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.
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.
Llamas are in the same family as camels and they do not have top teeth. Noah's Ark is home to 25 llamas, who were either personal pets or farmed for their fiber (hair). When bottle raised, llamas and other livestock can become dangerous, seeing humans as members of their own species and treating them as such as they age. Many of our llamas were "bottle babies" that became aggressive, some were in need of a home after losing their farm, and others were no longer producing quality fiber as they aged so farmers surrendered them to us. They share the 80 acre pasture with the other livestock but tend to stay to themselves in tight knit groups.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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