is to have EVERYTHING,
NOT the need to have EVERYTHING.
02.19.2020-Wednesday- Giraffe Ranch
We awoke this morning with great optimism, our first filed trip of the 2020 Travel Year. The weatherman appears to be on our side, low humidity and mid to high eighties. We will visit the Giraffe Ranch which is owned and managed by Les Salisbury and wife Elena Sheppa.
Carla is standing in front of the Ostriches not just for looks. It goes without saying they are tall, they are! Almost six-feet or more. Shown above are Les and Elena, the Zoo-Keepers, owners, guides and, I’m sure, “fill-in when needed staff” as well. Carla and I know that position very well from experience.
This location is the registration office and gift store. Above you see the many expedition packages you can opt for. A family of four just ahead of us are writing a check for over fifteen-hundred dollars opting for an experience package much more expansive than what were opting for.
(Pantagonian Cavies) (Lemur pops, I think)
You’ll have to basically enjoy the pictures since there was no way I could record all the information that was imparted to us this day. Below is a family of rodents. Pantagonian cavies, Actually they are the fifth largest (in size) of all the rodents in the world. Did you know that a rabbit is a rodent…It IS!
There are many turtles on this ranch. These two will be joined by a third at the end of our trip. I’ll let you use your imagination as to what you think they might be doing. It’s Florida. Just wouldn’t be fair not to have a family of alligators on the ranch.
We will enjoy this forty-acres ranch in the comfort of the Safari-Jeep, actually I think it was a Chevy. It may not look like it but it was very comfortable. We were given behavior instructions in the beginning and the group were excellent in following these safety instructions throughout the trip. Carla examines the “bony” horns as our guides and owners give us a short history on the biophysical formation of these structures.
The Camel Expedition. This, I think, might be one of the more expensive day-trips. It’s not shown in this photo but the owner-guide will give this tour on his Segway. Given the two options I’d probably opt for the Segway as opposed to a camel as well. As you can see in the picture below many of the animals are permitted to intermingle all over the ranch. The objective of the ranch is to provide, as much as possible, an environment similar to what the animals would be enjoying in a jungle.
Above is a portable chicken-coop. Up to two-dozen chickens will inhabit this domicile for 3-4-days then a worker will relocate it to another location which will continually give the chickens a clean and grassy home. I wish my brother Rich was reading my blog since I’m sure he’d be interested in this product.This is a far-away shot of possibly one-third of the cages and caged-walkways located on the farm. Even those animals not permitted to wander over the farm in general are given rambling enclosed cages to exercise as much a possible.
This is a far-away shot of the Registration building and covered open visitors gathering place. These are the guys we came to visit; Giraffes! They are permitted to wander freely over a large portion of this ranch but have been passively trained to understand that when the Safari-Jeep appears it means it’s feeding time and time to mix with the visitors. Even I got into the act and tried my hand at feeding these awesome creatures.
As you can tell from the pictures they are not shy. They are surprisingly tame and friendly. Here you see Carla feeding just one of many that came begging for treats. Our guide, Elena, encourages us to get involved and feed as many as possible. She even turned the vehicle around to allow those on the other side to lend a hand as well. Carla just proof-read the blog and liked it but insisted it was light on Giraffe pictures, so I added a couple more. Sadly this has to be a distance shot. They look like deer but they’re not. In particular please notice the one that is third from the start; just a baby!
(Blackbucks, I think)
The baby, once again. We’re told that this species have a single mind-set; to follow their leader which is always a female-maybe they know something we don’t! Zebras! And others. If I recall correctly we were told that the Zebra to the left is still a youngster. Its’ stripes will develop after a while. A youngster asked if flies bother the Zebras? I never gave it thought, of course they must! But NO, they don’t! The zookeepers tell us the the stripes of the zebras confuse the flies, so as a result, they just keep picking on the horses. The ranch has no horses but we did notice that flies have no qualms about annoying rhinos.
Enjoy the pictures since I do not remember who these critters are.
The ranch originally was a “dry”ranch with no lakes or small bodies of water to tap into. To acquire water they were forced to drill down over seventy feet to find the water they needed for the animals. Then a couple of years ago they had to endure a three-hurricane season. As a result they lost many of their big oak trees that could not survive the forty-eight inches of ground water the flooded the ranch. An oak tree shows the water line on one of the many trees that survived the ordeal. A small lake was the by-product of these storms and the lake, as you saw in a previous picture, which continues to retain a generous amount of water for all. Below is the Rhino. He and his kind are doomed for extinction possibly in our children’s lifetime. Zookeepers all over the world are trying to breed and grow the heard in captivity but it’s a slow and expensive process.
The zookeepers here have been desperately looking to do the same, however. Their rhino is experiencing a dermatitis as a result of inbreeding. This affliction is why they have not been given the opportunity to help the cause. Scientist feel their rhino is not a good candidate for breeding. Once again, just enjoy the pics. If you know what these animals are please comment and I’ll edit the blog with your information.
Another shot of the extensive caged and enclosed walkway system this ranch has provided for their inhabitants.
Our first and most enjoyable trip of this Twenty-Twenty Travel season. Would we recommend this trip…absolutely! This is not one of those venues that are in your face every time you turn around. This is a mom/pop endeavor they have been working at for twenty-one years. Previously Les managed a large zoo for 21-years, so experience abounds. Elena, his wife, is equally credentialed. I have just tried to acquire more information on the Giraffe Ranch through Facebook but failed. We both really enjoyed this experience and will edit this blog as more information becomes available.
It’s been years since I’ve done this but for more information
on this beautiful experience go to: CLICK- Link to Giraffe Ranch