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.
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.
Spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) are native to the forests of Southeastern Mexico and much of Central America where they live in large groups of 20 to 40 members. They have prehensile tails which act as a fifth limb and help them maneuver through the tree tops where they spend most of their time foraging for edible fruits and leaves. Females only have one baby every 2 to 4 years and this, combined with habitat loss, hunting, and capture for the pet trade, has made a decline in the species and they are currently listed as “endangered”. Average life expectancy for spider monkeys is 40-45 years old.
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.
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.
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.
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