It's rare to get up close and personal with the animals at the zoo, but Eye Opener's Kevin Roth got the chance to spend some one-on-one time with some pretty awesome animal friends. Lead Outreach Specialist at the Dallas Zoo, Robin Ryan introduced us to a young African Dwarf Crocodile and a couple of feisty Caribbean Flamingos.
Robin gave us a little insight on one African Dwarf Crocodile named Gimli, after a Dwarf in Lord of The Rings. Gimli, along with the other Dwarf Crocodiles, are the smallest crocs in the world. Although he's just over a year old, when he gets of age, he's only going to be about 5-6 feet long. He's got awesome hard protective scales because his prey will fight back with teeth and claws and hooves. He also needs protection from the largest natural predator: humans. It sad to say, but Dwarf Crocodiles are the number one crocodile species in decline in the world right now because so many people are hunting them for food. Because of this, the Dallas Zoo is making sure to get Gimli out and about to spread the word about crocodile conservation and show how cute crocodiles can be.
Speaking of showing off, the Dallas Zoo has four Caribbean Flamingos that you can't help but notice. They've got Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahama ("Kokomo" by the Beach Boys, anyone?). Kevin got to meet two of these wonderful flamingos: Aruba and Bermuda. Everyone knows Flamingos get their beautiful pink color from eating all that shrimp, right? That's not entirely the case. Robin tells us that the Caribbean Flamingos are pink because of their diet, but it's because they eat an algae that has a special vitamin found in sweet potatoes and carrot. While, that same vitamin is present in shrimp, the flamingos at the Dallas Zoo aren't fed any shrimp.
Also, if you ever wanted to know why flamingos stand on one leg, it's so they can get away from predators faster. They don't have much of a defense, so having one leg up will help them be ready to fly at a moments notice.
For more on these amazing animals, be sure to check out the Dallas Zoo.