2022 Fall Wild Magazine

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Now - October 31 OCTOBER 2022 VOLUME 25, ISSUE 4



Question No. 3 on the November ballot is the 2022 $50 million clean water and natural resource protection bond. Vote yes to strengthen our state against the effects of climate change!

The health of our lands, waters, and communities is central to our environment and supports our way of life in Rhode Island. The value of Rhode Island’s network of green spaces, outdoor recreational areas, and waterways goes beyond beautiful places and recreational opportunities for public enjoyment. This network is important to the state’s economy and ability to attract new people and businesses. This proposed bond invests in climate resilience, green energy, water quality, forest and habitat restoration, land revitalization, open space, local recreation, and new facilities at Roger Williams Park and Zoo.

dem.ri.gov/greenclean VOTE TO INVEST IN THE BEST OF RI AND
Joslin Spray Park, Providence Urban Edge Farm, Cranston Shores of Narraganset Bay


Zoos love Halloween.

It’s just a “thing.” The flip side of that “thing” is that Halloween seems to love zoos, too. Your Zoo takes that relationship to an amazing level, but I am pretty sure you already know that!

Maybe it’s the kids in costumes or perhaps it is just the festive fall atmosphere that permeates the Zoo by October, that accounts for the excitement. Most likely, it is the fact that Roger Williams Park Zoo is a safe, welcoming place to bring the whole family for holiday fun. Halloween at the Zoo can be exciting and spooky without needing to be scary, and the Jack O-Lantern-Spectacular, presented by Citizens, delivers that experience like a champ!

After the pumpkins are gone, we will take a deep breath in November before presenting the 3rd annual Holiday Lights Spectacular. It is an amazing winter wonderland of sparkling lighted displays, music, food and activities, sure to please everyone.

The Zoo is proud to offer both festive events to bring our communities together after the daytime wildlife adventures you can enjoy year-round. They also help pay the bills not only for for animal care and conservation, but also education, operations, horticulture and security, guest

services and staff. In addition to the generous annual investment made by the City of Providence, the Rhode Island Zoological Society needs to earn and raise another $10,000,000 every year to keep the Zoo clean, maintain safe and healthy environments for the animals, staff and guests. If we do it well, much of the effort is out of view and the results look easy. But it is hard work and often expensive.

The visible part of our mission – caring for the animals that live in the Zoo and saving wildlife in Rhode Island and around the world – is one piece of a complex puzzle we solve every day. We operate a business that incurs substantial expenses; bills and staff need to be paid.

In fact, we need your help in November. Please vote YES on Question 3 – the Green Economy Bond. In addition to protecting coastal habitats, ensuring clean water, renewable energy and open space in Rhode Island, you will help fund the construction of an amazing new education center at Roger Williams Park Zoo.

We are fortunate that Roger Williams Park Zoo’s talented and hard-working team of experts and partners take pride and enjoy presenting Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Holiday Lights Spectacular and other year-round events.

So, come on out and have a great time no matter when or why you visit. You might help save the world along the way!




75 Years
Television Now - October 31 Put down the remote, turn off the streaming and head over to this year’s Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Presented by Citizens, guests will share in the nostalgia of their favorite TV shows, artistically carved on thousands of pumpkins. From Mr. Ed to The Walking Dead, this year’s Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular has something for everyone.  Have a “yabba-dabba-do time” while “taking a break from all their troubles,” as select shows’ musical theme songs accompany the special evening experience.  3

Thank you to our 2022 Sponsors!

For the 12th year, Citizens is the sponsor of the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. We are appreciative that their support allows us to continue this signature event for New England and beyond, allowing you to enjoy this unique tradition. The Zoo is also grateful for the continuing support from Cardi’s Furniture and Mattresses. Cardi’s supports the Zoo year-round and increases the Zoo’s Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular visibility. Proceeds from the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular support the Zoo’s ongoing animal care, education programs and conservation initiatives. Thank you for helping us save wildlife and wild places!

Prime Nights (Friday, Saturday, Sunday):

Available for purchase ONLINE ONLY and timed ticket entry requires pre-registration.

• Adult $21; Child $18 (ages 2-12); toddlers 1 and under are always free

Value Nights (Monday through Thursday):

Available for purchase ONLINE ONLY and timed ticket entry requires pre-registration.

• Adult $18, Child $15 (ages 2-12); toddlers 1 and under are always free

Roger Williams Park Zoo members save $2 off adult and $1 off child tickets nightly. Members must purchase their tickets online.

Family Fun Nights: (6:00 – 8:00pm):

Included with the price of admission*

Family Fun Nights have special themes for the whole family.

Enjoy meet & greets with your favorite costumed characters before hopping on the pumpkin trail.

