"Push Banana, push!" coaxed Spotty the guinea pig. "You can do it!"
Banana the python pushed....
"Go Banana go! Go Banana go!!" cried the guinea pig triplets.
Banana grimaced and pushed harder.....
"You can do it, Banana! Just push a little harder now...." said Mrs Keeper, craning her neck around the huddle of animals and trying to get a better vantage point. "Yup I see the head now.... It's coming out! It's coming out!"
Banana gave one final push............... OUT popped the head!
"YAY!!! You've done it Banana!!!" Everyone clapped and breathed in relief.
With her nose and rest of the head safely out of the dry skin now, Banana continued to rub the rest of her body against one of the rougher branches in her enclosure, while Big Kid helpfully sprayed more warm water on her. Slowly but surely, the rest of her old layer of scales peeled off, turning itself inside out like a worn sock, and a shiny new Banana emerged from the white, shed skin. In the morning sunshine, her melanistic spots glowed and sparkled like diamond-studded rainbows.
"Whew, that was great!" said Banana, glancing at her refreshed body and tail with satisfaction. "Just in time for the beauty pageant the day after tomorrow!"
Banana was of course referring to the Frogs and Reptiles Competition in the annual Royal Easter Show, in which she had been selected as a finalist this year (after pirating Mr Keeper's email to secretly submit her application form). There was a bit of alarm a few days ago when she suddenly turned milky in readiness for a shed - which of course would have zilched her chances of winning any place in the show. But now she was in fact in BEST condition for the show - or as good as her natural genes would have allowed - so a little anxiety paid off in the end!
Knobby the bearded dragon gave her a friendly nudge, "There you go. You don't have to worry any more. I'm sure you will win!"
"Yes you will! Yes you will!" chorused the frogs in comradely support.
By mid-afternoon they were all back again.
"Push little one, push!" coaxed Spotty the guinea pig. "You can do it!"
"Go little one, go! Go little one, go!!" cried the guinea pig triplets.
"You can do it, kid! Just push a little harder now...." said Mrs Keeper, trying to shove her three children AND her husband out of the way without success. "Hey you guys, I can't see anything! If you make me miss it, you won't get any dinner tonight!!"
Marbles the gecko turned around and cocked his head questioningly at Banana next to him, "Do you get this weird sense of deja-vu? Why did all of that sound kind of familiar?"
"Really?" asked Banana. "I don't know. I don't remember anything?"
Suddenly everyone yelled, "YAY!!! You've done it kid!!! There's the first one!!" They all clapped, cheered, and madly shook Mocha and Cappuccino on the wings. Mocha began sobbing loudly, overwhelmed by joy and pride at the hatching of her very first baby.
"Isn't that just the darlingest little baby finch!" exclaimed Ellie the parrot, her eyes shining with god-motherly excitement. She was naturally forgiven for her bias. To almost everyone else, the little thing looked like.... errr... pink naked skin over fragile bones and spindly legs, black dots concealing still closed eyes, and when it opened its beak, no squeak came out.
"Hmm....." Banana thought it reminded her of the pinky mice she used to eat when SHE was a baby, but decided - quite correctly - it was probably not an appropriate time to mention that to her friends. "Just lovely, Mocha and Cap, just lovely! Oh look, there's another one with a cracked shell!!"
"OUCH!" shrieked Baby Kid, as he was shoved out of the way by his sister trying to see better. He fell over one of the guinea pigs, who angrily spat at him, and there was a sudden mad jostle as everyone else tried to take advantage and grab a better spot for the hatching show.
By the end of the day four baby finches had reported to this brand new world, safely tucked under the loving wings of mamma and papa finch. Two more eggs to go, but Mocha and Cap were not worried. It was apparently not uncommon for some eggs to hatch a few days later.
"Mr Keeper!" called Banana, as all the animals gradually dispersed. "Can I have my weekly dinner now please! Thank you very much!"
The Sunny Zoo
The animals at the Sunny Zoo enjoy their many freedoms, including having access to the Internet and a blog.
(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017