Saturday, February 11, 2012

What do they feed the crocodile?

My mother gave us a membership to the Oregon Zoo for Christmas this year. We have been three times already, often on a Saturday because that's our shared day off. This morning we went early to catch the feeding of the African Slender-Nosed Crocodiles.

I've been looking forward to it all week. Anthony and I would ask each other what it might be that they fed the crocodiles. Spaghetti and meatballs? Children who tap on the glass of the primate exhibits?

Saturday morning crocodile feeding

It turns out they are quite sensibly fed bits and pieces of rather large fish, served on the end of a very, very long stick with a little grabby hand on the end.

Evidently it takes at least two people. One to feed and one to stand at the ready with what looked like a mop handle ready to poke the crocodile in a special place just at the base of his skull just in case the crocodile got greedy.

I was very delighted to see that the bucket they use to keep the fish in is EXACTLY the same brand and color bucket that I use to cart around my cleaning supplies when I clean houses.

I made lots of quick on-site sketches of the beast as it waited, then drew this value study that I hope to turn into a painting here in the coming week or so. I find crocodiles (especially big ones) creepy on a deep, primal level. Something about that tail I think. I hadn't noticed before, but the tail spikes converge at a point and then the tail becomes flat like a rudder (the better to chase you with my dear), and so it folds over in an unnerving way.