New to our 2013-2014 program Predators to Prey, Eurasian Eagle Owls are the largest
owls on earth. Eagle Owl Females weigh in at close to 10 lbs, whereas our own Great
Horned owls max out at 5.5 lbs! They live in various habitats throughout Europe,
from coniferous forests to warm deserts and prey primarily on small mammals as well
as other birds. Click here to hear a recording of a Male’s call. Visit University
of Michigan’s “Animal Diversity Web” to learn more
Bobcat ‘BeeBop’ (Lynx rufus)
Part of our Creatures of the Night and Predators programs and our ongoing Native
Animal program, our 1 year old Bobcat, BeeBop, is one of our most popular exhibits.
Bobcats, named for the “bobbed” look of their tail, are the most widely distributed
native North American feline. These carnivores can weigh up to 30 lbs and usually
pounce on their prey with a leap that can cover up to 10 feet. Click here to hear
a Bobcat growl.
Part of our Creatures of the Night and our ongoing Native Animal program, Sammy is
considered of one of the most adaptable omnivores on the planet. They can weigh
up to 23 lbs and survive comfortably in the suburbs as much as in the wild. In fact,
our native raccoons are sometimes considered a nuisance in urban areas, and due to
being a popular pet in the 70’s, are now a destructive exotic and invasive in Japan.
View the PBS Nature film “Raccoon Nation”. Visit NationalGeographic.comto learn
Virginia Opossum ‘Asha’ (Didelphia virginiana)
Part of our Creatures of the Night and our ongoing Native Animal program, our possum
is a surprisingly fascinating creature. The only marsupial found in the U.S. and
Canada, they have 52 teeth, more than any other mammal in North America. They are
excellent climbers and use their hands, feet and tail to grasp branches and are very
Part of our Creatures of the Night program, Arnold is the most widely distributed
African fruit bat and can live in a wide range of habitats, including coastal forests
to dry arid regions. Their name comes from the straw-colored neck and throat of
the males. They eat several times their weight in fresh fruit and are vital towards
helping fruit trees disperse seeds and pollinate.
Red Kangaroos ‘Baxter’ & ‘Charlie’ (Macropus rufus)
Part of our Weird & Unusual program and our Greatest Hits!, our Red Kangaroos Baxter
and Charlie gave many audiences a unique look into life down under. Red Kangaroos
are the largest marsupial in the world and native only to Australia. Although their
hind legs cannot move independently, by hopping they can reach speeds of over 35
miles per hour and jump 6 feet high. They gather together in groups called “mobs”.
View the PBS Nature film “Kangaroo Mob”. Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more
Black tailed Prairie Dogs ‘Andy’, ‘Carl’ & ‘Jerry’ (Cynomys ludovicianus)
Part of our Desert Adaptations program and our Greatest Hits!, our 3 Prairie Dog
brothers exemplify some interesting lessons about life in the American Southwest.
Sometimes considered a nuisance to farm and pasture land due to the size of their
underground “towns”, Prairie dogs’ burrows may also be shared by snakes and burrowing
Part of our Desert Adaptations and our Greatest Hits! programs, “Calvin” our Fennec
fox is the world’s smallest fox, weighing in at a little over 3 lbs (well...our Calvin
may weigh a little more!). Fennec foxes are omnivores and native to the Saharan
and other Northern African desert lands. Their large ears help them radiate body
heat during the day and their thick fur, and dark skin, insulate them during the
Part of our Exotic & Invasive and Summer 2013’s Secret Lairs programs, pot-bellied
pigs, a popular pet, are a smaller relation to the domestic pigs that have become
an invasive & dangerous threat to much of the U.S.’s farmland. Our pot-bellied pigs,
are native to Vietnam, where today the only indigenous species are located in mountain
Part of our Weird & Unusual program and Summer 2013’s Secret Lairs program, our Silkie
Chickens certainly set themselves apart where their feathers actually appear to be
fur. Rather than hooks at the end of the strand of their feathers, it fans out -
given them the “silkie” fur-like appearance. Although their origin is unclear, there
are records of Marco Polo, in the 13th century, noting these unique birds when traveling
Part of our Weird & Unusual program and Summer 2013’s Secret Lairs program, our hedgehog
came by that name by the pig-like grunt it makes by sniffing for food, as its eyesight
is weak. Their spines serve to protect them, as they curl into a ball when threatened.
