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.
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.
Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) live on North America's prairies and open grasslands in a fraction of their former numbers. They construct underground burrows with defined nurseries, sleeping quarters, and even toilets. Their charismatic personality and cute appearance makes the prairie dog a popular exotic pet, but it is only legal to own them in certain states. They can be difficult pets to care for, requiring regular veterinary attention and a very specific diet. Each year, they go into a period called rut that can last for several months, in which their personalities can drastically change, often becoming defensive or even aggressive. They have sharp teeth and are capable of inflicting a bite that will warrant medical attention, and their scent glands produce a musky odor.
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.
All white tigers are inbred to some degree, and can suffer terribly from genetic deformities including visual impairment, misshapen skeletal structures, missing teeth, misplaced and bulging eyes, autoimmune diseases, skin sensitivities, and mental retardation. It takes generations of breeding and hundreds, if not thousands, of cats to get that one perfect white tiger, and the deformed or orange ones created along the way suffer terrible fates from euthanasia, life in circuses or as backyard pets, or in canned hunting facilities. Although it is inhumane and irresponsible to create unhealthy animals solely for human profit and entertainment, people continue to be fascinated with white tigers until they discover the price these animals pay to meet the public's desire for something different and rare.
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.
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.
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.
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