their Insectarium.

This took me back to my entomology days at Boise State! I was so fascinated by this giant leaf insect.

Micah on the other hand was terrified!

Next stop was the herpetarium. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The St. Louis Zoo has one of the best reptile collections in the nation! Here I’m posing with one of their giant Aldabra Tortoises.

I’m pretty sure this tortoise thought Micah’s phone was a piece of exotic fruit!

One of my dreams came true that day: I was able meet a real live Tuatara. These ancient reptiles have been around for over 225 million years and are the last surviving members of the order Rhynochocephalia (a group of extinct reptiles). They may look like a lizard but are incredibly quite different. For one, Tuataras have no external ears while lizards do. They also have a unique third eye located on top of their heads. They don’t use it for sight but possibly as a means to check the time of day or season.

Tuataras are endemic to New Zealand and are strictly protected by the government. Unfortunately, introduced animals like rats, dogs, cats, and ferrets have had detrimental effects on the species survival. The St. Louis Zoo is one of the only zoos in the country that has a captive breeding program set up to ensure the Tuatara is around for future generations.

I was in awe when we came across the zoo’s new Sea Lion Sound exhibit. This $18 million dollar aquatic complex is home to California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals. It’s also the only place in North America where you can walk through an underwater tunnel and watch the marine mammals playful antics.

Here is a glimpse behind-the-scenes. Sea Lion Sound relies on a massive filtration system to keep its waters crystal clear. The most unbelievable thing about this picture is that it’s located several stories underground directly under the pool!

This was a real treat: Being able to meet one of the zoo’s sea lion stars during a rehearsal before the show opened to the public. What a way to end a day at the zoo!

Next was press day. I have to say out of all the local affiliates we visit every year, the St. Louis ones have to be one of my favorites. We started our morning out at Fox 2 News where we had fun speaking with Tim Ezell about the animals. You can watch the segment below.

 

 

 

We then headed to heart of downtown St. Louis to visit KDSK Studios where they film the popular “Show Me St. Louis” TV show. Here I’m pictured with host Julie Tristan. After a few pictures and laughs it was time to head home.

I enjoy traveling more than anything in the world…Although I have to say there is nothing like being home! (Here Tinkerbelle our female Sulcata enjoys her mud wallow).

Until next time- Corbin