They are 15 species found in Europe, Asia and Africa and their diet consists not
only of insects, but also worms, frogs and small mice and snakes.
Dwarf Caiman ‘Yaca’ (a.k.a. ‘Toothless’ - but not really!)
Part of our Summer 2013’s Reptiles: Jaws, Claws & More! program and our new Predator
program, the Dwarf Caiman is the smallest of the caimans reaching five feet long.
Its scales are more dense than other caimans due to its habitat and they face predators
such as anacondas and jaguars. At night it feeds mainly on aquatic creatures as
well as the occasional land-dweller. Visit Sheddaquarium.org for more info (TOP)
One of our most popular exhibits, our 11 ft long Albino Burmese python is a part
of our Exotic & Invasive program and Reptiles programming. Native to Asia, they
are one of our most dangerous exotic invasive species causing destruction to the
Florida Everglades. Many irresponsible pet owners release them when they get too
big, they are excellent swimmers and top carnivores, eating the prey and destroying
the habitat of many native reptiles and birds. They get up to 23 feet and weigh
Weighing in at about 70 lbs, Dannie was part of our Desert Adaptations program and
is a popular part of our Reptiles programming. Sulcata tortoises are native to the
dry savannahs of Africa and is the largest mainland tortoise (the Galapagos get larger
but are found on islands). These herbivores like to burrow and their “spurred” armor
helps to protect them against predators or other environmental dangers, such as wildfires.
Argentine Black & White Tegu ‘Onyx’ (Tupinambis merianae)
Part of our Reptiles programming, Black & White Tegus, native to South America, are
the largest known species of tegu. They are opportunistic eaters, and eat a wide
range of animals and fruit and play an important role in seed dispersal. Their beautiful
beaded skin is popular for leather and their easily tamed nature make them a popular
pet. They can reach up to 3 feet in length.
Part of our Creatures of the Night and Native Animals programming, our Three-toed
Amphiuma illustrates the importance of preserving water quality, as their main habitat
includes lakes, marshes, streams, swamps and bayous often threatened by pollution.
Technically a salamander, they appear snake-like but for small fore and back limbs
that are primarily non-functional. They eat worms, crawfish, small fish and reptiles. Visit
the Smithsonian National Zoo for more info (TOP)
Cane Toads ‘June’ & ‘Judy’ (Bufo marinus)
New to our Reptiles program in 2013, and part of our Predators to Prey program, Cane
toads illustrate the danger of introducing a new species to a new land. Originally
from the southern U.S. And South America, Cane toads were introduced in Australia
in 1935 to control beetles eating sugar cane crops. With no natural predators, they
flourish, and kill native animals who try to eat them with their venom from shoulder
sacks. View a great Australian video on YouTube: Cane Toads an Unnatural History.
Native to Australia, and new to our Reptiles program in 2013, Black-headed pythons
are most noted for their unique black and white bands, and black head. The dark
head is believed to act as solar radiation to help warm the snake as they can be
found lifting it vertically in cooler weather. Unlike many other pythons, their
diet primarily consists of small reptiles found in the Australian outback and they
can reach up to 6 feet long. Visit AustraliaZoo.com for more info (TOP)
Armadillos ‘Drake’ & ‘Zeke’ (Dasypodidae)
Our Armadillos, part of our Creatures of the Night and our Native Animals program,
are actually exotic and invasive to the U.S. and slowly making their way further
north each year. Native to Latin America, 9-banded Armadillos do not roll up into
a ball, but rely on their “armor” or bony plates for protection and have large claws
that make them excellent burrowers. They rely on sticky tongues and sense of smell
to hunt insects.