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The Lizard's Blood Sample

On Labor Day, 2004, September 7th, I was coming home from Cleveland visiting and decided to stop by Toledo for the afternoon to visit my friend Tim who is a reptile keeper at the zoo there. Apparently, I showed up on a good day. The zoo's crocodile monitor seemed to be having eye trouble, so the keepers decided a blood test was in order to determine if anything serious might be wrong with the big lizard. Crocodile monitors are closely related to Komodo dragons, and this particular specimen was about 8 feet long, give or take. Needless to say, it took a couple of keepers to wrangle this guy, and I stood safely back.

These pictures are often pretty fuzzy, because there was a lot of movement and I was trying to avoid using a flash, so as to not bother the monitor. Despite the fuzziness, they're pretty cool, I think. The smaller pictures tend to look nicer because they blend the fuzziness together a bit. Many of the larger ones are quite blurry.

Here you can see the monitor basking on a tree limb in his enclosure. The keepers had to jump in with him, because this particular lizard doesn't seem to respond to "Here lizard, lizard, lizard!! Come here boy!!"

Tim exits the enclosure with monitor in tow. Another keeper is ready with a syringe to draw a bit of the animal's blood.

Them big lizards is tough to wrangle!

Attempt number one at drawing blood.

Tim likes his job.

Most of the time the monitor kept calm and fairly still. When he was hit with the needle, though, he was none too pleased.

Extra blurry this time! Here, some blood is successfully drawn.

It's not every day that you get to see the behind-the-scenes workings of a major zoo, but I seem to manage it about once a year lately. If you have the means, I highly reccommend it.