I had the utmost privilege to visit a Wild Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. It takes in exotic animals, largely due to Illegal Trade and Owner Abuse and Neglect.
What’s really amazing, is that a lot of these animals are “hands on.” That’s right! You get to “play” with them, or interact with them to some degree. The reason for that?
Could this place become any better? It’s a Charitable Organization. It’s purpose is to use the animals as therapy for mainly kids (but some adults) on the Autistic Spectrum-or those who have other Special Needs, Learning Disorders as well.
The woman that runs it actually grew up with a Learning Disorder. Due to that, she was treated horribly as a child in school. She worked in the Educational System as an adult, and later decided this was her “Dream.” She finally made it a reality!
It is so unbelievable, when you’re there, sometimes you must remember that it is a reality–not a dream!
It is not open to the public, but my friend J. belonged to a Scooter Club. A woman who was part of it as well, discovered the place and went bananas!
She arranged for a group of us to take a two hour trip on Scooters and/Motorcycles to make the way. The agreement was to make Charitable Donations in exchange for our visit. I went again in 2009 as you can see from the following Page.
So, get ready to see some awesome critters! And some of my anonymity slipping away? I couldn’t crop all of me out! It’s worth it to share this though!
This is me holding a Fennec Fox.
What do you think? Pretty pink, huh? This bird, minus tail, measured at least a foot in length/height?
This guy is more colourful and was just a wee bit smaller in stature. He’s doing a weird, bendy thing on his perch here, and it was killing me! PA was bad in this next shot though…
When we saw the birds, it was recommended that we be a bit careful around them as they could tend to peck, get kind of excited and things? Well, the place was kind of lax. After a bit of an informal introduction and tour, we were given basically free time to roam with volunteers. PA and J. hung back, and I could not resist to get this guy on my shoulder! Pirate PA! “Arrr, Matey!”
Here’s a Turtle! Or would it be a Tortoise? I’m not sure. However, I will tell you that he (or she?) was HUGE! A little over a foot in length and in width? A little under? HA!
EDIT: As per a commenter (Jen) we have some more information. This is an “African Spur Tortoise.” I believe we are referring to the one above.
It appears someone has something they’d like to tell us here.
The goat wanted to have an exchange, as well.
This is a baby Wallaby. You are absolutely heartless if this evokes no emotion in you.
Meet Sydney! Or maybe they spelled it Sidney. Either way, Syd. or Sid. is a full grown Wallaby! NOTE: Stay tuned for 2009!
Here’s a baby Porcupine that was really cranky! Only the volunteers could go near this one!
EDIT: After a comment from a reader, this critter could actually be an Armadillo. I’m sure they said “Porcupine” but with all of the excitement, maybe I was mistaken or something was missed. Either way, the critter was still really cranky! Maybe he was cranky as he was an Armadillo and people kept thinking he was a Porcupine.
FURTHER EDIT: Thankfully, Jen has ended this argument and it is an Armadillo, and presumably nine banded.
This is actually another Porcupine, although I have NO idea what kind! However, perfectly agreeable and not like “cranky pants,” up there. The only thing you had to do, was pet this one in the direction of the quills or…OUCH!
EDIT: At least I didn’t screw up here. Yes, it is a porcupine. However, thank you Jen for giving me some more information. The above is a baby African Crested.
First, apologies for the image quality of this one but I wanted to toss in Mr. Chameleon anyway. He was hands on, getting passed around (I didn’t get him), but that was the problem, here. In all of the commotion, he got a bit scared and “went green.” They had to quickly get him back inside. Hence, my somewhat blurry shot.
EDIT: And now according to Jen (who should maybe have her own TV show…) this is possibly a Panther Chameleon.
At this point, maybe you’re thinking that none of this has been that exciting. Okay…
If you’ve been taking note of my hovers, no, that is not “some kind of Raccoon!” It’s called a “Coatimundi.” Now, to keep things brief, I’m not going to go into details about a lot of animals here, or on the 2009 Page. Just about what we saw and did at the Sanctuary. If you wish, you can do the research on your own.
This is me feeding one of the Coatimundis within their little homestead. There were three of them living there. They do actually look “Raccoon like.” Their bodies are about the same size, but as you saw, their noses are more pointy. Also, look at that tail! I’m trying to remember, but around two feet? I fed them raisins. It was very hard as they are/were pretty skittish!
EDIT: Yay to Jen one more time. I hung out with white nosed coaties but there are different types. Cool!
This is a Capybara. Here, I will give you some information because if you are not from where they are found…? Roughly, and mainly South America. Close relatives of guinea pigs! However, in comparision to a guinea pig??? Good Lord! As adults, some can weigh more than me. I am 100lbs. Yes, much larger than guinea pigs? You could also get in and play with the few they had! At least they were like guinea pigs in that respect! *laughing*
This is a Kinkajou that seemed to enjoy rather a romp around my body! *laughing so hard* An arboreal mammal (highly?) I held it by its tail and wow! Up and down from my waist, all over my legs! The woman who runs the Rescue/Sanctuary said he liked the fabric of my jeans…okay…
Now. We are about “PA Ecstasy.” And “PA Dream Fulfillment.” And “PA Embarrassment!”
If you do not already know, I am positively mad for Primates. It has, in fact, been a lifetime dream for me to actually get to hold one.
This is a Dwarf Lemur. Nocturnal and tiny! This one is tucked away in a woolen hat, and is so much “in hiding” that, yes, you can only see that little tail curled around the back of its body! We weren’t allowed to keep it out for too long to disturb it, but it was small enough that you could hold it in just the two of your hands.
Alright. Here comes the “embarrassment,” but I “loved” every minute of it! This went on and on and on, but here are the best two pics of so many.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Please meet “Lionel the Lemur.”
Lionel was “The Main Attraction” and saved for last. However, when I just heard they had a Lemur on the premises, I literally started spazzing out. I was jumping up and down and almost screaming! No, I literally was! I started acting like I was five years old!
Of course, everyone wanted him–but only he “wanted me.” No, this is true. I waited, almost treating Lionel like he was an Aspie just like me! I didn’t want him to get “overloaded,” as he was being passed around so much. He weighed 8lbs. and you held him just like a baby. I quietly whispered his name in his ear when he came to me, just in case he needed to be calmed down. Then he went nuts! He was all over me! Kissing and licking and… Sure, you might find the above rather disgusting but no, it was GREAT!!!
Yes, he actually reached up during all of the smooching and tried to take my glasses off. Well, he more than just tried, he succeeded! He really did! I had to reach back up and try and put them back on, and then it just became pointless with him! I ended up removing them completely! He was relentless!
So, there he is. That’s my boyfriend. *laughing* Seriously, though. Isn’t he just gorgeous?
I spoke to the woman before we left and told her about my diagnoses, how impressed I was with her, the place, just everything! She then replied, that was why Lionel acted the way he did with me, and only with me. He sensed it. He sensed that I was like all of the others that came there to benefit from working with the animals for therapy.
That made me feel pretty “Special.”