Tag Archives: North America

Virginia opossum

Species  Didelphis virginiana Order: Didelphimorphia Family: Didelphidae Overview  Virginia Opossums are relatively large, and thus easy for audiences to see. They are native to North America, and are the continent’s only native marsupial. They can be trained to kennel, target, station, nail trims, and perform A-B behaviors, to name a few. Unreleasable individuals may be obtained through rehabilitators but check

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Florida Kingsnake

Latin Name: Lampropeltis getula floridiana Order: Squamata Family: Colubridae Considered an unofficial subspecies of kingsnake Overview Capron Park Zoo has been using a Florida Kingsnake as an Animal Ambassador for several years. It is an easily kept species that is forgiving of a variety of husbandry conditions, a good eater with a curious and non-aggressive temperament (unlike many of their

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Ornate Box Turtle

Terrapene ornata ornate Order: Testudines Family: Emydidae Natural History Information Range and Habitat Common box turtles can be found throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. They can live in a wide variety of habitats, from wooded swamps to dry, grassy fields. They are most abundant and healthy in moist forested areas with plenty of underbrush. They will often venture

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Western Pond Turtle

Order: Testudines Family: Emydidae Actinemys marmorata (Northwestern pond turtle) and Actinemys pallida (Southwestern pond turtle) Natural History Information Range and Habitat Historically found from southern British Columbia to northern Baja California, Western pond turtles once dominated freshwater systems throughout the west coast of North America (Germano and Bury 2001). Marshes, wetland sloughs, lakes and ponds were home to millions of

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Chuckwalla, Western

Chuckwalla are commonly used as ambassador animals in zoos. They are a hardy, generally docile and food-motivated lizard. As juveniles they may exhibit more active behavior during handling, but calm quickly with consistent handling. With their high food motivation as well as alert and curious demeanor, they are a great candidate for training and have been taught to station and target. Their unique physiological adaptations for their environment give an excellent educational topic in addition to some implications for their care. A desert species, they need low humidity and high heat/UV access in their habitat. Overall a versatile, excellent species for consideration as an animal ambassador.

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Barn Owl

Barn Owl Tyto Alba Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview Although often readily available through wildlife rehabilitation sources, barn owls are not a beginner owl, and acquisition of one should only be considered if facility has experienced handlers. Many facilities have noted they are more challenging than other owl species due to their naturally secretive nature. For use in programming, it

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Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl Megascops asio Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend screech owls as an “easy” or “beginner” owl, it is important to be extra vigilant with these small species that are more easily, albeit unintentionally, dominated. Despite their diminutive size and apparent ease of handling, in order to provide good welfare, experience working with owls and

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Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia Order: Strigiformes Family: Strigidae Overview To maximize lifelong welfare of an owl that is going to participate in ambassador animal programs, and as such be exposed to close contact with humans and a variety of stimuli that could otherwise be intimidating or inducive of unavoidable stress, it is recommended to hand-rear individuals slated to become ambassadors.

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Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl Aegolius acadicus Order: Strigiformes Family: Tytonidae Overview While many facilities recommend saw-whet owls as an “easy” or “beginner” owl, it is important to be extra vigilant with these small species that are more easily, albeit unintentionally, dominated. Despite their diminutive size and apparent ease of handling, in order to provide good welfare, experience working with owls and

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