• Princess Nights - Tuesdays: October 11 & 18

Meet and take photos with your favorite fairy tale princesses and princes

• Superhero Nights - Wednesdays: October 12 & 19

Meet and take photos with your favorite superhero characters

* Guests must be in the line by 7:45 pm

Sensory-Friendly Nights

Join us for a special sensory-friendly Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular an hour before the trail opens to the public: designed for those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and sensory processing differences and their families from 5:00 – 6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday, October 26th. The over 5000 pumpkins will light up the Zoo’s Wetlands Trail for maximum enjoyment, but there will be no music or special effects.

Tickets are available for purchase in person only at the Zoo’s admissions booth. Check rwpzoo.org/jols for ticket information.

Spooky Zoo

Spooky Zoo is back, offering daytime outdoor autumn activities for the whole family! Come trick-or-treat (while supplies last) with us on Saturday, October 22nd, and October 29th from 10:00-3:00 pm. Activities are free with Zoo admission and costumes are encouraged. All activities are weather permitting and while supplies last. Rain dates are Sunday, October 23rd, and October 30th.

Weather Policy

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is open rain or shine. In the case of light to moderate rain, the show will be open. There will be no refunds or rescheduling. Please call in advance, check the website or visit Facebook for updates and weather policy.

For tickets and more information CLICK HERE 

Since 2010, Citizens has supported the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular and we have watched the event grow by leaps and bounds, bringing joy to millions, both young and young at heart, from near and far. As the Roger Williams Park Zoo celebrates its 150th anniversary, we celebrate and commend their commitment to community for over a century.

It is with great pleasure we see the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular return to the zoo. Everyone should put down the remote, shut off their streaming service and make sure they don’t miss this year’s JackO-Lantern Spectacular, celebrating 75 years of television. Guests will share in the nostalgia of their favorite TV shows, artistically carved on thousands of pumpkins. From Mr. Ed to The Walking Dead, this year’s Spectacular has something for everyone, illustrating why October is such an extraordinary time in Rhode Island, nowhere more so than here at the Zoo.

Once again, Citizens has teamed up with the Zoo for #Where’sRoger, a scavenger hunt to find the Zoo’s delightfully lovable red panda mascot, Roger. Find Roger, snap a photo and share on Instagram using @rwpzoo with the hashtag #WheresRoger and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Family membership (valued at $149) Winners will be randomly chosen every Friday, October 7 – October 28, 2022.

Citizens has long admired the artistry, creativity and talent of the Passion for Pumpkins team who meticulously carve thousands upon thousands of pumpkins that wow visitors to the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular year after year, and we commend the designers who expertly place these works of art throughout the Zoo to make a wildly enthralling experience for all for visit.

We applaud the dedicated Roger Williams Park Zoo staff and organizers of the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular who have worked tirelessly to bring one of the most cherished annual events throughout all New England to the public in a safe, engaging and enchanting way.

As we continue our long-standing commitment to the Jack-OLantern Spectacular and the communities we serve, we are confident you’ll enjoy every moment of this unparalleled event which raises funds for the zoo’s animal welfare and conservation initiatives. Have fun, make memories and keep your eye out for Roger! See you on the pumpkin trail!


Vet Tech Week

Starting on October 16th, we will celebrate National Veterinary Technician Week to acknowledge our vet techs for everything they do; we spoke to one of our very own techs at the Zoo, Abigail Nickolopoulos. Her career as a certified veterinary technician began in September of 2010; she started working at the Zoo only a few months later. Nickolopoulos stated that she chose to become a veterinary technician simply because she has always loved animals. And, since her father was a human medical doctor, she was drawn to the medical side of animal care. The veterinary technician career blended her affinity for caring for animals and her interest in providing medical care.

For veterinary technicians, there is no such thing as a typical day. There are countless aspects to being a veterinary technician, including laboratory work, monitoring anesthesia, taking radiographs, assisting in surgery, husbandry care of hospitalized and quarantined animals, dispensing medications, triaging emergency cases, and more as different problems may come up. Every day can be different for vet techs.

Some people have no idea what a vet tech is, what they do, or assume they’re the same as a veterinarian. But they are different jobs. “People often ask if we became veterinary technicians because we wanted to become veterinarians later. The answer to that is a firm no!” Nickolopoulos stated. “There are certain tasks legally only a veterinarian can complete, such as prescribing medications, performing surgery, or diagnosing a patient. However, I enjoy being a

veterinary technician because I get to be more hands-on with the animals and involved in their day-to-day care”. On the job, technicians have to wear many hats, and it can be a gratifying job for people who like to challenge themselves. As a team, veterinary technicians and veterinarians collaborate to provide the best possible patient care for all the animals at Roger Williams Park Zoo.

