In the wild west of Abilene Texas, you
expect to find a lot of wild. The Abilene Zoo doesn't
disappoint. It is filled with wild life. One of the first stops
in the zoo has to be
Wetlands of the Americas.
Here you come face to face with such a wide
range of wildlife from the colorful beauty of the American
Flamingo to the prehistoric looking American Alligator. The
wetlands inspire a peaceful feeling as you watch the birds go
about their normal routine. Watching the birds pick their way
through water half a foot or more deep you wonder how they can
walk at all on those stilt-like legs. The flamingos were proudly
showing off several youngsters. Unlike the bright coral pink of
the adults, the fledglings are a muted gray.
In the next pond, Black Neck Swans seemed
to gracefully glide about with no effort at all. So different
yet each so perfectly suited to their environment. There are
several kinds of ducks and over a dozen species of birdlife
Next we headed for
Elm Creek Backyard
bypassing several colorful macaws along the way. Elm Creek
Backyard is a collection of Texas wildlife. Texas is a big state
with varying ecosystems and lots of wild life ranging from
Bobcats to a Black Footed Ferret, one of the most endangered
mammals in North America.
One of my favorites is the ocelot.
His soft looking fur and beautiful pattern is gorgeous.
His eyes are so soulful you feel he understands your admiration.
Another favorite is the cougar. Since our own big cat, the
Florida Panther, is so endangered and rare it's wonderful to see
his cousin here in Texas doing much better in terms of survival.
Altogether there are over four dozen variants in Elm Creek
Naturally the biggest animal kingdom is
Africa. Biggest in
size of animals not numbers. Here is where you find the majestic
lions. I was captivated watching the regal male lion overseeing
his kingdom while the female lion paced back and forth.
Tigers are another must stop and gaze
exhibit. Black Rhinos and Zebras are all a part of this section.
Camels are popular also.
The smaller animals here rate a look also.
Ones like the Secretary Bird, with its strange feathery
headdress and orange feathers surrounding its eyes, and the ever
However, the pride and joy of Abilene Zoo
are its giraffes. Their new
Giraffe Safari Exhibit
opened in April 2016. Part of the charm is the new feeding deck
named Twiga Terrace. "Twiga" is the Swahili word for "giraffe."
Here you get to feed these longed-necked beauties Romaine
lettuce by hand. I was amazed by the softness of their fur and
the length of the eyelashes.
The new space is a multi-species exhibit
with places for in the 30,400 square feet habitat. This larger
area allows the giraffes room to run and display more of their
natural behaviors. Abilene Zoo is home to four adult female
reticulated giraffe, one male Rothschild giraffe and one young
male reticulated giraffe. I could only tell the Rothschild male,
Mesi, after being told his coloring is darker and he is the
largest of the giraffes.
The smallest is Kito translated as
"precious gem" in Swahili. He's just under a year old and
precious. Asha, the senior female, is looking out for Kito. It
was fun seeing her hovering protectively near him.
I just learned that Punk one of the females
who was pregnant when I visited in August, gave birth to a
healthy baby boy on September 10,2016. It's a first for Punk but
not for father, Mesi. Just one more reason to visit Abilene Zoo
Some of the other African animals sharing the Giraffe Safari are
the Marabu Storks,
Blue Duikers which are a tiny antelope-like creature, Angolan
Colobus Monkeys, Red River Hogs, Aldabra Tortoises, and Kori
Bustards. For my younger readers, yes, you are allowed to say
that word. They are the heaviest birds capable of flying.
Caribbean Cove is home to a variety of wildlife found in the
tropics. There are reptiles like iguanas and Dwarf Caiman and
lots of amphibians such as frogs. The birds are quite colorful
like the Blue & Gold Macaw and the Cuban Amazon Parrot.
Mammals are represented here by the
Squirrel Monkeys and the Prehensile Tailed Porcupine who really
are kind of cute.
South American Exhibit is where you find another species of
Spider Monkey and Howler Monkeys. The undoubted king of the
jungle here is the Jaguar.
Don't skip the
Reptile House. I
know a lot of you don't like snakes but they are an important
part of of our environment no matter where we live with the
exception of Ireland. They have several versions of cobra; the
King Cobra, Black Spitting Cobra and Red Spitting Cobra. There
are quite a few rattlesnakes and a good variety of amphibians
such as geckoes and spiders.
Spread throughout the zoo there are beautiful garden spots and
play areas to take a break and relax with nature all around.
It's a fun place for young and old.