April 3, 2009

Western NC Nature Reserve

Our last field trip was to the Western NC Nature Reserve. It was so much neater than we expected. Most of the animals at the reserve were raised illegally as pets in homes. This caused them to be unafraid of visitors so they came up close and interacted with us. Each cage had a section that was glass instead of fence, which made it easier to see them. Their cages were true to their real environment, very nice with lush green grass and clear water. All of the animals seemed very healthy also. Their coats were thick and glossy and none of them seemed short of food! We had the benefit of a Naturalist showing us around the reserve. He had animal pelts from several animals for us to feel and look at up close, and he told us a lot of details about all of the animals. We really enjoyed our visit to the Reserve.

Ronnie - I liked Olive the River Otter the most because she looked like a ferret. She was constant running to the sides of her cage because she was excited to have new visitors. When you called her she would come up to you. She had a huge cage with a big pond that I would have liked to swim in. There was water flowing through the rocks and the trees and it almost went around in a full circle. We watched her long enough to see her go crazy because she knew she would be fed soon. When they threw the fish in the water, she jumped in and got it, then brought it out to a rock to eat it.

The water in her cage was almost clear, which was surprised me. The guide told us that they don't leave fish in the water for her to catch because they dirty the water. They just throw the fish in for her to eat.

All - The little Red Fox was darling. The catches his prey by pouncing on them, things like rabbits, mice and rodents. It was hard to find him at first because blended in with his environment. One unique thing about the Red Fox is that he can climb trees.

Lizzie - My favorite animal is the Red Wolf because it is very pretty. Our guide told us that in the late 1980's there was only 17 Red Wolves in the whole world. The captive breading and reintroduction program of the Wildlife Fish and Game, captured 15 and only left 2 in the wild. The program has continued to breed them and now there are at least 300 Red Wolves. I liked learning about the Red Wolf because they are very interesting. I didn't like the fact that they are an endangered species, but with the help of this program they are making a comeback. I would love to pet one, but they might bite me!

We got to feel a fur pelt from the Red Wolf.

Mitchell - Val is a Mountain Lion. I like cats, especially big cats. I like mountain lions because they live in California, up in the mountains, which is my favorite place to go. Mountain Lions are thought to extinct from the the Eastern United States. Val was from here, but she was kept illegally in someone's home. She isn't the size a mountain lion should be because she was probably fed cat food instead of the meat she would have eaten out in the wild. There are still thought to be some out in the wild because people keep them illegally, then because they have kids or can't handle them, and don't want them anymore, they think they are doing a good thing by leaving them out in the wild. But animals that have lived in captivity their whole lives do not have the natural instincts to hunt and take care of themselves.

Mountain Lions are stalkers. In her cage was a phone book. They guide told us that it was for putting a snake skin or other objects inside of so she could use her natural instincts to search it out, as she would in the wild. When we were there she was sleeping. I can't wait to go again. Hopefully she won't be sleeping then.

Mary - Bobcats are very cute. They are very similar to regular cats. They have very pointy ears and they have weird bobbed tails that are very short. They have pretty fur the blends in with the brown ground. They had a blanket and a ball in their cage and a tunnel, that they like to crawl through and cuddle with. These objects were given to them to make them smarter. I think bobcats are awesome and I would like to have one.

We got to feel a fur pelt from a Bobcat and a Cougar.

Lizzy - The gray wolves were pretty. When we came up to the glass the white one stood up on a rock like it was posing for a picture.

Gracie - I liked the wolves. Their fur was nice and furry. I got to feel the fur of it and it felt comfy. We had a great time and I loved the wolves.

Britany - My favorite part was the Black Bears. They were rolling all over each other while they were sleeping, and they kept hitting each other in the face. Their back feet looked like actual people feet. We could see them really well from where we stood. When we went camping we drove by the same kind of bears, but we weren't able to see them as close. They were muddy, but they actually look very soft.

Allison - Their paws look funny, and they look like pretend. They have branches in their home where they can put their feet up, to get up high and walk. They were laying by the tree, and the little bear was smelling the other ones paw. They like to play and run.

Gracie - I loved the goats. They were good and furry and nice to pet. I pet their little chin thing that was going down. One went up on the wall and he was funny. I loved it. It was really fun.

Allison - We saw the goats and one was sniffing Gracie and Gracie was petting one. I pet a big white one. I just loved the hair they have hanging down from their chin. If you pat your lap they will come to you. After we petted them we started feeding them. I told my friends not to feed them, because they might bite you. After that one climbed up the wall and I started laughing so hard.

We saw a mean one. I took a picture with the mean one. [See below.] He was all looking at me. I wanted to see him, but he almost bit me. I didn't like him. He was like [something angry].

It was so fun. They are so nice.

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