Thursday, November 8, 2007

Swamp Fest!

Last weekend was Swampfest at the Audubon Zoo about a mile from us in New Orleans. Swampfest is a local festival where live Cajun and Zydeco music is played in the zoo and Creole and Cajun food is available. The Zoo's special Louisiana Swamps exhibit was full of volunteers telling us all about the local wildlife. Colin and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time wandering the zoo while listening to music in beautiful 75 degree weather. We got to see some pretty awesome animals. Here are some highlights:

Let sleeping anteaters lie. Check out the claw over nose pose.

The Rhinoceros Hornbill. This was a new one for me, and its pretty impressive, as you can tell.

From the Lousiana Swamp exibit:

Roseate Spoonbill. Found in Mangrove Swamps and brackish water. Like the Flamingo it acquires its pink color from its diet, crustaceans full of red algae.

No, its not made of plastic, it is an actual leucistic white alligator. (The difference between this and albinism is the fact that these guys have pigmented eyes). All of the worlds leucistic alligators have been found in swampland in Louisiana or South Carolina. (I believe only 16 are known to currently be alive)

Here is Colin petting a baby Nutria. Nutria are not native to Louisiana, but were introduced in the 1930's for fur coats. Apparently they are real pests, but I think the babies are adorable.


Blogger Jennifer said...


And the nutria is cute, too. ;-)

November 8, 2007 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger Mame said...

Dad says that the nutria was introduced to control the water hyacinth population. Water hyacinths were introduced as ornamental plants, but took over. Then the nutria population got a bit out of hand (but was kept down thanks to some hungry hungry humans).

Anyway, this is something I've heard since I was a little tyke. Is there any truth to this rural legend?

November 8, 2007 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Dean W. Armstrong said...

Awww how cute! Does Colin still have motor control over his hand?

November 8, 2007 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger colin said...


Yes, I still have motor control of my hand.


Water hyacinths are invasive. Nutria eat water hyacinths. The Lousiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries claims that they were introduced into Louisiana for their fur. I read somewhere (maybe Wikipdeia?) that it was the McIlhenny family (of Tobasco fame) that brought them here. They escaped the fur farms, and became really invasive when nutria fur fell out of fashion. The Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries has a control program in which the state will pay (licsenced) hunters per head for killing nutria.

People also eat them, though Nora and I have been so far unable to find anywhere we can purchase nutria meat.

November 10, 2007 at 11:33 PM  

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