An Afternoon of Red, White and Blue Zoo Animals!

After the Zoo Animals Live program ended in June, Jennifer Grammer (TSCPL) and Rachael Rost (Topeka Zoo) thought of a short list of red, white and blue animals we could feature during today’s pre-July 4th Zoo Animals program.  What fun!

Rachael kicked it off with three Blue Death Feigning Beetles, herbivores that reside in the desert environment of the Southwestern U.S.  They are actually black, but secrete a blue waxy substance that serves as a sunscreen.  Their behavior includes rolling over and “playing dead” as a defense against predators.

Mexican Redknee TarantulaNext we were introduced to the beautifully calm and poised Mexican Redknee Tarantula and an explanation of exoskeletons, which was followed by the White‘s Tree Frog and a discussion of their magnificent toe pads.

Everyone got close-up views of Brian the Blue-tongued Skink who, along with today’s other featuredBlue-tongued Skink animals, lives at the Zoo.  He is 21 years old and his residence in the wild would be Australia.  Did you know there are 1,500 species of skinks in the world?

Finally, we got to touch another reptile, the huge Red-tailed Boa named Patrick, who we discovered is not slimy.  Rachael explained that if he lived in the wild he would hunt at night and grow up to 13 ft. long.

Thanks Rachael for another terrific afternoon!  Mark your calendars for the next Zoo Animals Live at 4:00 p.m. on August 7th!

photos by Kim Sain

Rachael and Red-tailed Boa






Kimberly Sain

As a Public Services Specialist, in addition to Reference work I promote the Travel, Pets, and Lawn & Garden Neighborhoods, coordinate nature-themed programs for adults and families, and serve on the Big Read planning committee. My interests include exploring new travel destinations, National Parks, Alaska, hiking trails in Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas, birding, Sandhill crane migration, Monarch waystations, Kansas native plants, citizen science activities, volunteer work as a certified Kansas Master Naturalist, and reading essays about the natural environment. Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country is my all-time favorite novel.