Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 53

BILL CRABTREE JR.

Ju r g e l s k i o r i g i n a l l y
intended to raise only llamas, but was smitten by two
lady camels he met on a
llama-shopping trip.
"They walked up and
began nuzzling my face
with their large, butter-soft
lips while looking directly
into my eyes with their
enormous black eyes. With
that, I became a camel
herder," Jurgelski says.
With that, he took on
the task of feeding and fending off dangers for exotic
animals in a strange environment. Like the other
owners of the Blue Ridge
region's small, privately
owned zoos, Jurgelski had
to do some Internet sleuthing to answer questions like
"Where do I get camel
chow?" and "Who's the
closest camel vet?" and
"How do I take care of
exotic animals out here?"
For some displaced critters from other continents,
these tranquil mountains
are fraught with hazards.
What Jurgelski found was
that weather was the least of
the threats to his animals.
"Bactrian camels are
native to the Gobi desert,
where temperatures might
hit 90 degrees at noon and
Lost World llamas greet drop to zero at night," he
visitors with curiosity.
says.
In fact, these camels do
better in the extremes of Mongolia where parasitic
worms can't survive. Burkes Garden's coyotes and
bears pose no threat to the camels and llamas - it's
the tiny intestinal parasites they pick up while grazing that can kill them.
That's where the donkeys come in - Jurgelski
learned they aren't sickened by these worms and can
serve as vacuum cleaners, picking up parasites and
ensuring they die without reproducing. He alternates his pastures between the donkeys and either
camels or llamas every month, and is seeing some
good results.
Deer are harder to control. Surprisingly, these
gentle creatures who jump pasture fences put camels
and llamas at risk. The white-tails often carry a brain
worm that doesn't affect them but has killed several

of Jurgelski's llamas. He's still working on
strategies.
ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE of Garden Mountain, Sue
Carr at Sandy Head Ostrich Farm says domestic
animals are more threat to her ostriches, emus and
exotic chickens than any wild animals. Stealthy coyotes will slink along the pasture without disturbing
the eight-foot birds, but dogs and even a runaway
horse have sent the flighty, flightless birds crashing
into the far fence.
Not so at Fort Chiswell Animal Park near
Wytheville. "Coyotes are a problem we struggle
with," says park manager Heidi Crosky. The compound is sort of a reverse zoo, where visitors are
confined to a tour bus and the animals run free on
45 acres. The ill-tempered, kicking zebras can handle
coyotes in the main pasture, and the park began
enlisting Great Pyrenees guardian dogs to protect
fallow deer, llamas, and other animals in the smaller
petting zoo.
"Owning exotic animals is 24/7commitment,"
says Doris Pruett, owner of Animal Kingdom of
Virginia in Tazewell County, Va., and an emergency
room nurse by day. "Animal care takes time, and so
does maintaining their enclosures to meet federal
and state regulations. The costs of permits, licenses,
and insurance add to expenses."
When it comes to medical care, Pruett and other
small zoo owners usually turn first to their local veterinarians. For difficult cases, Jurgelski has a specially modified camel trailer standing by for trips to
the veterinary hospital at Virginia Tech, two hours
away.
With more than two dozen exotic species from
tortoises and East African cranes to wildebeest, Fort
Chiswell Animal Park owner Jeff Archer can't always
find the medical expertise he needs in Southwest
Virginia. But he has a direct number for the Bronx
Zoo veterinarians, who have talked him through
more than one medical crisis. Pruett has gone all the
way to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville for
help with a sickly lion. At Lazy 5 Ranch in
Mooresville, N.C., owner Henry Hampton calls
local specialty veterinarians, but when a giraffe is
ailing, he summons a giraffe vet from Ohio.
Feeding exotic animals in the Blue Ridge isn't
difficult; most zoo owners say that local mills will
assemble specially formulated mixes. "We put out
salt licks supplemented with seaweed and molasses
because our grass nutrients aren't the same as those
in Africa and Asia," Crosky says. They also add selenium. Pruett of Animal Kingdom orders Monkey
Biscuit through the Internet to supplement her
lemurs' fruit and veggies, and gratefully fills her
walk-in freezer with venison from local hunters in
fall. Feeding three lions isn't cheap - they like to eat
a collective 200 pounds of meat a week. She also
MAY/JUNE 2014 | 53



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Letters / You Said It
From the Editor
From the Farm
BRC Unlocked
Mountain Report
Creasture Feature
Great Buys in the Mountains
The Hike
Festivals and Events
Country Roads
It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Little Zoos, Big Fun
Mountain Garden
Flavors
Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Letters / You Said It
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - BRC Unlocked
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Creasture Feature
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Great Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Little Zoos, Big Fun
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_11_12
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20170102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20131112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130708
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com