Friday, January 23, 2015

Naples Zoo and Caribbean Gardens

Pictured above is one of the many exotic plants which can be seen at the zoo.  Tips of the leaves of the plant do look like painted fingernails!  The Caribbean Gardens at the zoo were started in 1919 by Dr. Henry Nehrling, a leading authority on tropical plants.   The gardens were expanded in 1950 by Julius Fleischmann (great-grandson of the yeast mogul).   In 1969 Larry and Jane Tetzlaff ( he was stuntman for the Tarzan movies) introduced exotic animals to the gardens.  Speaking of exotic, a first for us was the agouti, a rodent which lives in Brazil.  He eats Brazil- nuts and, after breaking open the tough pod and eating a few of the nuts, he plants a few- planning on eating them later.  Fortunately for the Amazon area he forgets were he plants the seed and a new tree is born!
The zoo is one of four in the nation to have honey badgers, natives of Africa and Asia.  According to an interpretive sign near the pen, "a taste for honey and bee larvae earned them their sweet name".    I could not get a very good picture of them because they were forever on the move, and, most of the time I was there, the two pictured below (someone said they are brothers) were engaged in a friendly tussle. 
While watching a zoo employee feed a couple of leopards, we heard the alarm calls of a fox in a pen nearby.  Interestingly, it did not sound like a bark of a dog, but more like the squawk of a large bird.  We were able to get a good view of one of the foxes at the zoo's animal feature show.
For this show staff of the zoo handle live animals and have them demonstrate their natural behaviors.  The sloth was quite amusing, when placed on a surface he just flopped face downward and did not move.  What, me move?  That is way to much work!
I am not finished yet on the Naples Zoo, more will be coming in the next posting.

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