Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – 2010

This is the third of three posts documenting three separate visits to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The purpose of these posts is twofold; first, these photos were taken before I had this blog and hence have not been properly documented for posterity, and second, perhaps one can see the progression of my photographic skills, such as they are. 

These photos were taken with the Nikon D200. If you want to see the full-size versions, they will be in THIS SmugMug Gallery. Visit the SmugMug gallery is to see all 77 photos in the series. For them not wanting to read my ramblings, there’s also a gallery at the bottom of the post.

First, let me dispell fears of me repeating what I did in the first two posts . . . I will not indulge in incredibly clever storylines where animals display both a facility with the spoken language and cognitive abilities clearly above their station. 

Second, there is no “second” . . . I just like starting sentences with “First”. 

Here we go . . . 

For most visitors, the Reticulated Giraffe’s feeding boardwalk is the main attraction of the zoo. You buy what look like wheat crackers and you feed them to the giraffes; the zoo gets a moderate revenue stream, the giraffes get as many snacks as they want, and people generally have a ball. By the way, that first photo above shows decorative additions to the place. Yes, I know you were fooled, but that’s not a real giraffe.   

By the way, if you are interested in a photo and want to see it larger, click on it. You will get a version roughly twice as large.

Anyway, the experience is definitely something new for the kids who visit. I doubt most of them have ever been close to large animals. I take that back; lots of people who live in and around Colorado Springs have horses. Still . . . a big exotic animal and you can feed it; what’s not to like?

Of course, it’s not just kids who have a ball . . . 

Another by the way . . . many animals will have a reddish cast to them. In fact, many structures have such cast. Blame the red dirt . . . and the mid-day sun providing a harsh light. 

None of the East African Crowned Cranes were close enough for a decent photo of their golden crown. 

Another popular display is the enclosure housing the Slender-tailed Meerkats

These guys used to merit a webcam, but checking the Zoo’s website I see they no longer have a camera on them. Probably why this guy is slumming it.

Of all my visits to the zoo, these are my first two decent photos of the Grant’s Zebras. The reason is they’re usually under a shelter from the sun and all you see is small portions of them, usually their rear ends. 

Again, notice the reddish tint of their coat. That’s from the red dirt. 

The Okapi is naturally reddish-brown . . . 

The Leadbeater’s (southern) Ground Hornbill seems unaffected by the tinted dust . . . perhaps because it matches it’s home in Australia. 

Having visited the zoo multiple times, one gets hard-pressed to shoot something new. Each subsequent visit has me stingier with the shots I take and me looking for interesting shots beyond just showing the animal.  

The African Elephants are one such animal . . . they are not all that active, mostly standing around, eating. 

These shots were somewhat interesting . . . although, I was hoping to see a water fight. 

Alas, no such luck. I do wonder if their skin is always this dry or if the dry Colorado climate exacerbates the looks of it. 

For a moment, I thought this guy would dive into the water . . . an uncharacteristic thing for elephants to do. Diving, that is. They like the water well enough, and even mud, but don’t seem to like jumping into anything. Wisely, if they can’t feel their feet touching something solid, they don’t venture forward. 

This guy also had a case of dried skin. 

Although it seemed more of a design feature than a condition. Speaking of design . . . 

The American Alligator looks friendly, but looks can be deceiving. 

Really, a good rule is to avoid anything that shows you teeth and sports claws. 

Now, this next thing has claws, but the Red-necked Wallaby is unlikely to see you as a quick meal. 

I think this next one is a photo of a juvenile Wallaby.

This next cuddly thing is probably not safe to approach. The Snow Leopard is usually sleeping when I visit, and this time was no exception. 

On the other hand, you could probably take on Palla’s Cat and fare OK; they are puffed up, making them appear larger than they are. Still, if you are going up against one, you better have good reflexes. 

These next guys also look cuddly and are often sold as stuffed toys to kids. Coincidentally, Grizzly Bears would likely find kids tasty morsels. 

Like for many of the big animals, the enclosures are deep pits and not well-lit. While your eyes adjust pretty well, shooting at high ISO makes these photos grainy. Just an FIY in case anyone heads over to SmugMug to see the large originals. 

Mountain Lions look awesome, but they too see us humans as food. We used to live in their range but I’ve never seen one in the wild. These are four cubs that were rescued when their mother was killed. They would not likely survive in the wild. I say four and I show four photos, but they are all of the same cat, including one photo that is my absolute favorite Puma photo. 

The Moose was in very harsh lighting conditions and this is the best I could do. 

A couple of ducks . . . 

The zoo has a lot of peacocks around . . . specifically, the Indian Peafowl (Peacock). I’ll only show a couple of shots, but there are more in the gallery. 

The Sarus Crane looks a tad “different” . . .

. . . and has potential. 

What do I mean by “potential”?

Is there any question as to what happened to dinosaurs? By the way . . . THIS

This next cutie . . . 

. . . is not identified in the zoo’s list of reptiles, but if I were to make a wild guess, it would be a young Komodo Dragon

These next critters are Golden Lion Tamarins. Whenever I’ve been there, they’re hanging around poorly lit areas. I think this was taken with a flash and at a very high ISO, hence the poor quality . . . 

These next handsome fellers are Naked Mole Rats. Their display is basically dark with a small red light giving you a glimpse of their beauty. Again, these were shot at a high ISO, no flash, and pushed in post-processing. 

They are interesting animals . . . read more about them HERE.

On this visit, I failed to get a decent photo of the Sumatran Orangutan but they make an appearance in my two previous posts. However, I did get a photo of a hand . . . 

. . . and of a youngster trying to put on a t-shirt (I wish I’d had the capability to capture video).

This sage-looking fellow is a Lion-tailed Macaque.

Now, this next shot is of a Siamang Gibbon . . . it’s a little weird looking at something with what are, essentially, four hands. Holding that carrot with the foot gives the scene of checking out the bottom of the other foot a surreal look. 

Let me show you a Hippopotamus yawning . . . 

Hippos are very territorial . . . here’s how one looks when coming to tell you to get off his lawn . . . 

This next animal is a Rocky Mountains Goat . . . 

Remember I mentioned the red rock giving a reddish cast to everything? Well, it kind of makes this goat look like it’s showing you its insides . . . 

Not all that attractive, really . . . 

And that concludes this post. Here’s the gallery of all the photos for them who prefer to just look at the gallery. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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