Night Tour: The Night Tour is 1-hour long and is offered at Big Cat Rescue the last Friday of every Month. From November through February the Night Tours start at 7 PM and from March through October the Night Tours start at 8 PM. Night Tour reservations as well as pre-payment are required. Night Tour guests must be at least 10 years of age. For safety reasons, golf carts are not available for this tour.
Night Tour Guides: The guides for this tour are scheduled in advance and should be on a rotating schedule. Optimally there will be a minimum of one Tour Guide and one Back-Up assigned to each Night Tour. Night Tours should be comprised of no more than 15-20 guests. The Tour Guide may be a green level Senior Keeper, a navy level Master Keeper, or a green level Senior Partner (Senior Partners require a Senior Keeper Back-Up even after certification is complete). A Night Tour Information Guide is provided as a part of this class and should be utilized to provide the guests with information regarding the nocturnal habits of the cats.
Guest Arrival: Guests are instructed to arrive 30 minutes prior to the tour start time. The Tour Guide will be provided with a list of scheduled guests. The Tour Guide should greet the guests at the gate, mark them off the list as they arrive, and ask if there are any children or pets in the car. Children under 10 years of age are not permitted on the Night Tour and pets may not be left in unattended vehicles. Inform each guest they will need to make all gift shop purchases before the start of the tour as the gift shop will not be open at the completion of the tour. Each guest must sign a release form before the Night Tour begins. After all of the guests have arrived, signed the release form, and shopped, the Tour Guide should gather all of the guests into the Tour Waiting Area for instructions prior to the start of the tour.
Night Tour Rules for Guests: Prior to the start of the tour, the Night Tour Guide should go over the following rules with the guests. All tour guides are responsible for the safety of their guests.
Night Tour Rules for Tour Guides and Back-Ups: As a Tour Guide you are responsible for the safety of the guests and your Back-Up. You must be very observant of your guests throughout the entire tour. Having guests at the sanctuary in the evening is unusual for the cats. In addition, most of the animals are nocturnal and can be very active at night.
Conclusion of the Night Tour: At the completion of the Night Tour, the Tour Guide should escort the guests back to the Parking Lot. Tour Guides should be available to answer any additional questions the guests might have at this time. The front gate should be locked open and the Tour Guide must remain in the Parking Lot until the last guest has left the property. After all guests have departed, the front gate should be closed.
Night Tour Guide Certification: To become a certified Night Tour Guide the volunteer must be a green level Senior Keeper, a navy level Master Keeper or a green level Senior Partner (Senior Partners require a Senior Keeper Back-Up even after certification is complete). To become certified the Tour Guide must have observed the Night Tour once and lead the Night Tour with the assistance of a certified Night Tour Guide once. Certification is at the trainer’s discretion and potential night tour guides may require more than one observation or instructional session.
Scheduling Yourself to Guide the Night Tour: Night Tour Guide openings are listed on the appropriate days on the Volgistics calendar. In addition to scheduling yourself on the calendar for your volunteer day, please also schedule yourself for these tours if you plan on guiding them. This system helps us to ensure that we have adequate coverage for all of the day’s duties. You can access the Volgistics calendar by using one of the Time Tracking Stations or by going to this link; https://www.volgistics.com/ex/portal.dll/?FROM=36622
This is meant to be a guideline, not memorized verbatim. Included here are a lot of extra facts. Don’t feel like you have to say it all. Just be sure to know the basics.
What is Big Cat Rescue: Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. We are home to more than 100 cats representing 13 species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from fur farms, or retired from performing acts. . We do not breed, buy, sell or trade cats. When they come to Big Cat Rescue, they stay for the rest of their lives. Big Cat Rescue a no contact facility, meaning we do touch the cats or go inside the enclosures with them. Our dual mission is to provide the best home we can for the cats in our care and educate the public about the plight of these majestic animals, both in captivity and in the wild, to end abuse and avoid extinction.
How are cats’ eyes different than humans?
Scientists estimate that cats can see clearly in one-sixth the amount of light we humans would need.
How do cats see?
A noticeable feature of the cat skull is large eye sockets placed well forward on the face. This tells us two things. First, large sockets indicate that the eyes themselves are large, suggesting that cats have good vision. Loosely speaking, large eyes may also gather more light than small eyes, so their relatively large eyes give cats an advantage in low-light conditions. Second, the placement of the eyes gives cats binocular vision, which is the ability to focus both eyes at once on a single opject. Binocular vision allows cats to judge distances, which is important to pouncing accurately on their prey. Among the Carnivora, cats have the greatest degree of binocular vision with 295 degrees versus our 210, giving them better peripheral vision than we have.
How do great cats eyes different from lesser cats?
Great cats have round pupils where the lesser cats have elliptical shaped pupils. Great cats hunt both during the day and night, whereas the lesser cats hunt mostly at night. The round pupil of the great cats can change in size according to light conditions. The elliptical pupil allows lesser cats to completely shut out light so they can sleep better in daylight.
How do cats see in the dark?
As mentioned before a cat’s large eyes in general may gather more light. However, it is the size of the pupil that actually determines the amount of light that enters the eye and hits the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye, called the retina. You might think, then, that the bigger the pupil, the better for hunting and other activity in the dark. But the pupil can’t be so big that the cat is blinded by light, because most cats are also active at times during the day. Among people, this problem is solved by the pupil’s response to changing light levels: they enlarge in low-light conditions and contract in bright light. Cats’ pupils do the same thing, but to a greater degree, growing very large and very small depending on the ambient light.
Cats’ larger pupils are associated with other differences in their eyes as well. With increased pupil size, the lens must also be larger to prevent distortion at the edge, and it and the cornea must be more strongly curved so that the light is focused more closely on the retina. The more strongly curved the cornea creates a larger anterior chamber inside the eye.
Another adaptation for night vision is a structure called the tapetum lucidum, which lies behind the retina. Like a mirror, the tapetum lucidum reflects the light that hits it back through the retina to produce a brighter image. Basically, the same light gets used twice. This is what causes the “eyeshine” you see when a light is shone on a cat, or many other animals with similar visual structures, as night.
Cats can not see in absolute darkness. They require some amount of light to pass through they eye in order to see.
Are cats color-blind?
Cats are not color-blind, but their perception of color is limited. Two kinds of light-sensitive cells-cones and rods-are found in the retinas of cats, people, and other mammals. Cones detect bright light, and the pigment they possess provide the ability to see color when hit by light of different wavelengths. Rods activate under low light and lack the pigments that produce color vision. As you might expect, rods dominate the retinas of cats, although an area of cones occurs in the center of the retina. Some of these cones are sensitive to green light and some to blue, but none to red, so cats are limited to what is called dichromatic vision. So in short, for what cats lack in detecting color they gain in seeing better in the dark.
QUALIFIED TEACHERS FOR THIS CLASS ARE: Becky.Gagliardo@BigCatRescue.org, Dennis.Mitchell@BigCatRescue.org, Honey.Wayton@BigCatRescue.org, Jennifer.Ruszczyk@BigCatRescue.org
Print Night Tour Guide Certification form.
QUIZ AT LINK