Audubon Zoo, New Orleans, LouisianaToday we decided to take a look at what the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana had to offer.
The weather was nice and the feeling of Spring was in the air as we stopped at a Rouse’s Food Market outlet on our way to the zoo.
As I was driving along, we began to encounter a residential zone and I began to wonder if I had somehow mistaken where I was trying to get to but, just when I thought it was about time to look at a map again, I looked up and saw a giraffe looking back at me over the zoo boundary fence.
Before heading for the zoo entrance, i stopped to take a look at some clumps of fungus growing on a tree near to the road. It looked like someone had thrown clumps of wet bread dough at the trunk of the tree.
The first thing that I noticed after I passed through the zoo gates was the wide assortment of Azaleas and Rhododendrons that were in bloom near the zoo entrance. I also enjoyed the sense of humour portrayed by the signs at this zoo.
The many large Live Oaks bedecked with their trailing Spanish Moss added a mysterious look to the shaded areas of the zoo grounds while the open grassed areas were well maintained. The lawnmower guy on his Hustler lawnmower even had time to give me a wave of welcome :-).
The zoo itself housed a great variety of creatures from birds to reptiles to mammals from all corners of the world. The False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) with its long slender snout, is one of the most endangered of the crocodilian species.
I enjoyed watching the slow moving tortoise and , of course, watching one-legged birds of any species is always fun.
It was Springtime and there was a bit of housebuilding going on and the male wood ducks were in full breeding colour.
Watching a giraffe bend over to eat a bit of grass made my knees ache. They are fascinating animals to watch and according to the sign they have a very large heart to successfully move their blood up to their brain.
When I was taking photographs of the African Secretary Bird and Kori Bustard, I had no idea that a few months later I would be on safari traveling with my son, Graeme, through Kenya and Tanzania where I would see these beautiful birds in their natural habitat. (Secretary bird and Kori Bustard on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in Africa)
One section of the zoo is decorated as a Louisiana Swamp and comes complete with a number of things for decor including an old wash basin, an open air bath tub and a few real, live alligators.
I found it very interesting to see that the Swamp area of the zoo also had Nutria (Mouse Beaver – Myocastor coypus). Nutria were a South American rodent which was introduced into North America as one of those get-rich-quick types of promotion where everyone would have a colony of Nutria in their garage or backyard and sell the fur to the furn trade basically in competition to Muskrat fur. Great in theory but unfortunately for the Muskrat population of the southern USA a number of the Nutria escaped from the backyard pens or were released on purpose when the backyard entrepreneurs decided that they didn’t want to be in the Nutria business anymore. The result – the now wild Nutria competed directly with the native muskrat population and the muskrat diminished in numbers. I lived in Western Canada when the Nutria fad was tried there. Thankfully, the weather was too cold in the winter for Nutria to become an established pest in Western Canada and the native Canadian muskrat survived the experiment.
While I was looking for something else to photograph, a River Otter came out to sun itself on a log and a mother Wood Duck emerged from the foliage with a half dozen or so of her family following close behind.
It was still fairly cool when I was visiting the zoo but it was easy to tell that the small ponds contained plenty of turtles.
The Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) was out for a stroll, so it was possible to take a look at how he walks on his knuckles and the side of his foot so that he can keep his long claws form dulling on the ground while he is walking. Those long sharp claws plus a two foot long sticky tongue allow the ant eater to dig into an ant hill or termite mound and get his meal quickly before the ants or termites are able to escape or try to defend themselves.
The Maguarie Stork (Ciconia maguari), a long legged wader from South America was an interesting bird to observe as were the Spider Monkeys. I had hoped that the Monkeys might be a bit more active but, while I was waiting patiently, so were they.
Time for a self-portrait while watching young humanoids playing in the mister. As far as I was concerned, it was still a bit cold to need to use a mister to cool off but the children thought that it was a great idea.
I think that I could easily have spent a few more hours at the Audubon Zoo but I had other plans for the day so had to start back toward the entrance photographing more and more creatures along the way.
I didn’t notice any birds using the gourd houses but I expect that swallows or Purple Martins would make good use of them s the Spring season progressed.
It was really nice to see the white tiger just lying out in the sun. The White Tiger is not the same as an Albino Tiger. The White Tiger lacks the gene that produces the typical orange coat but still has blue eyes and the stripes. Albino Tigers would have pink eyes and lack the stripes.
Tine to head off over to south-east Asia to visit the elephants before exiting from the zoo.
Admission prices in April, 201o