This big guy was sound asleep in the cold morning air, only waking up when the tiger next door gave a shout out to his mate. These guys are huge ... and majestic ... and BIG!!!
Most of the babies hand fed and raised in the homes of the caretakers are from other zoos and animal parks. These guys have a reputation for producing healthy animals acclimated to humans. Not domesticated, but acclimated. That makes them much happier in their new homes. Last year I got to play with a Bengal Tiger cub, all of three months old.
The Caracal cats are from Africa. Very regal, these are the cats the Pharaoh's worshiped in Egypt. This is Karma. Although domestication has been tried, they are nocturnal predators. A feather in the wind will set them on edge.
Karma is about three months old. Although she loves to be held like a baby, she does NOT like to be petted, scratched or otherwise bothered. You touch her in the wrong place and she quickly disappears under the bench. S O F T .........
Meet Lexi the Canadian Lynx. Just look at those feet!!! If you've had dogs and cats, you know every animal is different. You could pet Lexi flat handed on her back, but run your fingers through her fur and she was gone in a flash!! It happened there was a baby goat within range when I took this image ... her gaze never wavered!!
This is Lexi when I was here last year. She's grown up quite a bit. When they put her in my lap, she immediately crawled up to the top of my head. What a sweetheart she was!!
This is a full grown Lynx ... actually Lexi's Aunt who still comes out to say hello occasionally, but you cannot touch her.
This is Carl .... Lexi's new boyfriend. It's funny ... most of these cats have been raised together. Remember Bob the Bobcat from my visit several years ago? He and Carl are best friends and still sleep together in their enclosure, along with Lexi's Aunt.
This beauty is Rukus, a half brother to Bob the Bobcat. He and Lexi are buds, sharing the keepers bed at night. He said the kittens are cuddly, unlike the bears, which he also took home when they were babies.
Although he looks nice and docile, Rukus and the other cats are very skittish, always watching the goats and little children (probably a good idea YOU watch the kids too), waiting for an opportunity to pounce!!
Bob LOVED to have his back scratched ... and I was happy to oblige when I was here maybe three years ago.
And here's Bob today!! He's grown up quite a bit since I saw him last.
All of the cats are fed a formula when they are young, then switched to chicken with no bones. At about one year of age, they get the bones too. This spotted cat was eating a nice juicy chicken leg. Growling all the while.
More spots, but this time it's a leopard. This big boy languishes on his perch high in the air most of the day.
You're right, this isn't a cat. It's Honey Bear. Bonnie and Clyde who made the internet last year are now together in a huge enclosure with a swimming pool and spacious lawn on which to deposit large quantities of ...... well you know!
At three months of age and 70 pounds, Honey Bear is a chunk. She's actually on solid food, chicken and beef, but is given formula while she displays her assets to the crowd. She's also too big to pet. She might take your hand for a nice juicy piece of steak!
THIS however, is the star of the show! Can you believe it?? A snow leopard baby. These guys are on the endangered list with very few left in the wild. Meet Yara.
Yup .... I got to pet her while she sat in my lap. It's just an experience you shouldn't miss. It cost $16.50 for me (not sure if that was a Senior price or not) ... I would have paid double!
Here's mom. Dad is hiding inside. They are just amazing creatures ... beautiful, graceful ... I just couldn't keep my eyes off them.
Yara still gets formula, although they started her on shredded chicken. Again, you are only allowed to pet her flat handed on her back. She's really not interested in being touchy feely.
She just wanted that bottle!!
I know ... lots of pictures. I couldn't help it!! She actually forgot the bottle for a second when a little goat ran by. They've got great eyesight and that killer instinct.
Look at those eyes!! With not very many people visiting, I got to spend more than my share of time with baby Yara. Her caretaker and I talked for quite awhile as she watched peacock feathers blowing in the wind. He has raised most of the kitty babies here at his house, with the majority being kept at the park.
I'm sad to say the old bear passed away and arthritis is taking it's toll on the leopards. There are many MANY goats and sheep around, including at least five brand new babies, along with the two donkeys. In fact, there are MANY more residents that I'll show you tomorrow.
Today I'm hot footing it further South to California. Yes, I ate all the fruit and hid the plants. I think the border crossing is up and running ... I'll let you know if I'm allowed back in!!