Snow Fun

I had a blast at Mill Mountain Zoo last weekend taking photos of the animals in the snow. Some of the zoo’s animals are tropical and are moved to indoor holding areas during the winter, but many of our animals flourish in the cold snowy weather. Roanoke had almost two feet of snow fall over two days and the animals had a blast playing and romping in the white fluff.

Wolverine, Bo, thoroughly enjoyed romping in the snow, but he’s so fast I can’t get a decent photo of him. This is about the best I could get. It was really fun watching him play that day! Wolverines often live in cold snowy regions and are very used to icy snowy conditions, so Bo was right at home.

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The zoo’s African Pygmy goats may not originate from areas that receive much snow, but these creatures have adapted well and didn’t let it stop them from grabbing some lunch.

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Deagan Reid, the zoo’s male red panda, happened to be resting when I visited. He looked very comfortable in his hammock and didn’t mind at all that it still had some snow on it. That thick fur keeps these guys nice and cozy in the cold weather. Deagan spends pretty much all of his time outdoors even though he always has access to an indoor heated bunker. Neither rain, nor snow, nor frigid weather keeps him from spending time outdoors.

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After resting a bit, he got up to scent mark his territory. I don’t know if he was smelling his own scent in this shot or if he was smelling female Nova’s scent.

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I wish I had gotten video of our cinereous vultures hopping through the snow, but I chose to watch them rather than film. It was quite comical. I did take some still shots of both female Khana and male Ivan looking majestic on their perches.

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Look at the amazing texture of their feathers. I love the pattern they make by overlapping each other. I think these vultures are stunningly beautiful.

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I couldn’t help but snap a ton of photos of Jaden, the Eurasian Lynx. She was practically modeling.

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See all that long belly fur and those big paws? That fur keeps her warm during cold weather and those paws act as snowshoes to keep her from falling down through the snow as she walks. By staying on top of the snow, she’ll expend less energy. It amazes me how animals are developed to live in their climates.

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Look at those eyes! They are so captivating!

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Fishing Cat Moliah seemed happy to stay out of the snow and in her bed.

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Again, I’m fascinated with the eyes!

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Red wolf Colt was surveying his territory when I snapped these photos.

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He seemed a little confused by my presence, but went on about his business despite my playing “paparazzi.”

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These wolves are majestic, but I think he looks especially striking against the snowy background.

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Ohhhh Nina cougar always thrills me. This is what she was doing when I first approached. She LOVES to try and stalk you.

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Once she stalked me for a while, she went to look and see what the Cinereous Vultures were up to next door.

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Her eyes are still a beautiful blue even though they usually turn green or yellow by around age two or three, and I believe Nina was born in 2005.

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This is one of our gray-phase screech owls who lost an eye from being hit by a car. Birds fluff up during cold weather to create air pockets between their feathers which helps to insulate them and keep them warm. Fascinating stuff, huh?

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And last, but certainly not least, beautiful Bali snow leopard. I couldn’t leave out the kings and queens of the snow!

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Male, Bali, and female, China, thoroughly enjoyed playing in the snow. Finally, Bali needed a break.

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He went to relax on his rock.

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And settled in for a nap after a long day of fun.

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Despite the cold, I could have stood there all day gazing into those eyes.

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I eventually had to go home, but I left with a big smile. It always brightens my spirits to spend time with these amazing animals!

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