The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), a sub species of the brown bear, lives in a wide variety of habitats throughout Western North America including coast lines, dense forests, sub-alpine meadows, and even the arctic tundra. These large omnivores get their name from the "grizzled" look of their fur: the long guard hairs along their backs and shoulders usually have lighter colored tips, giving the bears a "grizzled" appearance. The roughly 500-850 pound males are much larger than the 200-450 pound females, who do all the cub raising after giving birth to a litter of 1-4 one pound cubs in January or February. The cubs stay with their mother for up to three years as they learn crucial survival and social skills, and on average can live to be 20-30 years old. They are considered a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of human encroachment and destruction of their natural habitat. This can lead to unexpected human- bear encounters, which more often than not ends badly for both the bear and the human.
The silver fox is a melanistic (black) version of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and is native to much of the Northern Hemisphere although they are not as common as the typically colored red fox. There are over 40 sub species of the red fox with weights ranging from 5 to 30 lbs. although most weigh around 15 lbs. They are omnivores and in the wild prey on a variety of animals but also consume plant material. At Noah’s Ark they eat organic, grain-free dog food as well as a variety of meats, bugs, and some fruits. Commercially, foxes are produced for their fur or for the pet trade although they are illegal to own as a pet in Georgia.
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.
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.
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.
The ostrich is the largest bird in the world, weighing on average 140-340 lbs and standing at 6-9 feet tall. The female ostrich lays her eggs in a single communal nest, a simple pit that is scraped out in the ground by the male. The dominant female lays her eggs first, and when it is time to cover them for incubation she discards extra eggs from the weaker females. A female ostrich can distinguish her own eggs from the others in a communal nest. Ostrich eggs are the largest of all eggs although though they are actually the smallest eggs relative to the size of the adult bird — on average they weigh 3 lbs. The females incubate the eggs by day and by the males by night. This uses the coloration of the two sexes to escape detection of the nest, as the drab female blends in with the sand, while the black male is nearly undetectable in the night.
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.
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.
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!
Picnic/Playground/Visitor's Center: Tues - Sat: 9 am - 4 pm