5 Things You Only Know if You're a Zoo Keeper

July 18, 2016

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

Have you ever caught a tiger making a strange face? Or wondered why the sea lions raise their flippers for their keepers? We're letting you in a couple of secrets from the experts. Five secrets, in fact. But don't worry - if you want to know more, plan a trip to the Bronx Zoo this week. We'll see you at the zoo!

1. Stink Face

If you've spent time at Tiger Mountain, you've probably noticed a couple of different behaviors. This one may have struck you in particular. Along with the five senses humans have, cats have something called the vomeronasal organ, which processes info somewhere between smell and taste. It also allows for some funny photo ops.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

2. Age is Just a Number

This is Abdul, an Aldabra Tortoise, posing for shelfie with zoo keeper Avi. Abdul and Rocket are both about 100 years old, and we think they look great. Next time you stop by zoo center, make sure to pay them a visit - and of course thank Avi for his awesome work.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

3. Picky Eaters

Sometimes it's hard to get youngsters to take their medicine. The same can be said about animals. Our keepers have to get creative about hiding medication for the animals, sticking them in grapes, and other food.

4. Sea Lion Salute

In order to ensure the animals are healthy, our keepers train them in husbandry, or healthcare behaviors. That's any behavior that allows a keeper to provide the best possible care to the animal. For sea lions, something like a flipper present allows keepers to inspect the flipper and make sure all is well.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

5. Treats

Our keepers take care of the animals basic food and health, but they go above and beyond, providing the animals "enrichments." These can be anything from a puzzle feeder to toys. This way the animals stay stimulated, and it's another way for the keepers to check in on their health.

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