Monday, March 10, 2014

Otter Birthday Cards

At our otter celebration, visitors were given the opportunity to make birthday cards for the otters.
We hung the cards at the otter exhibit for two days.  These were two of my favorites.

Otters love their fishy birthday cakes!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Otter Celebration Pictures

Otters and visitors had a great time at our Otter Celebration on Saturday.
Our thanks to everyone that helped to make it a success!  

Here are some photos, courtesy of Anne Malarich.

Our first cake was paper mache with fish in the candles.

We had a huge tide on Saturday, and the otters seemed to have fun swimming over areas that are normally dry.  We have seven otters total, and they are managed in two groups.  We rotated the groups onto a different exhibit in the middle of the day.  All the presents and cakes were eventually dragged into the water.

Many of our otters were born in March, and this is a very common time for our wild otters to have pups as well.  It is also breeding season.  Otters sometimes take a full 365 days to have their babies!  Fortunately for them, they are not actually pregnant the whole time.  This process is called delayed implantation.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Meet Caesar

Please welcome the newest member of our Brookgreen family!

Caesar is a male tunis sheep, and he was born on February 21, 2014.  
He was named by our large animal veterinarian.

His mother, Mole, keeps a very close eye on her baby.  She is not aggressive, but puts herself between zookeepers and Caesar, and calls for him when we need to pick him up.

Caesar spends most of his time nursing and sleeping, but he loves to jump around (for no apparent reason), and we recently gave him some hay bales for exercise.

Caesar is easily on view at our Plantation Barn.  Until he is a little older, Caesar will be in the sheep stall with his mother.  This arrangement also gives Mole a rest from the group and the male sheep, Ramsey.  The young females in the group are showing a lot of interest in the new baby through the fencing.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Otter Celebration

The zoo is having a party! 
 Please join us for our third annual Otter Celebration on Saturday, March1, 2014.  All parts of the event are free with garden admission.  You will receive an invitation and schedule at the Admissions Plaza, but you do not need the invitation to participate.  We just want to officially invite you to the party!  

Otters demolishing their jello cake in 2013.  Their first cake will be paper mache this year.

Schedule of Events

10:00 AM and 12:00 PM - Storytime.  A different story will be read at each session.
Shelter at the American Sculpture Center, near the Plantation Barn

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM - Kid's Craft Tables & Wetlands Conservation Area
Tables near the Small Raptor Aviaries - great crafts to take home and a fun video!

  10:00 AM to 3:00 PM - Discovery Cart at Alligator Exhibit
See and touch animal bones, furs, feathers, and more.

10:30 AM and 2:00 PM - Otter Party at Otter Exhibits
We manage two groups of otters, so each party will have similar presents for the otters.

10:30 AM to 2:30 PM - Otter Video shown continuously except during Storytime
Shelter at the American Sculpture Center, near the Plantation Barn

1:00 PM - Mother Nature Cafe Tour meets at Plantation Barn
This normal tour gives great information about all our animals and feeds some of them.

2:30 PM - Meet the Animals at the Lowcountry Center Program Shed
This normal program offers an up-close look at some of South Carolina's other great animals. 

Otters love the rain (even when we do not), so our event is rain or shine.  The craft area will move to the Storytime shelter if needed.  Please join us as we celebrate otters and our very important wetlands.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day

Brookgreen Gardens had some unusual weather this week.  The roads and paths are very icy, and we even saw some snow this morning!  Unfortunately, we were closed to visitors yesterday and today, but things will warm up tomorrow.

When we have severe weather of any kind, the zookeepers have a decision to make.  Most of our animals like to eat every day!  We have to balance the safety of our staff with the needs of our animals.  For this winter weather, the zookeepers that lived closest to Brookgreen came in to get everything done.  It gives us an appreciation for our northern coworkers!

 Turkey vultures

Fortunately, we have only South Carolina native animals in our collection.  It does get cold here, and they are well adapted for the weather with a little help from us.  Other zoos have to worry about keeping African and tropical species happy in the winter!

The animal sculptures had a nice layer of ice on them.


The zoo birds just tolerate the weather, but the otters have a great time playing in the snow and ice.

In January and February, Brookgreen is a fantastic place for birdwatching.  For those of you that get a little overexcited when you see a cedar waxwing, I included my bird list from today:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Robin - saw over 150 yesterday
Red-winged Blackbirds - about 50
Cedar Waxwing
Dark-eyed Junco
Blue Jay
American Crow
Mourning Dove
Great Egret
Lots of Eastern Bluebirds and Carolina Chickadees around, but not today!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

FrogWatch USA

There have probably been many times when you’ve been sitting on your back porch at night, listening to all of the sounds emanating from the wild.  There’s a good chance you don’t know what a lot of those noises are. Many of them are from a variety of nocturnal animals, including different species of birds, mammals, and insects. In addition to those animals, many frogs and toads are vocal during the night hours.

Now is a great opportunity to learn the calls of these amphibians and become a citizen scientist with the Brookgreen Gardens chapter of FrogWatch USA. Citizen science is a collaboration between scientists and volunteers to expand the collection of scientific data that might not otherwise be possible. The data collected by volunteers is used to help develop practical conservation methods for frogs and toads. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), about 1/3 of amphibian species are threatened with extinction, so the more data we can collect, the better!

FrogWatch USA gives you an opportunity to learn the calls of the many species of frogs and toads of South Carolina, and an opportunity to spend more time outside learning about the natural world with your friends and family. After you complete training, you may register a wetland site of your choosing, and then you go out at night for a monitoring session which only takes 5 minutes. You can do a monitoring session as frequently as you like.

Our first training session of the season is on February 27, 2014 at the Welcome Center's Frye Classroom.  The session begins at 10:30 am and lasts about 1.5 hours.  Please RSVP to Terry Belanger by calling (843) 235-6016.

Additional Training Options (please RSVP as above):
April 5th at 10:30 am in the Lowcountry Center Auditorium
May 8th at 12:00 pm in the Lowcountry Center Auditorium

For more information about FrogWatch USA (and amphibian conservation), you can visit

Holiday Pictures

Nights of a Thousand Candles and our New Year's Eve event were beautiful this year.
Here are some pictures of the gardens.