Giraffe butts and baby porcupines

August 1, 2008

Not surprisingly this week at FONZ was filled with more calendar preparations. We had to circulate the draft we had created of all of the holidays and Zoo events to all of the necessary departments to double-check that everything was correct. This inevitably led to a few changes that needed to be made. We also had to complete the process of selecting/getting everyone to agree on the twelve main photos that would be featured.

Young prehensile-tailed porcupine with its mother

Other than the calendar I also spent some time working on my book review for the upcoming issue of ZooGoer. I’m finding it difficult to write even though I loved the book. I think the problem that I’m having stems from the fact that the book is basically a compilation of essays and not one continuous story. I’m hoping to have it completed by early next week, though.

On Thursday I spent awhile looking through other zoo’s publications just to get a taste for what they all looked like and what kinds of content they included. We’re trying to gather as much information as possible as we move forward with the re-design of ZooGoer. There were a couple of things that we really liked – section headings and the design of some departments such as “creature features,” but there were a bunch of things that we didn’t like – super busy designs, not enough white space on the pages, and too many advertisements. It was really informative to compare our publications to similar ones so that we can make decisions about the new look of our magazine.

Golden lion tamarin

I also had the opportunity to meet with one of the possible designers for our new publication. It’s cool to get to see a selection of the projects that someone has worked on in their career, but it makes it hard to compare designers because they have all done such different things. It would be easier if we could give everyone an article and ask them to show us how they would present it in our magazine.

Lastly, I spent a large chunk of time doing photo research for the November/December issue of ZooGoer. Some of the animals that we needed were fairly common and since we were looking for straightforward pictures just so readers can visualize what the animal looks like, there was lots to choose from. But, this was not true of all of the pictures. Because I wrote specifically about giraffe tails, I was looking for a picture of a giraffe taken from the back and this proved to be a very unpopular angle. We also needed some very specific species of animals that don’t appear to be particularly photogenic as there are very few pictures of them available.


For our animal visit this week my supervisor and I decided to stop back at the Small Mammal House. There was a baby prehensile-tailed porcupine born in June and when these animals are born they have fluffy, red fur instead of black and white quills like their parents. As the juvenile porcupine ages, its fur stiffens and changes color so that it resembles its parents. We have been going back every other week or so to check on the progress of the baby. On this visit, we could tell that its fur had definitely lost its fuzzy-quality and has become more stiff and quill-like and it is changing colors – mostly from red to white. There’s not much black yet.

We also visited the golden lion tamarins, who are always entertaining as they jump from branch to branch in their exhibits. Their fur is so cool – when the sun catches it just right it shines this amazingly vibrant gold color. Plus they look like they have long mustaches and they make funny faces.

Prevost’s squirrel

We also saw degus which I think are one of the cutest animals in the Small Mammal House. They almost look like tiny rabbits. At first I didn’t see very many of them in the exhibit, but the longer I stood there, the more I found. I counted at least eight burrowing around and looking for food.

Lastly, we saw the Prevost’s squirrel. He was lounging in his usual spot – on a branch at the very top of his exhibit. Every single time I have been into the Small Mammal House he has been in that exact same position.  Of all the squirrel species I have seen in person, I think these guys are the coolest. They have at least three different colors on them in a really cool stripe pattern.


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