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.
Llamas are in the same family as camels and they do not have top teeth. Noah's Ark is home to 25 llamas, who were either personal pets or farmed for their fiber (hair). When bottle raised, llamas and other livestock can become dangerous, seeing humans as members of their own species and treating them as such as they age. Many of our llamas were "bottle babies" that became aggressive, some were in need of a home after losing their farm, and others were no longer producing quality fiber as they aged so farmers surrendered them to us. They share the 80 acre pasture with the other livestock but tend to stay to themselves in tight knit groups.
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.
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.
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.
Wolf-dog hybrids are a mixture of genetic traits, which results in less predictable behavioral patterns compared to either the wolf or dog. A wolf’s behavior is typically more socially shy and timid toward humans than that of a dog and sadly, wolfdogs are perhaps the most misunderstood and mismanaged animals in America. Wolfdogs also pose significant behavioral challenges for owners, many of whom are unable or unwilling to meet them, which is creating a large population of unwanted animals who wind up abandoned or chained in backyards. Wolfdogs may display any or all of these behaviors to one degree or another, including high-level curiosity, a drive to roam, a propensity toward den-building, territory marking and digging, and a strong predatory instinct. For these reasons, they do not make good family pets and are illegal in many states.
Because of their hardy nature and high availability from India, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is usually the animal of choice to conduct research on human- and animal- health-related topics. They are commonly used in vaccine and other pharmacological research, which was the case with the three rhesus macaques who retired from biomedical research at a University (the University did fund the building of their enclosures) to Noah's Ark in early 2015. Rhesus macaques are an extremely adaptable and broad-ranging primate, inhabiting many diverse habitats including snowy regions, semi-desert areas, dense forests, and especially urban areas throughout China, India, Pakistan, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Nepal, and Thailand. They are very social and intelligent primates and in many places have learned to use human encroachment and deforestation to their advantage by surviving on scraps of the cities they live in. They are opportunistic foragers and will consume everything from flowers and grass to bird eggs and bugs. They usually weigh anywhere from 10-20 lbs depending on geographic region, sex and age, have a lifespan of roughly 25 years old, and are not considered a threatened species.
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 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!
Tues - Sat: 9 am - 4 pm