Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dr. Doug's Menagerie

On September  14, 2015 long time World Bird Sanctuary Consulting Veterinarian, Dr. Doug Pernikoff, donated two Tarantulas, for our exhibits and for our traveling educational programs.  

Dr. Doug has been helping examine, medicate and provide some surgeries for our birds since the 1980’s.  Dr. Doug has a veterinary practice: Clarkson Wilson Veterinary Clinic. 32 Clarkson Wilson Center, Chesterfield, MO 63017. 636-530-1808.  If you have concerns about your Tarantula, Dr. Doug is the man to call.  

A Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula from Dr. Doug's collection (photo: Dawn Griffard)

Dr. Doug primarily treats dogs and cats but also has many clients who bring in exotic animals.  Dr. Doug has an extreme affinity for Tarantulas.  He also has a large collection of Tarantulas at his home.  I was able to see his collection on September 14, 2015.  He has 12 species and has bred 3 of the species in the past year.  He showed me one of the exhibits of newly hatched Tarantulas--around 1,000 tiny babies.  Wow!

Dr. Doug donated a Chilean Rose Haired Tarantula and a Mexican Red Kneed Tarantula to WBS.  Both Tarantulas are ground species, and use superficial burrows.  Dr. Doug also donated the materials for their exhibits and the enclosures themselves--very generous.

A Chilean Rose-haired Tarantula from Dr. Doug's collection (photo: Dawn Griffard)

I asked Dr. Doug what he liked about Tarantulas?  He said that they are high-end predators, carnivorous, and similar to Birds of Prey in the way they respond to their environment.  He also likes how social they are.

Breeding is interactive and intimate.  There is lots of display, they perform a mating dance to each other with much visual display and strumming.  Tarantulas are not true spiders.  Also they can throw their butt hairs at an intruder or attacker.

Dr. Doug and one of his French bulldogs taken by Michael Zeloski

Dr. Doug’s place was “busy” with creatures as you might expect a Veterinarian’s house to be.  When I arrived a stream of French Bulldogs pulsed out of the garage to lick me and wag their tails and butts vigorously.  The most eager one jumped up into my lap while I was still seated in my car.

The three French Bull dogs, a breed with huge heads and small bodies, are named Pearl, Bruno, and George.  They look like the head caricatures that Dr. Doug has a passion for making out of clay.  Dr. Doug has many life sized head caricatures of his friends and other interesting looking people displayed in most of the rooms of his house on the downstairs level.

Dr. Doug also has a very large Aldabra tortoise named Dewey that lives out back of his house.

Thank you to Dr. Doug for granting permission to do a blog about him and his house and his animals.

Submitted by Michael Zieloski, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education

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