I have been lucky enough to receive some lovely thank you notes in the last few months, from the students at both St. Catherine Laboure and Kipp Inspire Academy.
Many of the notes included some wonderful drawings, which I will be sure to try and get up on the blog as soon as possible.
Many also included some rather fun questions about the book, the Zoo and “Herbie” the visiting snake. Sooooo….I have decided to answer them here!
Here we go!
Q: Was Xavier a boy or a girl?
A: Xavier was a boy!
Q: Does a panda have good teeth?
A: Of course! A panda has perfectly good teeth! In fact, since pandas eat bamboo, a really, tough plant, strong teeth and jaws are crucial for this animal’s survival. Pandas have large, flat molars used for crushing food and a few sharp incisors which they use to bite through tough bamboo stalks. Pandas have 42 teeth! Chomp!
Q: How do you feed dangerous animals?
A: Zookeepers feed dangerous animals by “shifting” them. Most zoo animals have two enclosures. The one that you see on exhibit and then another one called a “holding” area. A shift door divides these areas. An animal can be in the holding while a Zookeeper safely cleans or puts food into the exhibit area. Then, when all done, the door opens up and the animal can go out to eat!
Q: Are the animals mean sometimes?
A: Animals that are dangerous are not necessarily “mean.” Often, animals act on instinct. Sometimes that instinct is to hunt, kill or defend young or territories. And so animals can act aggressively. But this does not mean that they are being mean. It just means that they are simply acting on their instincts. That being said, just like people, on certain days animals can sometimes be a little bit grumpy.
Q: When is Bubbles’ birthday?
A: Bubbles will be 10 on May 9
Q: Was Bubbles born in India?
A: The character Bubbles in the story was born in India, but our real Bubbles here at the Zoo was born in the USA.
Q: How long has she been around?
A: She will be 10 this May
Q: Is she dead?
A: Nope! Bubbles is alive and well! You can visit her in the Children’s Zoo.
Q: Did she have a blast?
A: Of course! We try to make everyday a blast for Bubbles!
Q: Is it fun to give Bubbles enrichment?
A: Yes it is. Bubbles’ favorite enrichment is to eat special foods or go on a walk.
Q: Why do snakes eat gross things?
A: Snakes like to eat rats and mice. Gross to us, but not to them! In fact, snakes are really important for controlling rodent populations. Probably, mac n’ cheese or chocolate would seem really gross to a snake!
Q: What is Bubbles’ favorite food?
A: Bubbles loves grain, hay, bamboo, pumpkin and sweet potatoes!
Q: Was Bubbles sad when Xavier died?
A: Yes, she was sad, but she is enjoying living next door to the burros, Patches and Nina right now.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the letters.
Many kids wrote about how much they liked seeing Herbie:
“I used to fear snakes, but now I like them.”
“The snake you brought helped me not be afraid of snakes."
"I really liked it because you let us keep a snake skin. I also like the word enrichment.”
Others commented on how much they liked Bubbles:
“Bubbles I loved your skin and your horns. I love you Bubbles.”
“She is a good zebu."
"Bubbles was very pretty.”
“I love Bubbles and that is a huge promise!"
"When I saw her, Bubbles was very active.”
Some thought that riding the bus was the best. And even wanted me to join them:
“Come on the bus with us!”
“The bus was a disaster!”
And one of my favorites…
“I hope you had a good time, because I did!"
I certainly did! Thank you St. Catherine’s and Kipp for the lovely visits and letters!