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The Tortoise, the Hare & the Zoo’s ZooZoom

Aesop’s Fable may have focused on a tortoise and a hare racing to the finish line, but this tale is more about a Desert Tortoise and a Riparian Brush Rabbit at the Sacramento Zoo.

The collection of more than 500 animals at the Zoo features exotic animals from lands far and close. The Zoo is even home to many animals native to California, including the Desert Tortoise and Riparian Brush Rabbit.While Aesop’s hare enjoyed a good race, the three female Riparian Brush Rabbits at the Sacramento Zoo prefer to nuzzle into a good hiding spot.

Riparian Brush Rabbits live locally only in the Caswell Memorial State Park on the Stanislaus River, and the South Delta area of the San Joaquin River.  They are considered endangered due to the fact that about 90% of their natural habitat has been destroyed.

Riparian Brush Rabbit
Riparian Brush Rabbit

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Sacramento Zoo is the only zoo in the world at which you can find Riparian Brush Rabbit?

Also unlike Aesop’s Fable, the Zoo’s Desert Tortoises would not do very well in a race either; they are easily distracted and may decide to veer off course for a dandelion treat rather than cross the finish line. Desert Tortoises are found in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of Southern California, Nevada and Utah. They can also live a long time; the Sacramento Zoo’s oldest resident is an 85-year-old Desert Tortoise named Herkimer. On your next visit, feel free to ask a zookeeper about the Great Tortoise Battle, or you may even be lucky enough to witness one in very slow action.

Herkimer, the oldest resident at the Sacramento Zoo - Photo by Tonja Candelaria
Herkimer, the oldest resident at the Sacramento Zoo – Photo by Tonja Candelaria

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Desert Tortoise is California’s state reptile?

You can run as fast as a hare or meander at the pace of a tortoise while supporting the Desert Tortoises and Riparian Brush Rabbits at the Sacramento Zoo’s 34th annual ZooZoom, walk and run event on Sunday, April 13.  So walk or run the ZooZoom’s 5K or 10K at your own speed, or let the kids run in the Saucony Run For Good Kids’ Fun Runs, the largest kids race in Sacramento.  All proceeds benefit the Sacramento Zoological Society and participants will receive free entrance to the Zoo on race day.

2013 ZooZoom Participants at the Finish Line
2013 ZooZoom Participants at the Finish Line

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