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Zoo News: New snakes and a birthday for Mrs. B
Max the Grizzly Bear is kicking back
zoo_courtesy max the bear.jpg
Max the Grizzly Bear is enjoying some time apart from the kids at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. The three younger grizzlies have been asserting their dominance so Max is spending more time in his cave. He still gets plenty of TLC. Zookeeper Ashley Burdick took this photo.

The Great Bend Brit Spaugh will celebrate Mrs. B’s 40th birthday on July 4, 2019. The celebration of the zoo’s Bald Eagle will run from 9 a.m. to noon with zookeeper chats every hour.

Zookeeper Ashley Burdick suggests visitors swing by the “Herp House” to see two new snakes. Momoa is a Red-tail Boa who was a pet before being surrendered to the zoo. If you’re considering a snake purchase, Burdick warns, “Red-tail Boas are extremely common in the pet trade but people often don’t realize how large they get and their specialized care requirements. He may look small now but he will eventually grow to be closer to 7 or 8 feet long.”

Momoa was bred as a special color morph so he looks a bit different than a traditional boa. He can be found in his newly renovated enclosure next to the tortoises. 

“Around the corner you’ll find our new Jamaican Boa,” Burdick said. “He was sent to us as part of his Species Survival Program (SSP). These programs were made for species who are threatened with extinction in the wild and their last chance at survival is through captive breeding programs.” Right now the Great Bend zoo is just housing this species but the zoo has a female in the Ed Shed that will soon be moving to take part in the breeding portion of the SSP.

Zoo camp

The zoo staff and Great Bend Recreation Commission will offer a four-day Zoo Camp for kids 6-12 years old July 15-18. From 8 a.m. to noon daily, campers will explore the lives, adaptations, habitats and conservation of animals around the world. Each session will include exciting hands-on activities, lessons, craft projects and walks through the zoo. Cost is $20. For more information visit the Great Bend Rec office at 1214 Stone St., call 793-3755, ext. 110, or visit the GBRC website

Max is kicking back

Max the Grizzly Bear hasn’t been hanging out with “the kids” much. In early May, the three younger bears started an altercation with him and he ended up getting injured. He has since made a full recovery but he’s staying in the off-exhibit area for the time being.

“The younger grizzly bears are reaching maturity and their natural behavior is to establish dominance. Younger, more agile males edge out older males and our group of animals are no different than their wild counterparts,” Burdick said. Max is believed to be in his mid-30s. Grizzly bears typically live 20-30 years in the wild and around 40 years under human care. Max has arthritis so it is harder for him to get around but he is under close veterinary supervision and receives pain treatment and supplements to help with this.

He typically spends much of his day sleeping in the cave, so the decrease in space has not had a negative effect on him. He also has two pools and access to the inside building with a fan where it is much cooler and he can nap in peace and quiet. He also still receives toys and lots of extra treats.