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Out of Africa, Part 2

It was a warm day by Arizona standards — others might call it hot. The latter certainly seemed to be the opinion of this Lemur, a primate from Madagascar. A lazy day of summer — too hot to move about — just sitting and staring at a leaf on the ground.

Sorry about the chain link fence fabric getting in the way — no clear shots were possible.

Nearby a small aquatic pit contained a Caiman. Curiously, caimans inhabit Central and South America, not Africa. So what is this one doing in Out of Africa? Your guess is as good as mine.

Regardless of the temperature, the park was filled with butterflies — I assume all native to Arizona. This one appears to be a brush-footed butterfly (Nymphalidae) but identification of the exact species is way beyond my expertise.

I spoke with one of the workers and he told me that the bush with all the butterflies is called a Butterfly Bush — and they are planted all over the grounds. He went on to say that this was the most butterflies he had seen in ages.

Another butterfly — a Sulfur butterfly of some type, perhaps a Memosa Yellow. Because of the heat, the butterflies were very active — landing and feeding on nectar for only a few seconds before flying off to a new flower. It actually made photography quite challenging — just as I would find one in a good spot, it would fly off to another location.

This one appears to be a Variegated Fritillary butterfly. With their bright colors and delicate wings, butterflies always delight.

In one corner of the park, there is a prairie dog colony. They are native to North America, primarily west of the Mississippi. So what are they doing in Out of Africa? My guess was that they were here first.

The one above seemed to keep an eye on me but was not overly alarmed by my approach with a camera. Perhaps it was because of the guard watching out for predators. Since I did not fit that description, no one felt the need to sound the general alarm.

As a preview of the upcoming Giant Snake Show, one of the park employees was walking around with a star of that show draped around her torso.

The show itself, featured a large python. Volunteers from the audience were invited to come forward and handle the snake.

It was obvious which folks were scared to death of snakes — failing to make eye contact with the handlers, fearing they might be chosen to participate. Fortunately, a dozen or so patrons were willing to help hold the snake and parade it around the arena so everyone could get a good look.

Fortunately, no one was injured, including the python. Funny, this lad was the last to leave the arena — almost not noticing that he was alone with the snake — at which time he beat a hasty exit, stage right.

To be continued...


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com