Winterfest 2014

Once again Grafton Lakes State Park asked me to provide an exhibit for them at their winter festival on January 25, 2014 among other wildlife educators and organizations. It was an honor and pleasure. Liz Wagner, Park Naturalist had a last-minute design change for my exhibit and it turned out to be perfect. My hides and furs were on the front table while Muffin Chinchilla and ferrets Willy Weasel and Pansy were set on the table behind. Shortly after arriving and putting the animals in their exhibit cages, Muffin escaped by squeezing through the back bars. I had to use packing tape to keep her from wiggling through but it only made her try to escape out the front (see photo). I am amazed that she squeezed her body through those couple inches!

Many children and adults had never seen an albino chinchilla. Muffin was a big hit with her soft touchable fur. At one moment she got a bit overheated with one ear turning dark pink but she cooled off and returned to normal. Muffin has been an educational animal ambassador for nearly six years touching the lives of hundreds of children. She was purchased at an exotic animal auction early 2008. Her age is unknown and she has had health issues for the past 3 years. Last year her heart murmur had become worse and she was put on heart medication to accompany her pain medication for sore gums. Recently, she once again stopped drinking water and eating regular pellet food. We have her back on a herbivore mush. It seems like a cycle. She’s active and her weight is healthy, so we are not worrying too much. Willy Weasel was another hit as he’s a year and a half old but weighs 3 pounds! Yes, Willy is overweight and tends to “hoover” the food while Pansy is underweight and a picky eater. I guess I’ll be walking the weasel come Spring!

I must admit that the highlight of the festival for me was getting up close to a Harris Hawk. They are not found locally and I was just mesmerized by this beautiful creature. She is two years old.

Here are just a few photos.