Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Wild time at the library

BROOKSVILLE

Some 20 youngsters sat cross-legged on the carpeted floor, waiting to see what surprise wildlife rehabilitation specialist Linda Christian would unveil in the pet carrier she had brought with her.

The educational program Tuesday at Lykes Memorial Library was the first of four in a wild animal series sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Christian, owner/operator of 100 Acre Wood Wildlife Rehabilitation, off Mondon Hill Road east of Brooksville, asked the children what they thought the crate contained.

"An anteater," a little girl in the front row answered.

"A dog," proposed another preschooler.

Christian peeked under the carrier's cover, as if to confirm for herself.

"I think she's talking to a dog," one onlooker whispered.

The wildlife specialist kept the secret under wraps as she first introduced a tortoise to about 30 children, accompanied by their mothers and other adults.

While kids told Christian they had a cat or a dog — or even three dogs — at home, she emphasized that while pets must be in homes, wild animals must remain in their native territories.

Squatting, she placed a tortoise the size of a lunch plate on the carpet. The tortoise freely stepped out.

"What's wrong with her?" Christian asked.

"Its back legs aren't moving," observed Evan Poole, 10, of Brooksville.

Correct, Christian said.

The land-loving tortoise had been struck by a car, its midsection now bandaged in adhesive tape to stabilize a broken back, she explained. But the critter's front legs are more important, she continued, because they dig a home in the soil.

She circulated a domed, platter-sized empty tortoise shell. Three-year-old Billy Ward scrunched flat to peer inside.

As the live specimen traversed the room, Billy followed.

"You can touch him," Christian said.

Many fingers reached out as Christian said the tortoise's age can be counted by the number of "scoots" on its back, singular lines across each triangular delineation on the upper shell.

"Fifteen," several said.

"I think they missed a row that was under the bandage," said Evan.

Then Christian announced: "You kids are lucky. It's baby season."

Opening the animal crate to reveal the surprise, she bore a wiggling, spotted month-old fawn.

"She's hungry," Christian said as the tiny fawn licked her handler's face and gave her a kiss.

"She thinks I'm her mama," Christian explained.

The fawn had been delivered to her sanctuary about a week ago, she said, after its mother had been struck and killed by a car. When found, the fawn had not left its dam's side.

"She drinks eight of these a day," Christian said, picking up an 8-ounce baby bottle of formula.

Placing the fawn on the floor, Christian motioned for Jewlie Wolpert, 11, of Brooksville to step up as the feeder.

Bracing its forelegs wide, the fawn took the nipple.

"She was, like, pulling it down," Jewlie said.

Freed to explore on its own, the fawn zeroed in on the earlobe of 5-year-old Liliana Respalie of Brooksville.

"She bited me," the youngster smiled shyly.

"She thinks it's a bottle," Christian said. "She really likes you."

When the fawn loses her spots at about 4 months of age, Christian will return her to the wild, placed first in the crate, near where she was found along the Rainbow River. The deer will be freed intermittently until she adapts to her natural environment and learns not to favor humans.

All in keeping with the motto at Christian's rehabilitation facility: "Dedicated to rescue, rehabilitation, release of Florida native wildlife."

Friends of the Library has financed summer programming at Hernando County libraries for several years, said system director Adam Brooks. All of the programs are open to the public and are free.

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Missed time a good mental reset for Raysí Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Raysí Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and intellectual provocateur, dies at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and intellectual provocateur who championed the muscular foreign policy of neoconservatism that helped lay the ideological groundwork for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, died...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves heís up to speed on bases

Rays journal: Jake Bauers proves heís up to speed on bases

ST. PETERSBURG – Rookie 1B Jake Bauers has impressed at the plate and in the field since his June 7 promotion.Also, with his hustling on the bases."I knew he played hard; everybody said that at every level,'' manager Kevin Cash said. "I di...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

TAMPA — The Bucs will open the upcoming season without the face of their franchise, as quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.Winston, 24, was accused of groping a ...
Updated: 3 hours ago