Saturday, April 27, 2013

Being in love

That feeling you get when you have fallen in love.  You can't eat, you can't sleep, your heart beats way too fast, you get palpitations just thinking about your love…

That is what it is like being here in India volunteering at a croc park.

I have fallen head over heals in love with the crocs (and a few turtles too).  I could stay here forever just to wake up each morning and peer over a wall to see a crocodile basking or swimming or eying up a meal…

I lie awake some nights and rerun my days activities.  I am shocked by some of the amazing things I get to do.  The other day I got inside the enclosure of a very big saltie while the pond was being drained and cleaned.  How often do you get up close and personal with such a giant creature?  He is huge and so powerful!

I have been babysitting a slightly deranged turtle who has no ability to stay on her feet.  Several times each day and night I have to turn her back after she has flipped onto her back.  Sadly, I hoped she would improve but that hasn't happened.  I think it is nearly the end of the road for Miss Uppsy Daisy…

Yesterday I helped feed 3 very big gharials!  Robin is nearing 6 metres and his girls Nancy and Julie are substantially smaller.  The girls get fish thrown in the water near their snout and they grab the fish and eat it.  While His Lordship Robin gets fish placed in his mouth on a stick!  Talk about spoilt!  He has the end of his upper snout missing as a result of a fight some time back so he deserves a little extra attention, but fish on a stick is quite a bit of extra attention!

Yesterday I had to find 10 large snails to feed the Blue Tongues skinks.  The day before I had helped find another 10 large snails and Aaranya had broken the shells and got the meat out of them while I looked on and squirmed whilst exclaiming an occasional '"Ewwww gross!!"  But yesterday I bravely found the snails alone and waited for Aaranya to arrive and break them open for me.  She was busy feeding crocs in the nursery so instead of waiting, I took to it myself.  Using the back of a meat cleaver, I bust my first snail and managed to take out the meat in a slightly kack-handed way.  I was up to about 6 when Aaranya arrived back.  She was very impressed that I had given up the EWWWW's and done it myself.  So was I!  I then took it over the Blueys and I hope they appreciate the effort I went to!  I won't find out until later today when I clean their tank out.  I hope for their sake that they have eaten them all…

I love it here, I love the variety of the things I do and I love the crocs (and some of the turtles).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Turtles and Tortoises!

While I've been helping out with the turtle hatching over the last week or so, I've had many opportunities to see things I wouldn't have imagined seeing before.  It amazes me how exceptionally strong and able these tiny creatures are the moment they are hatched.
The three we released yesterday
Yesterday, the Travencore hatched as already mentioned.  We give it water a couple of times a day and it drinks very happily.  It's yolk has nearly been absorbed and so his belly is not so swollen and soft.  It is a feisty wee thing - won't stay still for long and fights to be let go if picked up (to put in the water. etc).  I suspect this tortoise will go far!
The Travencore drinking water
You can still see the egg tooth on it's nose
Also while checking one of the batches of eggs, I saw a tiny movement so I investigated further.  An Indian Black turtle had just broken its shell.  So it now has a night in the cupboard to complete the hatch - hopefully before I get there in the morning!
The Indian Black turtle

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dang, blast and other nasty expletives...

I wrote a whole post the other day and it did it's usual 'save' every few minutes then something went wrong and the page disappeared and so did my just written blog…

So I said a few carefully chosen words and shut my computer down and went to bed.  Best thing to do in these situations.

I've bravely decided to try again,  although I have no idea what I was writing about last time.

I'm on turtle duty while the curator is away.  He has several turtle eggs incubating at different temperatures and my job is to check temperatures morning and evening, check for newly hatched turtles and ensure moisture and water levels are good.

We also have a few tortoise eggs as well and they don't need a lot of input, just the odd squirt of water to keep humidity up.

Today we released three turtle hatchlings into the gharial enclosure as these weren't ones from the temperature batches.  There are 2 more who will also be released in the coming days once they are deemed old and fit enough.

Dropping the hatchlings into the water...
Not quite quick enough as Robin the Gharial came
(very quickly and quietly) to see what was happening!
And the last one goes in
My big excitement today was the hatching of a Travencore tortoise.  I had checked the egg this morning and put it back in the cupboard where the temperature is constant.  This evening, I was thinking I didn't need to check it as it was fine earlier.  But I took it out anyway.  I looked in and saw the little thing had hatched!  So sweet, and still folded and crumpled from being in the egg.  I cannot believe how big the turtles and tortoises are when they come of the eggs - the egg never looks big enough!

So this little fellow is with us for a few days until his umbilical cord is healed and he is ready for the big world.

This gecko was all of about 2cm at most
I was cleaning around the office desk that I use most days and some of the papers and things haven't been moved for a very long time.  I shifted something and the tiniest of gecko's ran out of the pile so I caught it and had a good look at it.  It had little folds of skin on the back of it's neck so I assume it was not very old.  I took some photos then tried to place it near where it came from so it would hopefully find a safe place and some food.