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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 parrots are the third most popular pet in America? Their long life span, complex diet, tendency toward aggression and mate guarding (bird sees owner as the "mate" and will protect it as such), messiness, extreme loudness, and need for high levels of enrichment due to their extreme intelligence mean parrots are NOT ideal pets for most people. Noah's Ark provides a refuge for 350 parrots, most of which were former breeding animals for the pet trade, brought to us by animal control as confiscations or strays, or surrendered by owners who didn't want to or were unable to keep them. They live in natural, enriched aviaries according to size, species, or personality.
Bengal tigers are native to parts of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan and because of habitat loss and poaching, they have a conservation status of endangered. They weigh 300-500 lbs and live to be roughly 20 years old in captivity.
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