Once I’m satisfied that all of the birds are okay, the next stop in my morning routine is the Curiosity Center to check on the herps. I make sure their heat pads are working and heat bulbs are shining. But most importantly, I look in each terrarium to make sure no one escaped overnight. Finding the animals can be tricky when they are are designed for camouflage. I always expect to find Emory the rat snake curled up under her log, but am occasionally surprised when my eyes finally spot her stretched out over the natural branch, hiding in plain sight.
The other critters are even better at hiding. Digger the hognose snake often coils deep inside her cave, leaving just a glimpse of her scales visible through the opening. My movement awakens Scuba the salamander next door, who bursts out from under the damp soil hoping for a worm or two. His meal would have to wait, but I send down a fine mist to rehydrate the top layer of bedding and keep Scuba’s skin from drying out. Finally assured that all of the living collections made it through the night, I am able to focus on the day’s tasks ahead of me.