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Ran by the zoo Thursday looking for crows. Did not see one, but here’s what I saw:

DSC03702-1re The leopard wasn’t panting today, just looked board as when I saw him last.  DSC03700-1re One of the elephants was still in her stall, the other one came out to greet me.
DSC03720-1re The tortoises were kept apart by a fence because he is a bit too amorous all the time. They look like they miss being together. Both are 50 years old and can live for 200 years!   DSC03726re The keeper came in with food and he scratched her back and she just loved it! I did too, she looked so happy.
DSC03730-1re The emus always look at you like they judge you.  The kangaroos always look so lazy, didn’t even take a picture. The cheetahs could not be seen, they were still in their den.  DSC03734-2re The porcupines were quill to quill in their dream state. Even the goat was sound asleep.  DSC03810-1re But some kids came with food and he perked up.  DSC03809re The Llama just peered over top of his barn window and decided I was not worthy of his presence.
The reptiles were more active, well not the alligator,  DSC03738re he slept in the sun with a hat of greenery.  The lizards were busy.  DSC03778-2re
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Then I went to get french fries because I love their fries, but they did not have any made up, so

had to settle for a pretzel instead. It attracted the grackles which were everywhere, but still no crows at all.   DSC03779-1re DSC03788-1re DSC03806-3res

The grackles and I ate the pretzel and I headed on back to the car. There was an adorable marmoset out on a leash, but all it was doing was sleeping, her name is Judy,
DSC03820-2re Oh well, I’m sure if I had gone to the Walmart parking lot, I would have found some crows, but there’s always another day to catch crows. I do enjoy the zoo, especially when I have it to myself like I did early Thursday morning, even if most of the animals were still sleeping.

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I saw this weird thing on shore at my son’s Tampa townhome in the “waterfront” backyard, (wait, is that an oxymoron?)        You know how the developers work, they dig a big drainage ditch and call it waterfront in Florida. The water is pretty yukky looking, but there is action out there.
My son had told me about the nutria inhabiting his back yard, and there is a big nutria population around Brandon Florida close by where he lives.  It’s a South American import, (the nutria, not my son.)
The nutria, a species of rodent /beaver were introduced into Louisiana during the 1930’s for their fur, but somehow many made it into the swamps where they love and thrive upon the plants. Apparently they really dig in and destroy the wetlands. Maybe the past administration could have ‘scape-goated’ the situation with Hurricane Katrina damage by blaming the problems with flooding on the nutria’s destruction of Louisiana wetlands, a perfectly ‘ratty’ excuse! But it really was the greedy Louisiana fur trappers and their eager beaver European, fur wearing consumers demanding pelts for coats, who caused the problem. When the muskrat ran low, the furriers imported nutria. These nutria have damaged thousands of acres

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by chomping away whole eco systems for meals,  they call these “eat outs”.  And somehow, they were introduced here in Florida too where they lounge about in drainage ditches and love golf courses, (it must be the greens – ha ha). The nutria are blamed for making sink holes by burrowing deeply into the sandy golf courses.

The British had a problem with nutria eating their marshy vegetation too, eventually they shot and trapped them and rid the British shores of this nuisance animal over a ten year period.
In Jefferson Parish Louisiana, they have been so abundant that the Jefferson Parrish swat team used nutria for sharp shooting target practice.  In Florida in the past, there have been nutria night shoots at golf courses infested by the rodents. They are not well liked. And don’t try and pet them either, many are infested with roundworm and you can catch the larva from them and get the ‘nutria itch’ – yuk!
Some zoos feed them to snakes. I guess gators must be happy having them close! These are a strange breed of animal! BUT, the idea light just went off!!!!   If I could have a couple sterile nutria, that might be the solution to my over weed choked lake. HEY!!!! Anyone up for trapping some nutria and then sterilizing them? I’ll bait the trap, you can sterilize!  If we get a lot of them, there are other options, the new “soylent green”! Or how about a restaurant chain: The Nutritious Nutria!  Can’t you see it? The cook-offs! How about this one and it IS legit!

Nutria Chili  from: http://www.nutria.com/site16.php

Recipe by: Chef Enola Prudhomme
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds nutria ground meat
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup tomato paste
4 cups beef stock (or water)
1 can red kidney beans (opt.)

In a heavy 5-quart pot on high heat, add oil and heat until very hot. Add nutria meat, and cook and stir 10 minutes. Add salt, red pepper, chili powder, onion and both bell peppers. Cook and stir 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and 4 cups stock. Cook 30 minutes; reduce heat to medium. Add red kidney beans; cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot!

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