By Alex Haglund
Spring is time for babies at Rainbow Ranch and one of the newest of these babies is Cotton, a baby camel who is the first born at Rainbow Ranch, very likely the first born in Washington (and maybe the first in southern Illinois speculated Rainbow Ranch owner Alan Blumhorst).
Blumhorst says that Rainbow Ranch has had Cotton’s mother, Candy, in residence for five years and last year, they bred her with a male who lived in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Following a 14-month gestation, out comes Cotton.
While Candy is brown and looks like one might expect a Dromedary (one hump) camel to look, which is to say, brown, Cotton’s fur is fluffy like a sheep’s and nearly white. Blumhorst says that Candy’s father was a white-haired camel out of Texas and the male she bred with to have Cotton likely had some white haired camel in his genes too. He says he expects Cotton to stay mostly white.
Another striking thing about both camels is there height. Candy is, “huge, for a female,” Blumhorst says. “She’s close to eight-feet tall.”
Cotton, not quite two weeks old at the time of publication, is already four feet tall, “three-foot of legs and one-foot of body,” Blumhorst said. The baby is already taller than Axel, a two-year-old alpaca that Blumhorst said Cotton has already been chasing around the yard.
Another facet of the camels is that they are mellow and friendly. Candy is sweet, Blumhorst and when asked if Cotton would take after her in that he said, “he already is.”
Cotton isn’t the only new arrival at Rainbow Ranch this season though. Joining him was Dante, a baby donkey born to mother Dixie Belle on Sunday morning, and lots of other newborns have been born too– calves, goats and many more.
Rainbow Ranch reopens for the year on April 1, and April and May are the time for the petting zoo’s annual “Baby Bonanza,” where young visitors can have the chance to feed one of these young critters a bottle, or just pet their soft baby fur.
Rainbow Ranch is open Wednesday through Sunday and admission is $10 per visitor, or $8 per visitors for groups of $25 or more. Rainbow Ranch is located at 9906 State Route 15 (west of Nashville, near Plum Hill). For more information, Rainbow Ranch call (618) 424-7979, or visit rainbowranchzoo.com.