Albinos, Lemurs, and Pythons--Oh, MY!

Source:  Albinos, Lemurs, and Pythons--Oh, MY!    Tag:  hot albinos
While visiting family over the 4th of July, my in-laws took us all to a wildlife and conservation park.  This park boasts several near-extinction animals, and they allow you to interact with the animals by touching and feeding them.

And if my kids are going to feed lemurs, you better believe I'm taking the camera along with us.

This is not a lemur.  It's an American Albino Alligator.  I could have closed up shop and went home after seeing this guy.  I have a ridiculous fascination with anything reptilian or marine-like.  We didn't get to feed this guy, either--which was, in my opinion, a bummer.  I would have coughed up some cash to throw some meat in there and watch this guy feed.

THIS is a lemur.  And I could have spent all day photographing these little guys.  They are REALLY pretty.  While we weren't allowed to TOUCH the lemurs, we were allowed to feed them.  Hold onto your hats:  $1.00 = 1 token.  It's 1 token to feed the lemurs.  One token buys you...are you sitting down for this?  ONE dried cranberry.  The nice lady then tells you to obliterate the cranberry into multiple pieces so you can feed them longer.  So, let's re-cap:  $1.00 buys you one Craisin.

My poor father-in-law forked over something like $8.00 to feed the lemurs.  I was pretty sure someone might have to sell a kidney to feed any other animals in the park.  Photo above shows my 2 year-old feeding a lemur.  I had to put on my "SuperMom" face for this park--a big smile on my face with a thumbs-up sign while internally thinking, "Please don't claw my two year-old's face off!"

White tigers.  They had baby white tigers in the "nursery."  I wanted to know why we couldn't interact with THEM!  How fun would it have been to hold a baby white tiger before it could REALLY rip my face off?  This guy was really pretty.

It's not every day you see a porcupine walking along on a leash.  It's also not every day that your four year-old gets to pet one.  This is "Buddy."  His zoo handler kept saying things like, "Well, let's see if Buddy is still in a good mood.  Go ahead and try to pet him, and we'll see if he's in a good mood."  Really?  My son had to be the test on this one?  Which leads me to my next question:  What DO porcupines do when they're NOT in a good mood?  I learned that the whole "they can shoot their quills at people/animals" is actually a myth.  Note:  My son really thought petting the porcupine was cool.

[Australian accent time!]  This right here is the most DANGEROUS rabbit in all of North America.  One bite from him, and you're a gonner!  Just kidding.  They had a "children's area" where the kids could climb in with rabbits, big tortoises, and guinea pigs.  Here's what I'm thinking while I take this picture:  "Nice.  Cuddly and fragile bunny 2 year-old."  I've never seen the kid so gentle with anything!  I'm going to tell him his baby sister is a rabbit and see if he's a little more gentle with her.  My brother-in-law JOKINGLY said, "I think I know what I'm going to get him for his birthday now."  And I know he's joking because I think he values his life too much to try and get them a rabbit.  I've had rabbits before--they stink. 

This is a "lorikeet."  I have no idea where they live, but they were really pretty.  There was a sign on the door that said, "If a lorikeet lands on you, just keep walking."  I knew THAT wouldn't happen at all without me flailing about and screaming, "GET HIM OFF OF ME!  HE'S TRYING TO EAT ME!"  Once I worked up the nerve to walk into their "we fly anywhere we want to" area since I saw that they weren't landing on anyone, I actually worked up the courage to get pretty close and photograph one.

My two year-old, who apparently doesn't have any fear in his body, walked right up to one with a cup of "nectar" (my father-in-law, who forked over the money for this feeding adventure said, "It's probably water and brown sugar," and that made me laugh), and he began feeding one.  Pretty neat to watch, actually.

The giraffes were pretty awesome to see.  The lady working this exhibit handed my four year-old a piece of lettuce, and the giraffe walked right over and took it out of his hand.  My husband then reached up to touch the giraffe, and the giraffe quickly walked off.  The employee said, "Please don't touch them.  They don't like it."  Remember that story--it will come into play later.

Just as I was marveling over how large the giraffe was that my son fed (14 feet tall), we look out to see THAT giant way off in the distance.  The employee tells us that THAT is Caesar.  He's 18 feet tall and over 4,000 pounds.  He.  is.  a.  giant.  And he's not allowed to come over and let small four year-olds feed him because he apparently bites.  Good to know.

This is a Ball Python (not a "bald python" like I originally thought--which made me wonder where the pythons WITH their hair were).  That is also my 2 year-old sticking his finger dangerously close to the python's mouth.  I thought back to Giraffe Girl who told us not to touch the giraffes because they don't like it, and I was confident this little gal was going to tell my two year-old to KEEP HIS FINGERS AWAY FROM THE PYTHON'S MOUTH.  Silence.  Crickets.  Nothing.  Nada.  I kept saying, "Pet the snake down HERE on his belly!"  to which my son ignored that and kept putting his finger up near the python's mouth.  Once again--nothin' from the handler.  REALLY?!  SuperMom face was GONE, and the anxiety was clearly coming out.

And that concludes your visual tour of our wildlife and conservation park we visited.  We managed to stay around 3 hours in over 100 degree heat, and the kids really liked the park.  I would be happy to go back again--with my own bag of Craisins.