One of the things Nickolopoulos finds the most rewarding is training animals to participate in their own health care. For example, Laura Isaacs and Kim Warren (two incredible keepers at the Zoo) taught one of our cheetahs to sit still for voluntary blood draws from their tail veins. “Then I can come in and collect a blood sample to monitor the health of the cheetah without putting them under anesthesia more than necessary,” Nickolopoulos said. “Like domestic cats at home,

big cats can get renal (kidney) disease as they age, so these samples will help us detect any issues with our girls even before we see clinical signs.”

At the RWPZoo, we are incredibly grateful to all vet techs who diligently work to ensure our animals’ health and safety. Without their dedication, proper animal care would be significantly more difficult, if not impossible.

(October 16th - 22nd) 6



Sloths are among some of the most popular animals here at the Zoo. Roger Williams Park Zoo has four sloths: Reilly, Fiona, Wesley, and Beanie.

These animals typically reach reproductive maturity around 2-3 years old. Since the youngest family member, Beanie, has finally reached that age range, zookeepers decided to remove her from the family unit and pair her with 25-yearold Reilly, the oldest member of the sloth bunch. Hopefully, this will result in the pair mating and producing more offspring in the future.

Unlike her parents, who typically returned to their den shortly after being brought out into the Rainforest area, Beanie is an amazing exhibit sloth who doesn’t shy away from attention and demonstrates many interesting natural behaviors. You can now find Beanie’s parents at the greenhouse, where they can both be appreciated while maintaining their preferred lifestyle.

Sloths are incredibly unique and fascinating creatures. Living up to their namesake, sloths are notoriously slow creatures that, in zoos will sleep around 15-20 hours per day. The reason for their leisurely and moderate speed is that the species evolved to survive on more plentiful leaves in the rainforest. However, since the leaves are so tough to digest, break down, and extract nutrients from, they spend quite some time digesting and, as a result, are a bit slower. Interestingly, they have 30% less muscle mass than the average mammal. However, they do have muscles where it matters, in their arms and legs. They also have specialized tendons that can lock into place and keep them from expending any more energy.

There is a moth species that only live in sloth fur; they are not found anywhere else in the world. The sloth and the sloth moth have a mutually beneficial relationship in which the moths will colonize in the animals’ fur and offer the moth

shelter and habitat. In exchange, the extra carbon from the moths helps promote the algae production in the sloth’s fur, giving them needed camouflage for life in the wild.

A sloth’s biggest defense is its camouflage; its fur has microscopic grooves that promote algae growth. This process gives their fur an interesting greenish hue. But the sloths at the Zoo do not have this because the environment here is not suitable for these

algae to grow.

In their natural habitat, sloths consume algae, a good protein source. Even without the greentinted fur, these guys can be tricky to spot; try for yourself next time you’re in the rainforest exhibit!


Reptile Awareness Day

October 21

We’re ssslithering over to prove to you that reptiles are spooktacular! And what better way than in honor of Reptile & Amphibian Awareness Day?

Reptiles are often very misunderstood, underappreciated and commonly considered a “scary species.” Gain a new perspective and learn how reptiles play a vital role in nature as a keystone species to the world’s ecosystems.

Often seen as a threat, snakes are key to keeping the population of pests, such as rats and mice, in check. They are also a valuable food source for other animals, including hawks, eagles, and foxes. Alligators, for example, are integral to maintaining the health of wetland environments. Some plant species even depend upon turtles to disperse their seeds! Box turtles play an important role in their habitats by being a primary distributor of mayapple seeds.

Get Your Reptile On

Reptiles include snakes, crocodiles and alligators, turtles, and lizards and are found on every continent except for

Antarctica. These cold-blooded vertebrates (animals with backbones) are ectotherms which regulate their body temperature externally. This means they depend on warmth from sunlight to become warm and active and must find shade or a cool spot to cool off.

Their skin is covered with scales or plates and unlike mammal young, which are dependent upon their mothers for some time after birth, most reptiles are independent from day one.

Today, there are more than 10,000 known species of reptiles. The saltwater crocodile is the largest living reptile in the world, with an average size of 17 ft and 1,000 lbs, and a measured maximum of 23 ft and 2,200 lbs!

The reticulated python is the longest species of snake, growing up to 33 feet long. The largest lizard is the Komodo dragon, measuring up to 10 feet long. Tortoises have the longest life span in the reptile order with Galapagos tortoises noted to live more than 150 years.



10 Know Your RWPZoo
Below is a snapshot of just some of the incredible reptiles that call our Zoo home. Elsie Tomato & Gustov Dippy Violet Cornelius Fauna


you answer these WILD trivia

The North American Wild Turkey:

A group of ravens is called:

Female black widow spiders eating their mates:


Vampire Bats:


What you need:

• black paper

scissors or paper trimmer

a little bit of yellow and pink paper

• glue Steps:

1. Cut 4 short strips and 4 longer strips of paper (the strips are about an finger wide).

• For the long strips cut the letter sized paper across it’s length.

