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‘Twas the day before Zoo-mas

Hooray holiday season! I wanted to have a little extra fun with my Keeper Stories blog this time around and theme it to something so many people know very well, which is the story “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Christmas is my favorite holiday, and this story is one of my mom’s favorite things about the holiday season (and since she always reads my blogs, I knew she would REALLY enjoy this one!) I had a lot of fun reconfiguring the classic story into one that fits in well with the Zoo, and more specifically our Ambassador Animal Department, since this is the department I work in! I hope you enjoy reading this fun story as much as I had creating it.

‘Twas the day before Christmas when all through the Zoo
Not a creature was stirring, not even a milky eagle owl named Rwe.
The target poles were placed in their drawer with care,
While the chinchillas rolled in dust to clean their hair.

The tortoises were nestled all snug in their burrows
While care staff made sure our records were thorough.
And Christina in her khakis tried not to make a peep
As the animals settled down for a nice winter’s sleep.

When out in the mews Becky heard a loud clatter,
Turns out Tahoe the Harris hawk was the source of the chatter
Then away to Wieland we flew like a flash,
Tore open the fridge and enjoyed our lunch stash!

The sun shone high on this crisp winter day
Which was perfect for alpacas rolling around in their hay.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But goats and sheep and pigs to spread some holiday cheer.

With Ashley and Megan, so lively and quick,
It was time to clean with shovels and broomsticks.
Bringing goats and sheep inside could be quite a game,
So they whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Jasmine! Now Nessie!
Now, Benson and Sheldon!
On, Wembley! On, Franklin!
On, Bucky and Calvin!
To the night yard!
To the inside stalls!
Now come inside, come inside!
Come inside all!”

As dry leaves that before from trees did fall
Care staff used as bedding for all.
Opossums would curl the leaves in their tails
Right after Deidre and Jenny trimmed the girls’ nails.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard a small crunch
Of Larry the grey parrot eating his lunch.
Justin moved through the building at a brisk walk,
When Sydney the cockatoo let out a loud squawk.

We were dressed in our navy and khakis and sneakers,
And played our holiday music loudly through speakers.
A bundle of treats Lyndsay placed in her pocket,
And she turned on twinkling lights for enrichment into a socket.

He moved through his home with nails nice and long
Cocoa sloth didn’t mind if we sang him a Christmas song.
He tore through a box full of dinner with such ease
Abby the northern ground hornbill was easy to please.

With a hard shell to cover their body and back
Gopher tortoises sat in the open to enjoy a blueberry snack.
The leaves of lettuce they held in their teeth
The rabbits encircled their bowl of dinner like a wreath.
A few nice windows for guests to see
Lilo the Patagonian mara sitting under her tree.

As the day’s end drew to a chilly close,
McKenzie said goodnight to the red-tailed hawk Rose.
Diets were prepared and fed out just right
So nocturnal mammals could forage at night!

I watched Slash the pine snake slither under the soil
As the ball pythons curled their bodies into a perfect coil.
And finally care staff checked habitat locks
So we could go home and put on fuzzy socks.

We sprang to our cars, to our team we said goodnight,
And away we all drove on the last legs of sunlight.
But we heard James exclaim, as he too drove out of sight,

“Happy Zoo-mas to all, and to all a good night!”

Emily B.
Keeper II, Ambassador Animals

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl