Cougars have many other names, including mountain lion, puma, panther, catamount, and mountain cat, and they are very adaptable and wide-ranging cats throughout North and South America. They are not considered one of the “big cats” because they do not roar, but rather make soft purring noises when content. They are genetically similar to the domestic cat.
Crested porcupines (Hystrix cristata) are native to sub-Saharan Africa, Northern Africa, and Italy where they live in hilly, rocky habitats and are primarily nocturnal. They reach an adult weight of nearly 50 pounds and can live roughly 20 years in captivity. In the wild they dine on roots, bark, tubers, and fallen fruit but at Noah’s Ark their diet consists of primate chow, fruits, vegetables, and edible plants. When threatened, crested porcupines will stomp their feet, growl, hiss, and then raise and rattle their quills. If their warning message is not taken seriously, they will run backwards, ramming their opponent and impaling them with quills. They do not shoot their quills, which is a common misconception.
Like most of their New World monkey relatives, squirrel monkeys are diurnal and arboreal. Unlike the other New World monkeys, their tail is not used for climbing, but as a kind of "balancing pole" and also as a tool. Their movements in the branches can be very rapid. For marking territory, squirrel monkeys rub their tail and their skin with their own urine (not pet quality material!). They weigh on average 1.5-2 lbs and have a life expectancy of 20 years.
Did you know that a bison's tongue is blue? Noah's Ark is home to bison, cows, and beefalos (bison-cow hybrids), all part of the "bovine" family, who came from various situations. Some were saved from slaughter, some were surrendered pets, and some, like our beefalo, were "accidentally" born at the sanctuary. They all share the 80 acre pasture with the horses and other livestock and love wading in the pond during the hot Georgia summer.
The grey wolf (aka timber wolf) is native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and North Africa. Their modern range in North America is mostly confined to Alaska and Canada, with populations also occurring in northern states. It is the largest extant member of the canine family, weighing 70-100 lbs. Their winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur. Gray wolves howl to assemble the pack (usually before and after hunts), to pass on an alarm (particularly at a den site), to locate each other during a storm or in unfamiliar territory, and to communicate across great distances. Wolf howls can, under certain conditions, be heard over areas of up to 50 square miles but are generally indistinguishable from those of large dogs. The gray wolf is a habitat generalist, and can occur in deserts, grasslands, forests, or arctic tundra and generally specializes in vulnerable individuals of large prey.
Black bears are native to many parts of North America and are skilled at foraging, hunting, climbing, and swimming. Despite habitat loss and the increasing number of human/bear conflicts, they continue to have a conservation status of “least concerned”. They are omnivores and although they are named “black” bears, they can sometimes have brown or blonde coats. American black bears have a lot of variability in their sizes, ranging from 150-800 lbs depending on their geographic location and the availability of food sources. The average adult weights are 250-400 lbs for females and 400-550 lbs for males. Their claws are shorter than most bear species, but are extremely sharp and perfectly designed for climbing trees.
Did you know that Noah's Ark is home to over 50 reptiles, from tiny snakes to massive alligators? Although certain species of reptile can be good companions for the right person, many species of reptile should not be kept as pets. Those animals include giant pythons, venomous snakes, giant tortoises, and large lizards such as monitors and crocodilians. Our rule of thumb at Noah's Ark is "if you can't buy a cage it can live in forever, or if it will outlive you, then you probably shouldn't own it". We have to turn so many reptiles away each year simply because we don't have the resources to care for them and although some people don't love our cold-blooded friends as much as we do, all animals need respect, compassion, and protection!
Emus are the second largest bird in the world and stand around 6 feet tall. They are opportunistically nomadic and may travel long distances to find food; they feed on a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go for weeks without food. Emus ingest stones, glass shards, and bits of metal to grind food in the digestive system. They drink infrequently, but take in copious fluids when the opportunity arises. Emus will sit in water and are also able to swim. They are curious birds that are known to follow and watch other animals and humans. Emus do not sleep continuously at night but in several short stints sitting down. Where as ostriches have 2 toes on each foot, emus have 3, and like the ostrich they can run at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
Baloo the American black bear (Ursus americanus), Leo the African lion (Panthera leo), and Shere Khan the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris); known as "The BLT" came to Noah's Ark in 2001 after they were discovered by police officers in a basement of an Atlanta home during a drug raid. At only a few months old, all three cubs were frightened, malnourished, and infected with internal and external parasites when the Georgia Department of Natural Resources brought them to Noah’s Ark.
Picnic/Playground/Visitor's Center: Tues - Sat: 9 am - 4 pm