#73: Getting Cold Feet

Me hosing guano (penguin poop) off an island

With our fur seals temporarily at the New York Aquarium, many of the marine mammal trainers are helping out in other areas of the Aquarium in addition to our normal duties taking care of the harbor seals. Patty and I are being trained to work in the penguin exhibit. Two days a week we squeeze ourselves into attractive wetsuits (mine makes me look like a giant bumblebee ... neon yellow and black. Yowzahs.) and spend a few hours in the 55 degree water with the birds.

It's a completely different perspective being eye to eye with them. In addition to feeding them (the fun part), we spend the rest of the time cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more. They're messy birds (projectile poop!) and the entire exhibit gets scrubbed and disinfected every day. We use a veterinary disinfectant that is safe around the birds. It's mixed with water and then scrubbed on the islands. So you might say we like our disinfectant stirred and on the rocks. So far our challenges include learning the 80+ birds' names, and preventing our feet from going numb in the cold water. I think we'll have better luck with the first one.


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