America's Wild Girl
..And Her Animal Friends Seen at Schools, Museums, on Television and Live Events Nationwide
We've had a great month hopping around California and doing shows at the Happy Hollow Zoo and the California Midstate Fair! We even ran into Pop Star John Mayer and American Idol Phillip Phillips!
Kangaroo Lanie, Certified Animal Behaviorist and Spokesperson for Conservation Ambassadors, has had years of experience with exotic animals. Melanie works with television personality Jungle Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus of the Colombus Zoo, and other personalities, handling animals on many television programs. The bald eagle shown in this video is named Seneca.
We just had a great time at the the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday, June 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. Kangaroo Lanie and her favorite alligator Spike and Jungle Jack Hanna "stole the show."
This bird of prey is the symbol of the United States. It represents the vision, beauty, and strength of America. It is believed that the bald eagle has vision that is eight times better than humans. To put that into perspective - a bald eagle could read a newspaper from across a football field! The stern look of their face is created by a boney structure called a brow ridge - or built in "sun visor" - above their eyes that helps them to hunt during the daytime. Their great vision is no doubt symbolic of the democracy of America.
The bald eagle is a beautiful bird whose feathers are entirely brown as juveniles. Although they are full grown in physical size by just 6 months old - they do not develop their characteristic adult plumage until they are 5-7 years old. It is at this time that the bald eagle's head and tail feathers have turned white and their beak has turned yellow. Bald eagles are monogamous and find their life long mate once they become adults at approximately 7 years old. They can live into their fifties! Males and females look identical except that females are larger than males.
The bald eagle's size is deceiving - they appear as though they may weigh upwards of 25 pounds - however, like all flying birds, the eagle has very light weight bones and feathers and therefore females typically weigh less than 14 pounds and males less than 10 pounds.
The strength of this regal bird is impressive. Their long, sharp, and thick talons act like spears when catching prey. And while the bald eagle's main diet consists of fish, they will also catch small mammals when the opportunity arrives. The bald eagle's feet are incredibly strong - they have enough pressure to pop a car tire! It is certainly the symbolism of this amazing bird's strength, beauty, and vision that make it the representation of the United States of America.
Seneca the bald eagle was placed through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service after being injured as a fledgling in Washington State. Her left wing sustained permanent structural damage when she became tangled in telephone wire when learning to fly. Lanie and Seneca have a special bond since Lanie has been the primary care provider for Seneca for the last 8 years. Seneca is 9 years old and she weighs 10 pounds. Her favorite food is salmon. Seneca is an amazing animal ambassador and often brings tears to eyes when people are able to meet this spectacular symbol of freedom in person.
Often confused with crocodiles, this large reptile is the king of the swampland that dates back 37 million years! The American alligator is found in Florida, Mississippi, Lousiana, and many surrounding southeast States. They were hunted to the brink of extinction in the beginning of the 20th century for their hide. The trade in alligator products such as boots, belts, and handbags was widely popular. Through government protection and assisted breeding programs this scaly American icon was brought back from the threat of extinction and now thrives in the American southeast.
The American Alligator is known for it's powerful crushing jaw strength. They are patient predators that will wait for a convenient meal to present itself in or around the swampland. Alligators will eat whatever is convenient from insects to fish to small and even large mammals such as deer! Most people do not know that alligators can go for months without eating at all!
What is the difference between alligators and crocodiles? My answer - not a whole lot! Both are from the scientific order crocodylia, also referred to as crocodilians. So scientifically speaking all alligators are crocodiles but crocodiles are not alligators! Confused yet? One difference is that alligators have a wide "U"-shaped, rounded snout (like a shovel), whereas crocodiles tend to have longer and more pointed "V"-shaped snouts. There are 23 different species of alligators and crocodiles!
The American Alligator is a very maternal reptile. Females will fiercely protect their nests and young. Alligator moms tend to their babies for the first year of life! Gathering the young in their huge mouthes to move them from watering hole to watering hole.
"Spike" the American Alligator has a rags to riches story. He was an unexpected surprise to armed officers conducting a raid on a drug house in Los Angeles over 15 years ago. The officers busted down the doors throughout the home and swiftly ran out of the house when they stumbled upon a four foot alligator staring up at them from the bathtub! Local animal control agents contact the rescue crew at Zoo to You to come retrieve the alligator from the bathtub. Over the last 15 years "Spike" has grown several feet and now weighs a solid 100 pounds and is still growing!