Common Core Standards

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Critters and Pets and Holly, Oh, My!

As the deadline for Holly Wild is looming ever closer, I've been sketching, scribbling, and drawing and redrawing on paper and in Photoshop to get this book put together. So before my hand fell off, I took a break from the routine yesterday to go to the Detroit zoo with my daughter, her husband and my granddaughter, Kyah, who was visiting them.

Even though we did the zoo early because of the heat, we still got hot and found ourselves scouting about for the next blue water fountain to cool off. But the best cooling came from visiting the Dinosauria exhibit in the shady woods. As we gladly stepped back through the mists of time (enjoyed by everyone from 1 to 91) we entered the forest of giant, ancient herps! We had a fun time moaning and roaring at the animated rubber dinosaurs and posing in front of them. It made me think of some giant herps introduced in the Holly Wild book.
Gigantic toads on Beaver Island the size of squirrels!
Willy-Nilly, a small rodent pet.
Beaver Island is much like a Jurassic Park--only not with herps the size of T-Rex--but amphibians and reptiles. Giant toads and larger than average snakes have been discovered there in the last few years.

Castor canadensis, a modern day beaver.
Speaking of giant critters, we got to see a Capybara at the zoo. They must've been hot too, because they hit the beach and dove in the water. After the Capybara, our modern day beaver is next in line as the largest rodent. However, our acient beaver relatives would dwarf them both. Those bad boys were once the size of our Michigan black bears and roamed the shores in search of soft foods, not trees. 

As we walked along we got to visit the Bush Dogs. They are tiny little scrappers that look like shaved wolverines with stubby black tails. These lil fellers had a well-traveled grassy trail in their enclosure and were running their route when we spied a small rabbit eating clover near a stump in the their pen.

We wondered how long the bunny had been in there and how long it would be until the bush dogs discovered the critter. If their sense of smell and hunger was like Hunter, the hound in Holly Wild, it wouldn't be too long. Yikes! Run bunny, run.
Queenie, a not so wild dog.
It also got me thinking about how poodles were once used as hunting dogs and are now the size of rabbits and get dressed up in sweaters.

Of course we did visit the Herp House at the zoo.
Inside, we ogled the variety of snakes, turtles, and lizards
--from big gators to a dwarf caiman.

So after three hours at the zoo, four Ibuprofen, two quarts of water and a good night's sleep, I'm back in the chair working on the book today--just to get ready to hit the road north tomorrow in search of BEARS!
And did I mention that I forgot my camera at my daughter's house and I will have to DRAW the bears and wildlife we see?! Better rest my hand up again.

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