White handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) are found in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Gibbons are true brachiators, propelling themselves through the forest by swinging under the branches using their arms. Reflecting this mode of locomotion, the white-handed gibbon has curved fingers, elongated hands, extremely long arms, and relatively short legs. In the wild, they will eat a large variety of foods, including figs and other small, sweet fruits, as well as young leaves, buds, insects, and even birds' eggs. White handed gibbons are threatened in various ways: they are sometimes hunted for their meat, sometimes a parent is killed to capture young animals for pets, but the loss of habitat is the most serious threat to wild populations. They are very territorial primates and ward off intruders by singing loudly with their mate.
Kinkajous are small (roughly 5-10 lbs) mammals native to parts of Mexico and Central and South America where they live in tropical forests. They have a conservation status of “least concerned” but deforestation is becoming a growing threat to the future of this species. Although kinkajous are cute and usually docile animals, they are strictly nocturnal, which makes them a difficult animal to have as a pet. They have sharp teeth and claws, consume a specialized diet, and can carry roundworm, which can be transferred to the uneducated owner causing extreme illness. Still, kinkajous continue to be one of the most popular exotic pets in the United States and more and more sanctuaries are trying to find room to house them after they didn’t live up to their owner’s expectations of being a good “pet”.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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