Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost here? While we may have no turkeys at Wild Animal Safari, there are hundreds of other animals you can come visit on Thanksgiving before or after your big meal. The park is open during its regular hours on Thursday. The tour bus is not running on Thursday, but it is running Friday through Sunday especially for the holiday weekend.
If the weather is too cool, then not all of the animals — like our giraffe Sheldon — will be out and about that day. However, we will still have plenty of animals for your family to greet, feed, and pet on Thursday. You’ll still be able to get some great pictures to share with your friends and family on social media, too. If you are too full to visit on Thanksgiving, then remember that we are also open during regular business hours for the entire holiday weekend. If you need a break from Black Friday shopping, then what better way to spend time away from the shopping craziness than with some really cool animals? Our bus is running all weekend as well.
We hope you choose to spend your holiday with us and the animals at the park, and again — happy Thanksgiving!
Since October is Halloween month, we thought it’d be fun to take a look at some of the scarier animals in the world!
The female black widow is famous for the trademark red hourglass marking on her abdomen. Once an insect is trapped in her web, she bites it quickly with her venom-filled fangs. This venom is filled with digestive enzymes, liquefying her insect corpse’s body. As deadly as she is, the female black widow is not aggressive towards humans unless she feels threatened.
The rattlesnake, meanwhile, is well-known for its warning rattle when it’s prepared to strike. It can grow up to eight feet in length, making it the largest venomous snake in the US. The rattlesnake comes with two heat-detecting pits under its nostrils, allowing it to hunt prey even in darkness. Its forked tongue acts as a navigational device, and its hinged-mouth can open 180 degrees — allowing it to swallow prey whole. The rattlesnake comes in many different patterns and colors, but each type shares its signature, rattling tail! The poison dart frog is brightly colored and looks harmless, its skin contains enough poison to kill an army of up to 20,000 mice. In fact, it only takes the amount of poison that would fit onto the end of a ballpoint pen to stop a large animal’s heart. As MC Hammer would say, you can’t touch this frog!
The park is finally getting a baby tiger! Our sister park in Missouri is sending us this White Bengal Tiger. We are so happy to get this little ball of cuteness, and you can see the baby tiger at the park very soon. We will announce on our social media pages when this baby is ready for the public, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for when we make that announcement. We are so excited to have a baby tiger at the park, and we hope you come and welcome the cutie when it arrives!
The Blue Tongue Skink Lizard comes from Australia. It grows up to a foot and a half long, and it lives in burrows, logs, or leaf litter. Their diet consists of dead animals, snails, insects, fruits, and flowers. Some of them even have a transparent window in their lower eyelids. This means they can technically see even with their eyes closed!
As for how they got their name, it clearly comes from their blue tongue. What you may not know is that the blue tongue is their primary defense mechanism against predators! To scare any animals threatening them, all they have to do is open their mouths, stick out their blue tongue, and hiss. The combination of hissing and a blue tongue shocks their predators enough to frighten them away. Simple, but effective!
As you can see in the picture, cattle species like this water buffalo do not have top teeth. They have a dental pad that helps them chew their food. According to Burmese folklore, the water buffalo lost his top teeth when he lent them to a horse. The horse asked to borrow the upper teeth to see what he would look like wearing them. The horse apparently loved these new teeth so much that he ran away and did not give them back. The water buffalo was unfortunately too slow to get his teeth back!
You have heard of California king beds — now meet California Kingsnakes! These are nonvenomous found along the northern part of Mexico and western United States. They live in a large variety of places: forests, grasslands, marshes, farmlands, deserts, and even suburban neighborhoods, just to name a few. California Kingsnakes mostly live on the ground, but they have been known to climb shrubs and low tree branches. They earned their name from their habit of feeding occasionally on other snakes, making them “king” of the snakes!
As for their looks, California Kingsnakes can either have a single stripe going down their bodies or multiple stripes across their bodies. Many come in black and white, black and yellow, brown and white, or brown and yellow. However, in captivity many are bred to create different color morphs. One popular color morph is creating an albino California Kingsnake!
To protect themselves, California Kingsnakes release a strong and musky odor. They will also smear their attacker with fecal matter (gross, but undoubtedly effective!) and make a sound similar to a Rattlesnake rattle. Strangely enough, California Kingsnakes are immune to Rattlesnake venom. Not a bad defense trait to have, if we do say so ourselves!
Want to see a California Kingsnake up close? Come on out to the park! Even if you are not a snake fan in general, you will want to pass up the chance to see the “king of all snakes” for yourself!
Although the emu in the pic is just a baby, it will not be that small for long! When it comes to size, emus come in second to ostriches for the title of “Largest Bird in the World.” Adult emus reach heights between five and six feet tall, and weigh between 90 and 130 pounds. This makes them the largest birds in their native Australia. Even though they come in second worldwide, they are definitely not slouches in the slightest!
Like ostriches, emus are flightless birds. They mainly feast on flowers, insects, berries, and grains. They require large amounts of water daily, drinking anywhere from two to four gallons. One very interesting fact about emus is how male and female emus do not share the same vocalizations. Males grunt pig-like, whereas females make a booming, bongo drum-esque noise.
Our emus are popular fixtures in our drive-thru. In fact, they often hang around the front gate, making them some of the first animals visitors see once they enter the drive-thru! Have you had any memorable experiences with our emus? Maybe you have heard them make their unique sounds? If so, then please share your stories in the comments below — we look forward to reading them!