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Eurasian Eagle Owl ‘Elliot’  (Bubo bubo)

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.  

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more

Raccoon ‘Sammy’  (Procyon lotor)

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.com to learn more

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 adaptable omnivores.  

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more

Straw-Colored Fruit Bat ‘Arnold’  (Eidolon helvum)

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.

Visit University of Michigan’s “Animal Diversity Web to learn more (TOP)

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 (TOP)

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 owls.  

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more & hear Prairie Dog calls (TOP)

Fennec Fox ‘Calvin’  (Fennecus zerda)  

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 cooler nights.

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more (TOP)


Our Animal Exhibits

Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pigs ‘Jasmine’ & ‘Luke’  (Sus scrofa)

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 regions.  

Visit Seaworld.org to learn more (TOP)

Silkie Chickens ‘Henny Penny’ & ‘Fancy Nancy’  (Gallus domesticius)

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 to China.

Visit American Silkie Bantum Club for more info (TOP)

Pygmie Hedgehog ‘Ruprick’  (Erinaceus europaeus)

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.

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more (TOP)

Dwarf Caiman ‘Yaca’ (a.k.a. ‘Toothless’ - but not really!)  

(Paleosuchus palpebrosus)

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)

Albino Burmese Python ‘Mitch’  (Python molurus bivittatus)

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 200 lbs!

Visit NationalGeographic.com for more info (TOP)

African Sulcata Tortoise ‘Dannie’  (Geochelone sulcata)

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.  

Visit University of Michigan’s “Animal Diversity Web for more info (TOP)

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.

Click here to learn more  (TOP)

Three-toed Amphiuma ‘Donk’  (Amphiuma tridactylum)

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.   

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more (TOP)

Black-headed Python ‘Rocco’  (Aspidites melanocephalus)

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.

Visit NationalGeographic.com to learn more (TOP)