Julie Scardina, Seaworld and Busch Gardens animal ambassador, introduces the TODAY team to a host of cute furry and feathered friends, including a baby kangaroo and pint-size screech owls.
Wednesday was an even wilder day than usual in Studio 1A: A passel of baby animals came to visit, including an aardvark, a kangaroo with her joey, screech owls and a porcupine. The baby beasties were brought in by Julie Scardina, animal ambassador of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, and TODAY's Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales joined in on the fun.
Scardina gave a less than flattering description of the baby aardvark, just 11 weeks old and weighing 40 pounds: “They look like a pig, have ears like a rabbit,” she said. Perhaps to make the aardvark feel better, Savannah admired his claws. Scardina said the creatures use their claws to dig burrows in their native Africa.
The kangaroo bounced around the studio, but her joey was too shy to come out of the pouch. “When a kangaroo is first born, they're actually underdeveloped and they're the size of like a jellybean,” Scardina explained. A dubious Savannah asked if she was sure the joey was in there, but a close-up shot of the kangaroo showed movement inside the pouch.
The African crested porcupine started wandering around the studio, coming dangerously close to the backs of Natalie’s heels. “Don’t back up,” Scardina warned her. Talk about spike heels!
Things got a little exciting in Studio 1A when Joey the kangaroo ran loose, baby owls took flight and a porcupine snuck up behind Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales.
The North American screech owls, ever the keen observers, must have known the segment was coming to a close because they took off, flying into the rafters. “What is happening in this segment?” exclaimed Natalie, who had been busy avoiding the porcupine's spikes.
Scardina looked rather proud as she looked up. “Today is the first day the owls have flown,” she said.
What kinds of animals would you like to see visit TODAY next?