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Jessi answers your questions! Animals' favorite foods, favorite quotes, switching birds from seeds to produce, Caitlin answers, and Raven jesses included.

*Snake warning

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Hey guys! It's been a while since we've answered your questions! They've really been piling up, so here we go! Let's answer some questions.


Kleydenbrown asks:
What part of your job is your favorite? For example, feeding the animals, playing with the animals, et cetera?

I think that if I didn't enjoy most of the things that I have to do, it would have been really hard to keep going all these years, so I pretty much enjoy most of the things that I get to do. I think if I didn't have to do anything else, if there's no other pressing issues (which there always is) I would spend all my time training animals. Communicating with animals is probably top on my list of happy things.

Mustardsfire22 asks:
Jessi, question: Do you have any quotes that keep you motivated to stay positive?

Well, "Be somebody" is a huge motivator for me, as in, "Somebody should fix that" or "Somebody should pick that up." Being somebody — I want to be that somebody. I'm also partial to the quote by John Green, "You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you." This quote continually reaffirms that I have a choice in the way that things affect me, whether I'm feeling resentful or guilty or happy or excited or content, I get to choose. But my all-time favorite quote is by J. R. R. Tolkien: "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." I'm awestruck by the notion that my life is an adventure and every success or struggle I encounter is something to appreciate. No matter what experience I've been through, no matter how difficult, I'm thankful I got to experience it.

Chris asks:
You wrote Kemosabe's favorite food is bananas. Do many animals have personal favorites of food? Would you say the more intelligent animals do? Do any of your animals have an odd favorite?

Well, yeah! Yucca loves strawberries, Gonzo loves papaya, Hara loves quail, Daisy likes — prefers rats. (sigh) Boxer loves broccoli... I wouldn't say that it is depending on their intelligence, I would say it's more exposure to the opportunities to be able to choose a variety of things. And an odd favorite would be... Chili Pepper would rather eat the bettong food than his own. Oh, and Sydney loves cashews!

Next question!

Jackson Chameleon asks:
How do you—
I like that name, by the way.
How do you get a parakeet, or most types of pet birds, to start eating some fresh veggies and fruits?

So, this is a common question, actually. And what I found works best is you want to start with a seed mix — high-quality seed mix — you're going to sprout them with damp paper towels. And you're going to — that's what you're gonna feed them. You're gonna slowly start adding some minced yam, broccoli florets — just the little tiny tops of them — and some minced apple as well. So, next you want to add moistened pellets. This is an important part. As you add the moistened pellets, then you want to reduce the sprouted seed mixture and increase the pellets, the ratio of the pellets. So eventually you're going to have moistened pellets and minced fruit and vegetables. This process can take 1-2 days but most likely it's going to take 3-4 weeks. Sprouted seeds are highly nutritious but you have to make sure that they don't spoil. It's a hard thing to maintain. So, a high-quality pelleted diet is gonna be your best bet. It's unlikely that your parakeet or other bird is gonna start eating fruits and vegetables if you continue just a seed mix. So you want to do the pelleted diet with the fruits and vegetables. That's your best bet. You can give them an occasional seeds as treats as well.

Next question!

Momochick93 asks:
Hey Jessi! I am working towards my film degree at the moment; I'm in my third year. I would like to work with film but I am also aware that I have other interests, the main other interest being animals. Do you think it would be possible for me to find a job later on that could include my film skills and knowledge with being able to help animals?

This sounds really familiar! I went to film school and I've used a lot of my previous knowledge in things that I work in, documentaries of animals and comes in handy shooting Animal Wonders Montana videos as well. Caitlin Hofmeister, she shoots and edits all of our videos, and I'd like her to tell you some more! So, here she is.

Caitlin: Hey Momochick93! Yes, I absolutely think that you can utilize your skills as a film maker to help animals. I think the most important thing that you can do is to stay flexible, because you just want to be open for any opportunity that comes your way. I've gotten to scuba dive and learn how to blow glass and herd cattle and help someone take out their glass eye, all because I can shoot and edit, and now I get to film foxes and snuggle with skunks because I get to film Animal Wonders. Like, each of those experiences has led to other cool projects in really fun and unexpected ways. So, keep doing what you're doing and keep caring about what you're caring about and awesome projects will come together in really unexpected ways.

Jessi: Next question!

Charlie Abearz asks:
Will you sell t-shirts? I'd love to buy one.

Maybe! Does anyone want to make a design? Or this one? Alright.

Elwynbrooks asks:
What are Rook's anklets for? Do they simulate the pressure you put on his feet to keep him in place?

Rook is our common raven, and the anklets simulate kind of like a collar would on a dog; it helps keep him safe. So what I would do is, I would attach jesses to those anklets to give him, to allow him slack to move his legs and reposition his perching, and I attach a leash onto that. If he does decide to jump or if he spooks off of my hand, the leash will catch him and stop him from hitting the ground, much like if your dog were to run out in front of a car, the leash would stop them from getting hit by the car. So it keeps him safe. He can't go out in the wild because he has a broken wing. So that's why he's in captivity.

Thank you guys for all the questions. Keep 'em coming, I love the questions! Lollipop, I don't know. She's kind of too tired to answer questions right now. But if you guys would like to ask more questions, feel free. You can find me on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. You can also ask me questions in the comments section below and if you want to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to Animal Wonders Montana. Thanks guys.


(Feeding snake) Oh, that scares me every time.