Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Little Buddy

Animal Care Volunteer Jess recently submitted this story for our blog.

Every Thursday morning I go through the same morning tasks as an Animal Care volunteer, checking on each of our animals, noting anything that needs that attention of the staff. Lately, my favorite area has been the Insect Village. I look at each exhibit, refilling water dishes as necessary, and affectionately calling everyone “little buddy”.

This morning, though, I had a sad surprise. In the bottom of the giant praying mantis exhibit was a dead mantis. I went to the Lead Animal Caretaker, Lauren, and told her what I had found. She asked if I wanted to take it out, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Despite my limited interaction with them, I always feel sad at the passing of any of our insects.

Imagine my surprise when I heard an excited Lauren calling my name. “Look!” she said. I looked more closely. What I had mistaken for a dead mantis was in fact an exoskeleton that had been molted. We had our very first adult praying mantis! He is quite beautiful. If you visit PSC, you will definitely want to come see him. I don’t think “little buddy” will work anymore so I’ll be calling him just “buddy” from now on!

Volunteers like Jess have memorable experiences every day at Pacific Science Center. If you love science and would love to share your enthusiasm with like-minded people, consider volunteering in our Science Interpretation Program. Training begins in September.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fresh Sheet – August 23, 2014

When you come to Pacific Science Center this weekend for Engineer It!, be sure to visit the new arrivals from Malaysia. They’ll be waiting for you.

Penang Butterfly Farm, Malaysia

50 - Catopsilia scylla (Orange Emigrant)
70 - Cethosia cyane (Leopard Lacewing)
40 - Doleschalia bisaltide (Autumn Leaf)
50 - Hypolimnas bolina (Blue moon)
50 - Idea leuconoe (Paper Kite)
20 - Lexias dirtea (Archduke)
30 - Papilio memnon (Great Memnon)
70 - Parthenos sylvia (The Clipper)
60 - Vindula dejone (The Cruiser)

Totals = 440

“Fresh Sheet” is our weekly shipment report of pupae on display in the emerging window. Visit Pacific Science Center’s Tropical Butterfly House and meet our newest residents.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Goodbye Estrella

We are sad to announce that last week during a routine morning check we found our red-tailed boa constrictor, Estrella, dead in her cage. Her death came as a shock to us all. Up until the end, she showed no signs of slowing down. In fact as recently as Aug 8th, she performed in a show at a Mercer Slough summer camp, doing what she did best – putting on a great show.

Estrella and her clutch mates Esteban and Estella came to Pacific Science Center in 2000 as young snakes. As they grew, each manifested a unique personality that belied the notion that all snakes are essentially interchangeable.

Estrella had always been the pistol, the spark, and the hotshot of our boa constrictor collection. She was the one who always struck at her food. For many years she was deeply and somewhat fearfully respected by generations of the presentation staff. They loved Estrella’s confidence and vigor but were kept on the alert by her moving about, showing her moods, and displaying a big, powerful personality.

When Estrella ate, she would seize the rat out of the tongs, crush it as though it were not dead, and wolf it down with gusto. It was fascinating to watch an animal go from motionless to lightning-quick so rapidly. Estrella clearly showed what extraordinary hunters these snakes can be. Occasionally we would offer Estrella more than one food item. Unlike our other boa constrictors, she would always strike at each one.

But Estella also had a cranky side. She was known to hiss, show her fangs, and put her handlers on alert when she didn’t like something. On the rare occasions when we took her to the vet for suspected health problems, it was always because of her showing these threatening behaviors. These actions were her way of communicating to us when she felt something was not right.

Estrella always mellowed a bit once we got her feeling better. Then she would put on a fantastic performance and win everyone over with her strength, confidence, and willingness to wrap around the handler’s waist and stay in place for the entire length of a show.

Estrella had a few short illnesses in her fourteen years and Animal Care staff did not see the old crankiness that preceded her death.

We will miss her.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fresh Sheet – August 16, 2014

Have you ever seen a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis? This week you’ll have 340 more chances. Stop by and cheer them on.

Bioproductores de El Salvador

20 - Archeoprepona demophoon (Hubner’s Prepona)
25 - Caligo memnon (Owl Butterfly)
25 - Catonephele numilia (Halloween Butterfly)
15 - Eurytides branchus (Dual-spotted Swallowtail)
20 - Eurytides thymbraeus (White-crested Swallowtail)
20 - Heliconius erato (Small Postman)
20 - Heliconius hecale (Tiger Longwing)
10 - Heliconius hortense (Mountain Longwing)
10 - Heliconius ismenius (Ismenius Longwing)
15 - Lycorea cleobaea (Large Tiger)
40 - Morpho polyphemus (White Morpho)
25 - Myscelia ethusa (Royal Blue Butterfly)
10 - Papilio androgeus (Queen Page)
25 - Papilio erostratus (Dusky Swallowtail)
12 - Papilio torquatus (Band-gapped Swallowtail)
08 - Archeoprepona demophon (One-spotted Prepona)
20 - Prepona omphale (Blue Belly-Button)
20 - Tithorea harmonia (Harmonia Tigerwing)

Total = 340

“Fresh Sheet” is our weekly shipment report of pupae on display in the emerging window. Visit Pacific Science Center’s Tropical Butterfly House and meet our newest residents.

Read more!