• For the short strips cut the letter sized paper across it’s width.

2. Align the short strips and the long strips (separately). Gently bend in half to mark the middle of the strips.

3. Start with one length. Glue the two strips one on top of the other (crossing in the middle – at the fold where you bent them).

4. Glue on other two to form the “snowflake” shape.

5. Loop the strips and glue the ends together a paper ball will form.

6. Repeat with the other ball. Let the glue dry before you continue.

7. Apply a generous amount of glue at the bottom of one of the balls.

8. Stick the two paper balls together. Hold them together for a while to allow the glue some time to set.

9. Cut two small black triangles for ears. Leave extra space at the bottom to fold the paper so you have something to glue to the head. Then cut out slightly smaller pink triangle for the inside of the ears and glue them to the black triangle.

10. Cut out two small eyes and draw a pupil on with black marker or sharpie. Then draw a small triangular pink shape for the

11. Cut out a long curvy shape for the cat’s tail and glue it to the bottom of the larger ball.

located on bottom of page.

Kids’ 1 2 3 4 5 6 87 1 2 4 3
a. Can jump at least 3 times their height b. Can fly short distances c. Both B and D d. (Male Turkeys) Can change the color of their head
a. An unkindness b. A murder c. A dark hoard d. A Poe
a. Occurs every
after mating b. Depends on the personality of the female spider c. Occurs somewhat often d. Has never been observed in the wild
a. Have a bite strength 3 times greater than humans. b. Are known to cause severe numbing, aches and pains when bitten. c. Do not actually suck blood, they make a small incision and lick the wound. d. Will eat insects and seeds if blood cannot be found. Answers located on bottom of page.
Zoo? Can you identify these animals? Answers
Black Cat PaPer Craft (From Easy Peasy and Fun) WildTriviaAnswers:1:BothB&D•2:A•3:D•4:C;GuessZooAnswers:1.BarnOwl2.BlackWidowSpider3.GhostShark4.Jaguar5.NorthAmericanWildTurkey6.PumpkinBug7.Raven8.Wolf Can

save the date

It’s time for our 2nd Annual Walk-through Holiday Lights Spectacular, Roger Williams Park Zoo’s newest winter tradition.

The event, featuring festive, larger-than-life dazzling displays, is even bigger and brighter this year with more than 3 ½ million illuminated lights that transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland!

Join us and ring in the season nightly from November 25 through January 1, 2023.

Bundle up, grab an adult beverage, hot chocolate, or roast some s’mores and stroll through 40 acres of illuminated pathways.

From radiant reindeers to sparkly snowmen, this is a must-see experience this holiday season.

And for the little ones, Santa will be at the Spectacular on Friday nights in December, until Christmas. The visit is free to families who have a same-night ticket for the 5 or 6 pm timeslot only.

Tickets will go on sale October 17th. They are only available online and must be purchased in advance.

Information on dates and times and to purchase tickets can be found at rwpzoo.org/holidaylights


Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence


Roger Williams Park Zoo Department of Marketing and Public Relations

Corrie Ignagni

Vicki Scharfberg

Nate Amaral

WILD is an online publication of the Rhode Island Zoological Society, Roger Williams Park Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence, Rhode Island 02907-3659

For membership information call (401) 785-3510 x375 or visit rwpzoo.org.



Patrick T. LeBeau, Chair Nancy Allen, Vice Chair Sandra L. Coletta, Vice Chair Margaret Ferguson, Secretary Kristen Adamo, Treasurer

Board of Trustees Martha Bower Douglas Caniglia Cheryl Cohen Barbara S. Cottam Sarah Denby Marta Gomez-Chiarri Pamela W. Heffernan

Kimberley M. Little Liz Rollins Mauran Jeffrey Mello Howard Merten John J. Palumbo Steven M. Parente Karen Silva, Ed.D., CHE Maribeth Q. Williamson

Ex-Officio Stacey Johnson

Executive Director

Rhode Island Zoological Society/ Roger Williams Park Zoo

Wendy Nillson

Superintendent of Parks Providence Parks Department

Chairman Emeritus Sophie F. Danforth*

Trustees Emeritus Margaret E. Curran, Esq. Thomas P. Dimeo* Jocelin Hamblett

James S. Harper III, VMD* Bradford B. Kopp Arthur D. Little Nancy G.R. Moger Richard Nadeau

Jane S. Nelson Cate M. Roberts Philip A. Segal, Jr. Robert F. Stoico


Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. For more information visit www.aza.org

Please follow us online and share your photos and stories!

Designer Sara Beatrice Tandem Designworks Photo Credits Roger Williams Park Zoo
November 25, 2022 – January 1, 2023 12

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