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.
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!
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.
Japanese macaques are also referred to as “snow monkeys” because they are the northernmost dwelling nonhuman primates. In their native area of Japan snow covers the ground many months throughout the year. They are extremely intelligent and adaptive primates, and although their current conservation status is “least concern”, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are a threat to this species. Japanese macaques are very social animals and breed easily in captivity, making them popular subjects in research facilities and zoos, which also means they are readily available to individuals as pets.
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.
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.
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 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.
Picnic/Playground/Visitor's Center: Tues - Sat: 9 am - 4 pm