In December 2015, Wildlife Biologist Mike Cardwell contacted Splash’s Critter Keeper to inform her of a 3-month old rattlesnake that was brought into Folsom Zoo, the rattlesnake had been discovered badly stuck in package tape adhesive inside a plastic jar containing hardware. After some hasty phone calls, one of the zoo’s volunteers met with Mike at Effie Yeaw Nature Center to deliver the baby snake.
Tweedle Dee III has been a Splash critter for most of his life. He joined the Critterville team as a tadpole three years ago and is now our resident Bull Frog. Tweedle Dee III will occasionally make the male bull frog call sound when he hears a loud noise or vibration, like the vacuum cleaner. He has a ravenous appetite and, when he sees anything move, he instinctively tries to eat it.
The Splash Center has several resident Pacific Chorus Frogs that were donated to Splash after being kept as pets for many years. The Pacific Chorus Frog is the only green or brown frog in our area with a dark “mask” across its eyes and “suction cups” on its toes. Often called the Pacific Treefrog, it uses these toe pads to help climb plants, trees, even walls and windows!
Mr. Toad was dropped off at an area pet shop after having been in captivity for many years. When wild animals are kept in captivity for so long, they often lose their ability to survive in the wild, so Mr. Toad found a permanent home at Splash. Mr. Toad is at least 6 years old and Western Toads in captivity have been known to live as long as 36 years!
The Spadefoots at Splash were captured when they were just tadpoles. They were very slow to metamorphose, or change, into adults. By the time they were young adults, their vernal pool was too dry for them to be released because they would not be able to dig down and bury themselves to survive the dry phase.
Toothless is our living example of what larval Tiger Salamanders would look like. They are actually not Tiger Salamanders at all, but a very similar species of salamander called the Axolotl. This type of salamander is originally from Mexico and is close to extinction in the wild.
Mr. Wizard was found on the tile floor of one of the restrooms at Splash. He was unable to move about on the slick floor and had become very weak and dehydrated. He responded very well to treatment and it was decided to let him permanently reside at Splash.
Sir Hiss-a-Lot was hatched sometime around 1993. When Sir Hiss was a baby snake, he was captured by a boy who didn’t know that you should never keep a wild animal as a pet. Nonetheless, the boy took excellent care of him for about 10 years. When the young man went off to college, his mom didn’t want to take care of Sir Hiss by herself.
LeRoy was just a baby when he was injured at a construction site by a large piece of heavy equipment called a backhoe. The construction workers took the time to rescue LeRoy and rushed him to a wildlife rehabilitator, who then took him to a veterinarian to determine the extent of his injuries. X-rays showed that LeRoy had a fractured spine, or in other words, a broken back.
Thumper was found near the river when he was about 4 weeks old. He was very tiny and could fit in the palm of your hand. He had been mauled by a dog or coyote and had multiple wounds on his back. Interestingly, it was obvious that he experienced some human contact because his wounds had been treated with an old-fashioned disinfectant called “gentian violet”, which leaves a very obvious purple stain.
Solitary Bees generally only collect pollen and nectar from a single species of plant (or from a few closely-related plants). Researchers have discovered that vernal pool Solitary Bees can hibernate underground for up to four years, waiting for the 2-3 weeks when their host plant is in bloom.